Elise Hu

Award-winning journalist

Speaker Themes

  • Current affairs in the Koreas and Japan
  • Future technologies
  • Experienced host, interviewer & moderator

Travels from

Los Angeles, USA


Elise Hu is a correspondent and host at-large for NPR, the American news network, and starting in spring 2020, the inaugural host of TED Talks Daily, the daily podcast from TED that’s downloaded a million times a day in all countries of the world.

At NPR, she served as the founding bureau chief for the network’s Seoul office and, in that role, was responsible for coverage of North Korea, South Korea and Japan.

She was also NPR’s first “Future Correspondent”, fronting the popular series “Future You with Elise Hu” in which she explored the technologies set to transform the way we live and work.

Her voice was regularly heard nationwide on All Things Considered, Morning Edition and she remains a frequent fill-in host for It’s Been a Minute, NPR’s millennial-focused talk show available as twice-weekly podcasts and across airwaves as a weekly national radio program.

For three+ years, Elise told the stories of geopolitics, business and culture in Northeast Asia, one of the most fast-changing and influential parts of the globe. During her time in the Koreas, she covered 27 North Korean missile launches, three underground nuclear tests, the first Winter Olympics in Korea and the protest-led ousting of the South Korean president.

She also created, produced and hosted the Gracie Award-winning video series “Elise Tries,” in which she made herself the guinea pig for various offbeat experiences in Asia — everything from raccoon cafes to pore-vacuuming to Japanese toilets — to unpack the cultural forces behind them. On Facebook, the series was a juggernaut — each episode received more than 2 million views.

Before joining NPR, Elise was employee number 3 at the digital news startup, The Texas Tribune, where she oversaw multimedia, created and hosted the weekly podcast and wrote for The New York Times. Before that, she worked as a television reporter covering politics in Missouri, South Carolina and Texas. Her work has earned a DuPont Columbia Award, a Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, a National Edward R. Murrow award, and beat reporting awards from the Texas Associated Press. The Austin Chronicle once dubiously named her the “Best TV Reporter Who Can Write.”

Elise’s curiosity, wonder and irreverent voice make her popular on Twitter, where she mixes it up regularly with her 43,000 followers. She’s fluent in Mandarin Chinese and conversant in Korean. She serves on the board of the environmental publication Grist.org, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and as a teen model, was a regular in the JC Penney catalog, back when it was a big, thick book.

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