As a lot of you probably know, it's pronounced totally differently — hard H [KHah] like Challah or Chanukah. My parents are South African. That's kind of the only excuse I really have for them picking Chana for my name.
I figured it's about time I properly introduce myself and explain how I Ianded on Planet Money.
Last August, Adam Davidson sent me a message on Facebook. He was starting a cool new project and wanted to talk. I was reporting for KPLU in Seattle at the time and freelancing for NPR. This new project thing would be about the global economy, would help listeners understand complex economic concepts and would be really fun. Honestly, I had no idea what he was picturing.
I started in radio volunteering as a host and news writer at a community station outside Seattle. After that I spent several years of late nights learning from the generous people at KUOW, KPLU and NPR. I covered education, business and technology for Seattle's local stations and for Marketplace and NPR. I also did a brief, really fascinating stint covering rural issues in central Washington state for the Northwest News Network.
Here's what got me about Adam's pitch (aside from his charming personality). Essentially, this thing would be all about asking good questions — those nagging questions that for the most part lie dormant in the basement of the business section, but that every once in a while bang on the ceiling when the story kinda stops making sense. Questions that get at the messy, irrational way our economy works and the messy and irrational people that get mixed up in it. I love stories about messy, irrational people.
I took a stab at the first Planet Money radio piece that started with this question: why exactly is it so hard to build an airplane on time? The story had about six editors and together we tried to figure out what Planet Money piece sounds like. We laughed, we cried and finally came up with a Planet Money radio piece!
And then the economy fell apart. I watched from Seattle as Adam, David, Laura, Alex and Caitlin heroically applied the nascent Planet Money sensibility to the biggest story around. In March I joined the team full-time.
I am really excited to be here. My favorite part of working with what is now called Planet Money is still those nagging economic questions. What are the economic incentives for pirates? What is the business model of recycling? What does an FDIC takeover actually look like? How do our tiny, day-to-day purchasing decisions affect the global economy? I can't get enough. Send me yours!