Jianing Shen, reporter with China Central Television, the largest television station in the land of China, traveled from Washington, D.C. to Knoxville this week in order to interview writer Martha Rose Woodward. The interview centered around Woodward’s book, Knoxville’s 1982 World’s Fair.
Shen was given Woodward’s name by a writer friend of Woodward’s living in Los Angeles, CA that she discovered while doing research on world fairs in general. Shen’s traveling companions were Jun Gao and Haifeng Nui, photographers and Guay lin Jiang, her mother. The trip was part business and part sight seeing.
Shen said, “The 2010 World’s Fair will begin in Shainghi, China on May 1, 2010. Our television station gave me the assignment to be able to compare the experiences Knoxville had during their fair with our fair. We were happy to find Martha. She has proven to be an excellent source of information.”
“Martha is great,” said Shen. “She held the historic perspective we were seeking. She made us feel like we had been at the 1982 World’s Fair through her words and descriptions.” “Of all the things Martha showed us,” said Shen, “I believe the view from the Sunsphere was the most impressive. It was also meaningful for us to see the flag of China flying over the park 28 years later.”
Woodward also took the group to Cracker Barrel for lunch. “Jianing requested that I take them some pace uniquely southern,” explained Woodward. “I thought they should discover biscuits and cornbread,” she teased. “We loved the biscuits and cornbread,” said Shen. “The food was great — very tasty –‘comfort food’ — as Martha said.”
Shen and the China Central Television team will edit the video they made while in town after they return to Washington, D.C. The segment containing the interview with Woodward will air Friday April 30, 2010 across the entire country of China for possible viewing by over one billion people.