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Trennesia Jackson: ‘You never know who you’re sitting by’

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Trennesia Jackson, right, with Hillary Manalac, a student at San Diego State University, during the AAJA National Convention

Trennesia Jackson, a senior at the University of Washington, has been busy working the convention circuit this summer. Last month, she attended the 2014 AAJA National Convention as a recipient of AAJA Seattle’s Founders’ Scholarship. 

While at the AAJA National Convention you will meet tons of new people, make connections and make many new friends.

One of the biggest lessons I learned while at the conference is that you never know who you will sit by. While in these 50-minute to day-long workshops, you can meet some amazing people that you never would have met outside of AAJA.

While sitting in one of the pre-convention workshop, I met a producer who works on videography for the Washington Post. We started talking about what she does, how she likes her job and eventually about the software she uses. Surprisingly, she uses the exact software I use at the University of Washington: Final Cut.

Now to those of you who are videographers, this discovery may seem trivial, but to a reporter who has been doing a lot of videography work, knowing that the software you use at your college or university is  being used by established media outlets is exciting.

After talking with her, exchanging business cards and following each other on Twitter, I realized that this is probably going to happen a lot while I was there. Sure enough, I was right.

My mentor Lori Matsukawa (AAJA Seattle co-founder and anchor at KING 5) told me that while at the convention I should talk to as many people as I can and make friends.

At one event, I was walking around the ballroom trying to find people I knew, which were only a handful. After a while,  I just starting talking to people.

One of those people I will never forget, because now she’s now a friend.

“I’m here. You’re here. Hey, I’m Tre.”

Those were the first few words I said when I met Hillary Manalac, who like me, was a student interested in being an on-air television reporter.

Wherever I went, I made sure to ask her if she was going so I wouldn’t be by myself. Over workshops and different mixers I learned a lot about her and what she wanted to do. We had a lot in common.

Another thing I learned at convention is that you should always surround yourself by people who are in the specific field you want to go into. They have a lot of insight and give great advice and feedback.

Everywhere I went, I surrounded myself with people in television: reporters, directors, or producers. I sat by people Lori introduced to me, people I had just met and with their friends. Looking back, that was probably the best thing I could have done for myself.

I learned a lot of valuable information. I bounced ideas off them and asked this question:“I want to end up here, what’s the best way you think I can end up there?”

While I talked to reporter about how I’d love to be a reporter in San Francisco or Sacramento one day, he told me I had to meet his friend. A few hours later, he introduced me to a Christopher Nguyen; a journalist in Sacramento who also graduated from my school, the University of Washington.

He told me where my best bets were if I really wanted to end up being a reporter in Sacramento or San Francisco. He was very kind, funny and blunt, just like all the other reporters I met.

After talking with him for a while, he had to leave. So I scooted over closer to where everybody else was sitting and I began to speak with a woman.

I found out her husband was a news director at a station in Green Bay and his station has hired a few people out college. I told her while at the convention it’d definitely be nice to meet him.

She then turned around and started talking to the man behind her. He looked at me and smiled, “Hey, I’m Matt. I’m a news director up in Green Bay. So what is it that you want to do? Do you have a video reel I could look at?”

It are connections like these that help you get to where you want to be and make lifelong friends.

If it wasn’t for me moving down to eat my brownie cake and ice cream next to everybody, I would have never met Matt Kummer or his wife. If It weren’t for me sitting in the second row of the pre-convention workshop, I would have never met Casey Capachi, producer at PostTV. And If it weren’t for me breaking out of my comfort zone and just saying hi to Hillary, I would have never made a new friend or met other amazing people like her.

So when you are at convention, go to workshops, network, find people you know or just sit with people you don’t know and introduce yourself.

Because you never know who you’re sitting by.

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Danny O’Neil challenges AAJA Seattle: Match my Power of One donation!

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Danny may be a nerd, but he is a generous one!

Former AAJA National President Sharon Chan got the whole crowd laughing during her lightning talk at the AAJA National Convention on dating and marrying a fellow journalist. The presentation featured several fun photos of Sharon’s husband — and former First Man of AAJA — Danny O’Neil. At the end of the talk, Sharon talked about why he was a keeper. Among those reasons — a willingness to donate to AAJA!

And Danny, who works at 710 ESPN Seattle, has done it again. In honor of their upcoming wedding anniversary, Danny has donated $500 toward the Power of One Campaign and he has challenged AAJA Seattle to match that amount on Twitter:

Attention @aajaseattle: In honor of my lovely wife, I am issuing a $500 challenge donation to Power of One. Can the chapter match by Friday?

AAJA Seattle has had an amazing history of fundraising. We can do this!  Join me and donate now.

Through the generous donations of members and others, the Power of One campaign helps funds valuable programs such as MediaWatch, which holds news organizations accountable for fair and accurate coverage of Asian Americans and J Camp and VOICES, which provides valuable experience and mentoring for high school and college students.

AAJA is aiming to reach a goal $15,000 by this Friday. Currently, the campaign has $1,300 to go.  Matching Danny’s generous $500 donation would put a huge dent toward reaching the goal.

In addition, if the $15,000 goal is reached by Friday, AAJA executive director Kathy Chow has agreed to donate an additional $1,500. And every dollar above $15,000 will go toward the AAJA’s endowment, which funds AAJA’s future projects.

If you donate, please email me at maisurvey@gmail.com so we can keep track!

(Finally, AAJA Seattle needs to show the San Francisco chapter WHO IS BOSS.)

This post has been corrected to include the right amount Kathy Chow will donate if the Power of One goal is reached. 

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Nicole Gaddie on AAJA National Convention: ‘… exhausting, but also rejuvenating’

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Nicole Gaddie (far right), a recent graduate of Seattle University, with Yazhou Sun, a recent graduate of Boston University, left, and KJ Hiramoto, a student at the University of Washington, at the AAJA National Convention in Washington D.C. earlier this month

Nicole Gaddie, a recent graduate of Seattle University and a AAJA Seattle student member, attended the  AAJA National Convention in Washington D.C. earlier this month. She is a recipient of the Founders Scholarship, which provided registration and a travel stipend. She shares her convention experience in this post. 

It’s hard to explain the importance of face-to-face interaction. Some call it networking. I call it building relationships.

That is exactly what happened at the AAJA National Convention in Washington D.C. I formed relationships with people I never guessed I would meet.

We spoke about the industry, how they rose to their current jobs and what motivates them to continue in their profession. The entire week was exhausting, but also rejuvenating.

As a recent graduate, my days were primarily spent at the job fair where a multitude of prestigious companies were represented. ESPN, NBC, FOX, Gannett, Reuters, Bloomberg, WSJ and Sinclair were just some of the big name media companies with booths.

When I wasn’t speaking with recruiters I attended convention-hosted workshops. Topics ranged from vocal training to media diversity advocacy. One of my favorite workshops was focused on data visualization. It took place at NPR’s headquarters (a place I had always dreamed of visiting) and after the session I was able to tour NPR’s facilities.

I won’t say that I landed a job at the convention, but I did make an enormous amount of connections and friends that I know will benefit my future career.

One of my favorite memories took place in the lobby of our hotel, where I stayed up until 5 a.m. with ABC7 Eyewitness News anchor David Ono, MSNBC news anchor Richard Lui and Comcast Sportsnet editor Cameron Kim talking about the future of journalism.

Overall, it was a great experience that I will never forget. I would like to give a big shout out to my AAJA Seattle family who prepped me for convention. I couldn’t have taken advantage of all the opportunities without help from friends like Sharon Chan, Lori Matsukawa, Chris Casquejo, Peter Sessum, Mai Hoang  and many more.

To all those thinking about attending convention next year, do it. It is one of the best decisions I’ve made for my professional career.

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Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen presented with Leadership in Diversity Award at AAJA Gala

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Frank Blethen, publisher and CEO of The Seattle Times, was presented with the Leadership in Diversity Award during the  AAJA National Convention Scholarship & Awards Gala Banquet Saturday night.

The award honors an individual or corporation that has made strides in promoting and demonstrating diversity in the news media industry. A group of AAJA Seattle members who nominated Blethen for the award recognized Frank as a tireless advocate for diversity though his work at The Seattle Times and in his sustaining support of AAJA Seattle.

When told of his award, Frank said he thought he was just doing what everyone else should be doing.

Frank was not able to attend the gala, but Sharon Prill, publisher of the Yakima Herald-Republic accepted the award on his behalf. The Seattle Times Company owns the Yakima newspaper. In accepting the award at the gala, Prill referenced Frank’s track record of promoting Asian Americans in his company:

We are the product of Frank Blethen.

Lori Matsukawa, KING5 anchor and AAJA Seattle co-founder, said in her nominating letter:

As a publisher, Frank Blethen made diversity coverage a cornerstone for the Times. For years, the Times conscientiously engaged in “Community Reporting” and today, CR has become its standard for daily coverage and photography. There are stories of diverse communities, photographs of diverse people written by reporters of color. Frank personally interacts with communities of color and if he can’t (because really, there are so many communities here in Seattle!) he sends out trusted representatives like Carole Carmichael and Thanh Tan, who have strong friendships in the community.

Sharon Chan, Associate Opinions Editor/Digital for The Seattle Times and former AAJA National President, highlighted Blethen’s commitment to diversity in positions at the Times and its affiliate publications including those in management:

Frank has been a national leader in developing and diversifying news leadership. He hired Asian American Sharon Prill as publisher at another newspaper the Blethen family owns, the Yakima Herald Republic. Mei-Mei Chan, now publisher of the News-Press in Ft. Myers, was previously vice president of ad sales at The Seattle Times. Last fall, Frank named Kathy Best editor of The Seattle Times. She is the first woman to lead our newsroom. The Seattle Times president and editorial page editor are also women.

Mai Hoang, AAJA Seattle chapter president talked about his continued support for AAJA at the local and national level:

Frank has also shown his support through thousands of dollars in personal donations for local and national AAJA programs. Last summer, Frank challenged members to donate to AAJA’s Power of One campaign though a dollar-to-dollar match of up $2,000. When members stepped up and donated more than $3,400, Frank upped his donation to $2,400. More recently, Frank and his wife, Charlene, served as the “Santa” sponsor for The Holiday Scoop, a holiday fundraiser organized by AAJA Seattle and the Western Washington SPJ Pro Chapter. The $2,000 sponsorship helped the two organizations raise net revenues of more than $7,000 for scholarship programs, including the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship.

A page from the AAJA 2014 Convention gala program book.

Description of the award from the AAJA 2014 Convention gala program

imageSharon Prill and Sharon Chan with the award.

photo (2)A photo of  The Seattle Times-sponsored table at the AAJA gala.

 

 

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King County ethnic and disability media networking event MONDAY!

King County will hold a networking event for journalists who serve cultural and disability communities to help increase awareness of ethnic and disability media among King County employees.

The event will feature a media panel of  journalists who cover ethnic and disability communities, question and answer session with King County Executive Dow Constantine and time with county outreach staff.

The event, co-sponsored by AAJA, Washington Hispanic Media Association  and Dow Constantine, will be Monday, July 28, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., 201 S JacksonKing Street Center 8th Floor Conference Center.

The event is free, but please RSVP online.

 

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