Who are you? What do you do?
Isn’t that the hardest question for a writer? Here’s what I know: I’m Angilee Shah. I write, I edit and I am helping to transform the news media to better represent all of us.
What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired to write by people, usually people who are out in the world doing meaningful things. My strength, and I think my role as a journalist right now, is translating. Not translating languages necessarily, but helping people to express themselves and tell their stories either through my writing or through editing theirs.
Also, I have to give it up to Chillhop during this pandemic. Streaming beats really helps!
If you had a choice, which writing style guide (e.g., Chicago, AP) would you choose to follow?
I’m in news so generally AP but with a lot of modifications. (Say no to serial commas.) How about if I just drop some style guides here that I’m learning from?
The Conscious Style Guide brings kindness to our language. The Diversity Style Guide brings together guidance from many awesome organizations. The Native American Journalists Association provides an essential AP guide insert. And I’m so excited about the newly formed Trans Journalists Association and their very helpful style guide.
The Global Press Journal makes its style guide public. It has good ideas about reporting on this big, beautiful world. National Geographic also has a style guide that has evolved over the years that I find interesting.
Reframe provides good guidance on pandemic reporting, and I think will evolve into a great reference for other things too.
If you could have dinner with one writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
Right now, how I would love to have dinner with Ada Tseng, our mutual friend and colleague. It’s in part because I miss traveling to California, where she is, and because wow, is she ever stepping up in this moment when information is so crucial. Her capacity for lightness and to tell stories that draw you in has always been amazing to me. Her reporting and editing skills — the breadth of what she is capable of — have really been on full display in these few months.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you are an aspiring writer, you are a writer. Being a writer is a process, not an immutable state, so all you have to do to be a writer is to write. (Now, if you want to talk about careers and money, that’s a whole other novel.)
This is part of my “Interview with Writers” series on Medium.