2010 AAJA Convention – Back to the Future

Posted on by sbhatt

(L to R): Yakima Herald-Republic reporter Mai Hoang and student members Peter Sessum, Katelin Chow and Mary Pauline Diaz.
(Yakima Herald-Republic reporter Mai Hoang, NJC scholarship winner Peter Sessum and Founder’s Scholarship winners Katelin Chow and Mary Pauline Diaz.)

“Back to the Future” was the motto of this year’s AAJA National Convention in Los Angeles.

Aside from being the title of one of my favorite movies as a kid, “Back to the Future” succinctly captures this year’s milieu: We put the awfulness of 2009 behind us and looked ahead to the opportunities of tomorrow. We gave ourselves the space to dream once again — in Hollywood, a place where humans fail hard and often. But we all know that a few of the persistent ones eventually get a lucky break and make their dreams come true!

AAJA today is a dream realized for the journalists who founded it in 1981. You can’t help but feel moved by this awesome promo video marking the occasion of our organization’s 30th anniversary.

Courage. Pride. Passion.

These are words that come to mind when I think of the people who represented our Seattle chapter.

We can all be proud of our AAJA National President Sharon Chan and AAJA National Treasurer Candace Heckman for steering the organization through one of the most difficult years in its history. They made tough decisions, but today the organization has survived a fiscal crisis and is on steadier ground with a new executive director.

Who else was there from our chapter? KING5 anchor Lori Matuskawa; VOICES project director Marian Liu; and several of your chapter board members (Athima Chansanchai, Venice Buhain, Caroline Li and yours truly).

But there were a lot of other faces too! They include:

  • Seattle Times Executive Editor David Boardman
  • KING-TV reporter Owen Lei
  • Yakima Herald-Republic reporter Mai Hoang
  • AOL FanHouse producer Sunny Wu
  • KBCS news director Joaquin Uy (also recipient of an AAJA National award)
  • KNDO-TV (Yakima) reporter Shawn Chitnis
  • Public relations executive Christine Chen
  • Freelance writer Judy Hsu
  • Founder’s Scholarship recipients Katelin Chow and Mary Pauline Diaz
  • Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship winner Peter Sessum
  • Special appearances by Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen and former Executive Editor Mike Fancher

For those of you who didn’t come to the LA convention, I ask you, will we see you in Detroit next year? Should AAJA change the way it holds national conventions?

With only four months left in 2010, our chapter continues to offer great programs and events!

Sept. 11, afternoon: AAJA Seattle annual summer picnic. Golden Gardens. FREE. Bring your spouse, kids and anyone else who’s special.

Sept. 21, 11 am-4:30 pm: AAJA members get the SPJ discount to their Freelancer’s Survival Guide conference at REI. $30 members, $40 non-members.

Oct. 16, all day: Northwest Video Workshop at KING TV. $35 registration. First 10 AAJA members to register get in for $20. (You must send an email to me at sbhatt@seattletimes.com after you register to confirm the stipend is still available.)

Late October: Elections for chapter board. Stay tuned for details.

Early November: Our second Innovation Salon: Monetize Your Digital Content.

December: Holiday social mixer.

About sbhatt

Sanjay Bhatt jumped into journalism in 1996, landing his first job at The Times Leader, a daily in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He juggled covering 12 school districts and loved turning out enterprising, investigative pieces. Within a year, he got hired by The Palm Beach Post of West Palm Beach, Fla., where he spent the next six years building a reputation as a top health reporter. The biggest story he covered there was the 2001 anthrax investigation. In 2003, he joined The Seattle Times, where he has examined public schools, neighborhood issues, the economic crisis and local government. He enjoys producing mini-documentaries, trying new ideas online and learning new technologies. View all posts by sbhatt →

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