Meet the OPC Members: A Q&A With Steve Herman

Steve Herman is a well-traveled OPC member who served five consecutive years as chairman of The Foreign Press in Japan and a one-year term as president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. He also was president of the Seoul Foreign Correspondents Club. He recently agreed to answer a few questions from the OPC.

Current assignment and title Southeast Asia bureau chief/ correspondent, Voice of America (responsible for covering 20 countries). 

Hometown Nomad roaming Asia for 25 years, who owns a house in Tokyo, currently lives in Bangkok, has Nevada residency and is a Cincinnati native (and still a Reds fan).

Age 54.

Education M.A. in Public Diplomacy earned at Mountain State University after many years of classroom and online learning at various universities, including American University, Harvard and The New School.

Languages Able to converse fluently in Japanese with sushi chefs, can give taxi directions in several languages, including Korean and Thai.

First job in the business Helping an older friend hawk newspapers to passing motorists at a Cincinnati intersection. Years after that in the late 1970s, I worked part-time at several radio stations in southern Nevada while going to high school and college simultaneously.

Countries I’ve reported from More than 20 (mostly in Asia, but also in the Middle East, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, etc.).

Organizations I’ve reported for? An alphabet soup over the last 35 years including freelancing for ABC, CBC, CBS, CNN, NBC and NPR before becoming a staff correspondent for VOA.

Best advice about journalism I’ve received “Don’t stay in this business if you want to make money.”

Steve Herman in Sri Lanka

My best advice to budding correspondents “You’ll stumble onto your best stories by serendipity. So always carry around a high-quality discreet camera and have some way to jot notes.”

While traveling, I always … Try to find one good restaurant and hotel I can recommend to colleagues. (See my 200 reviews on TripAdvisor.)

My journalism heroes are Ambrose Bierce, Lafcadio Hearn, Edward R. Murrow, Ernie Pyle, Neil Sheehan and Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

Dream job The one I have right now.

Place I’m most eager to visit Antarctica, even though I hate the cold.

The country I most want to return to Bhutan. I’ve been there five times and it’s as close to the fabled Shangri-La as there is on this planet with its simple Buddhist bliss and ema datshi national dish (made of yak cheese and chili peppers). The arra moonshine isn’t bad either.

Books I’ve authored Two forgettable novels, a pictorial about Bhutan and a salacious travel guide decades ago that had modest success under a nom de plume I still dare not reveal.

Twitter handle @W7VOA

Want to add to the OPC’s collection of Q&As with members? Contact Susan Kille at

To see more Q&A’s from this series, check out our conversations with Jeremy Gantz, Heidi Vogt, Jeff Newton, Paulo Prada, Edie Lederer and Naka Nathaniel.

Steve Herman Fukushima