AAJA Seattle in 2010

Chapter President’s Report

Dear friends,

Happy holidays! As 2010 draws to a close, our chapter has many accomplishments to celebrate this year. It’s also that time of year to renew your membership and make a tax-deductible donation.

The chapter is blessed with a dedicated core of active members who see the value of this community. Our mission is to inspire the next generation of journalists, promote diversity and support media entrepreneurship. We focused our resources in 2010 on outreach, training and mentoring – and you responded.

Our membership increased from about 80 members in 2009 to more than 100 members in 2010. More students are joining our chapter, as are non-traditional journalists, such as Alex Stonehill, co-founder of the Common Language Project and our keynote speaker at our Lunar New Year Banquet & Silent Auction.

Last year’s Lunar New Year fund-raiser at Tea Palace set a new attendance record, with more than 70 attendees. The chapter board was so pleased with the turnout, we’ve decided to hold our 2011 event there on Jan. 29. Save the date!

One of our key strategies in 2010 was partnering with other organizations to broaden our reach and expand local benefits to members.

The boards of SPJ Western Washington and AAJA Seattle agreed to offer each group’s members reciprocal rates on events to increase attendance and diversity. That gave our AAJA Seattle members access to SPJ’s fall training series and freelancer’s workshop at SPJ member rates.

AAJA Seattle also signed a partnership agreement with 911 Media, a non-profit provider of multimedia training, which provided our members with discounted rates and fellowships for students and professionals. Our first recipient of the fellowship was Carina del Rosario, a freelance photographer, who applied the fellowship toward a class in audio recording.

And our chapter collaborated with other local journalism organizations to broaden our reach and relevance: We provided financial or in-kind support to three regional conferences – Journalism That Matters, SPJ Regional Conference, and the Northwest Video Workshop.

We also provided financial and in-kind support to the newly launched Sea Beez ethnic media consortium, and the William O. Douglas SPJ chapter in co-hosting a “Choppy Waters” workshop for students at Central Washington University.

Finally, we collaborated with the Seattle chapter of the National Association of Asian-American Professionals (NAAAP) on two of their events and promoted the kickoff event of the local chapter of Hacks/Hackers, a journalism innovation group.

Speaking of innovation, our AAJA Seattle chapter held our inaugural Innovation Salon at the Seattle Art Museum in May. The classy event at SAM’s TASTE restaurant offered attendees appetizers, wine and tips on Twitter. We plan to hold another Innovation Salon in 2011. Stay tuned.

Acting on another strategic priority, the chapter this year stepped up its efforts to support the next generation of journalists: We held two student pizza nights (including a multimedia journalism night at the UW), judged student work at the Washington Journalism Education Association state conference and awarded four Northwest Journalists of Color scholarships and two Founders scholarships.

Three of our scholarship winners attended the AAJA National Convention and blogged about their experiences. Read what Peter Sessum, Mary Pauline Diaz and Katelin Chow wrote.

And after returning from a fantastic AAJA National Convention in Los Angeles,  we held an end-of-summer potluck in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park.

We also elected new officers for 2011. Here are your officers for next year:

President: Sanjay Bhatt, reporter, The Seattle Times
VP, Events: Caroline Li, editor, EarthWalkers.com
VP, Programs: Owen Lei, reporter, KING 5
Treasurer: Mai Hoang, reporter, The Yakima Herald-Republic
Secretary: Venice Buhain, editor, Bellevue Patch

As you know, our National Board Representative Athima Chansanchai was elected to AAJA National Secretary to fill the remaining term of Doris Truong, who was elected AAJA National President. The chapter board is discussing its next step to fill Tima’s seat for the remainder of her term.

Speaking of national AAJA affairs, it’s been a challenging year. Fiscal crises threatened AAJA’s future, and all chapters, including ours, gave funds to stabilize the organization.

We can all be proud of our AAJA National President Sharon Chan and AAJA National Treasurer Candace Heckman for steering the national organization through the crisis and making tough decisions. Today AAJA has a strong executive director and is on steadier fiscal ground.

And in what could become an annual tradition, Sharon, Candace and Seattle Times Executive Editor David Boardman, who is also an AAJA Seattle member, organized an all-media Holiday Scoop party at Nectar that benefitted the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship endowment.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped support the chapter in accomplishing its goals this year. Our event chairs deserve huge kudos: Caroline Li (Lunar New Year Banquet), Nicole Tsong and Mai Hoang (student workshops), Mai Hoang and Venice Buhain (scholarship application and judging), Karen Johnson (innovation salon), and Naomi Ishisaka (scholarships reception).

Our AAJA Seattle community is strong. We can meet any challenge by working together. Our continued success rests on your support, so please renew your membership, bring a colleague to our events and tell us how you’d like to get involved!

If you’re not already, I encourage you to follow us @aajaseattle on Twitter, join our Facebook group and check us out at aajaseattle.org.

I wish you and yours a memorable holiday season and prosperity in the New Year!

In unity,

Sanjay Bhatt
President, AAJA Seattle chapter
Reporter, The Seattle Times

Sanjay Bhatt

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 →

Comments are closed.