10 Questions with Sindhu Sundar of Law360
For just about six years, member Sindhu Sundar has reported legal news at one of our newest shops, Law360. Having relocated from Singapore to the Big Apple, Sundar enrolled in the graduate NYU Journalism program, which, she noted, marked an irrevocable career change. (After all, she studied mechanical engineering at the National University of Singapore.)
Luckily for her readers today, Sundar always wanted to write, and upon leaving Singapore — a city not quite known for its free press — she took the chance.
A then-journalist in the making, the writer was quickly acquainted with the hardscrabble work of reporting news in NYC — working at the Daily News, where she covered everything from murders to a pre-ignominy Anthony Weiner's gallant wrangling of federal funding to improve community facilities in his former district in Queens.
Over the past year, Sundar has worked on feature stories exploring the culture of corporate law and the inner workings of pillar institutions, including the Supreme Court, federal courts more broadly, and the White House.
The Guild jumped at the chance to ask her some questions. Get to know Sindhu Sundar:
1. If you weren't working in journalism, what would you be doing?
I would have studied public policy and maybe moved to Washington. Or I'd teach and perform Indian classical music or dance, my passions from a former life.
2. Who's your favorite journalist or writer - living or dead?
There are many, but I love the work of Jane Mayer, who has reported extensively about the rising influence of dark money and powerful figures behind conservative interests, including the Koch brothers, Art Pope and Robert Mercer.
3. What could the news business use more of?
Public support and funding! Many publications seem perilously dependent on advertisers and their corporate showrunners. Publications should also be encouraged to nurture their reporters' investigative skills, which can go a long way in sharpening their coverage of even daily news stories.
4. Less of?
"Content" and service-driven pieces.
5. Name a piece of journalism that moved you most profoundly.
Most recently, "My Family's Slave," by the recently deceased journalist Alex Tizon for The Atlantic. In Southeast Asia, where I am from, the prevalence of unpaid and underpaid domestic labor is a shameful open secret. This piece helped introduce that scourge to Western readers, and prompted an important debate about whose voices we value in public discourse (the author was criticized for centering his perspective over that of Eudocia, the enslaved woman the piece is about).
6. What makes you hopeful about the future of journalism?
The work of talented and enterprising reporters who have unearthed groundbreaking political scoops about the notoriously press-antagonistic Trump administration, particularly from The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
7. What worries you?
The erosion of public confidence in the press, the sowing of doubt and confusion about the motivations of established news outlets, the blurring of lines between opinion and news.
8. When you're not reporting, what occupies your time?
Reading, running, hiking and cooking with my husband and our friends
9. Why is being in the Guild better than not being in the Guild?
At a time of cutbacks and layoffs in corporate-controlled media organizations, journalists need reliable support infrastructure to protect functional working conditions and to give them a feasible way to seek recourse if needed.
10. If you could give someone starting out in journalism one piece of advice what would it be?
I think I've hardly earned the right to dole out advice! I'm still learning.