'All this time, I'd thought the story of my name was special; little did I know it was the story of a generation,' said Chung.
Yu-Hwa Chung, also known as Connie Chung, is an American journalist who has worked as a news anchor and reporter for the television news networks NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and MSNBC. In 1969, Connie Chung was a fresh-faced journalism school graduate at a time when network news was almost exclusively an all-white boys club. She was the second woman to co-anchor a network newscast as part of CBS Evening News in 1993.
Chung, the youngest of ten children, was born on August 20, 1946, and raised in Washington, D.C., less than a year after her family emigrated from China. Her interviews were mostly gentle but were frequently interrupted by a barrage of sharp questions. Despite this, her interviews were widely regarded as softer than those of other interviewers.
Claus von Bülow and U.S. Representative Gary Condit, whom Chung interviewed first after Chandra Levy's disappearance, are two of her more famous interview subjects. She was only the second woman and the first Asian to anchor a major nightly news program in the United States.
She was a rare, nationally visible representative for the growing number of new Chinese immigrants to the United States from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s. Chung's Chinese name given to her by her parents, can be translated as "Princess Ivory." But in the United States, the name "Connie" is not particularly well-known. However, it is extremely popular among one particular demographic: Asian-American women, specifically, among Chinese-American women who grew up watching Connie Chung as a trailblazing television journalist. Many of these immigrant families named their daughters Connie in honor of the one woman in mainstream media who could be viewed as a role model for them.
Chung discusses the phenomenon she refers to as "Generation Connie" in a New York Times essay that includes interviews with Chung and other Connies like herself: "Asian American families from the late 1970s through the mid-’90s—mostly Chinese, all new immigrants—had considered the futures of their newborn daughters and, inspired by one of the few familiar faces on their TVs, signed their own wishes, hopes, and ambitions onto countless birth certificates in the form of a single name: Connie."
Legendary journalist Connie Chung meets a group of young female journalists who were all named after her https://t.co/skG1wHf3tt— johnnyA99 (@johnnyA99) May 12, 2023
Chung realized this for the first time when she went to the University of California, Berkeley, and typed "Connie" into a campus directory, discovering that her name, which she had always thought was unique to her, was actually "the story of a generation." One trait she discovered in her interviews was that Generation Connie had strong Chinese mothers, many of whom had to give up careers for menial jobs after arriving in America. They desired a better life for their daughters, and Chung was one of the few role models available.
The 76-year-old Chung, full name Constance Yu-Hwa Chung, is "flabbergasted" and "truly floored" to learn that she was such an inspiration. In a viral Reddit video uploaded by u/jcepiano, we see how excited Chung got once she met a group of young female journalists named after her. The video has garnered 36k upvotes. It is captioned, "Legendary journalist Connie Chung meets a group of young female journalists, who were all named after her."