Yoonj is an award-winning television journalist, writer, and producer who has reported from four continents without getting food poisoning (yet). She has covered immigration and the drug war from Mexico, homeless gangs in Los Angeles, the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, and more. She’s currently the Social Impact Correspondent at MTV News, covering societal and political issues concerning Millennials and Gen Z, and is the host/creator of MTV News’s HOLD UP!, a docu-news series tackling established assumptions with a fresh perspective. She’s the recipient of the 2017 Los Angeles Press Club Award for Best Investigative Series and a Webby Award Honoree.
As an investigative journalist, she has a track record for gaining access into high-level institutions and marginalized communities, such as tracking cartels with the California Department of Justice and embedding with Native Americans at the Standing Rock action.
Formerly she was a Correspondent and Producer at Mic, reporting on social justice issues told from diverse points of view. As a Correspondent and Producer at Playboy during its non-nude, safe-for-work era, she was on the founding team of Playboy.com’s video department, spearheading its news/doc division. She was the host, creator, and producer of its most-viewed nonfiction series, the award-winning investigative documentary show Journalista (now on Amazon Prime).
Before that, she was a correspondent and producer for Vocativ and has reported in its segments for MSNBC. She got her start in the industry with TPL Disrupt, a documentary series combining investigative and participatory journalism for the nightly live news show TakePart Live on Participant Media’s Pivot TV.
As a writer, she has published in The Washington Post, Slate, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, and other outlets. She was a columnist for Bitch, penning a series called “Model Media” on race, gender, and the entertainment industry, and at 22 was the youngest person to be accepted into The Guardian‘s Diversity Writer’s Workshop.
Yoonj has a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Based in New York and raised in southern California, she immigrated from South Korea as a child and is a naturalized American citizen. She speaks Korean, German, and Spanish.
Articles, Publications, and Appearances
The coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a racist backlash against Asian people, but young Asian-Americans are fighting back against the stereotypes. (MTV News, April 27, 2020)
Amy Klobuchar’s Plan to Protect the Presidential Election (MTV News, April 6, 2020)
The Trump administration ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement to round up undocumented immigrants over the past weekend. (MTV News, July 15, 2019)
OP-ED: Millionaires’ visas give the wealthy an unfair fast track to a green card. Let’s get rid of them (LA Times, September 21, 2018)