AAJA Author archives for Owen Lei

NJC 2011 Scholarship Winners Announced! Blethen honored for diversity commitment.

Posted on by Owen

Congratulations to this year’s NJC scholarship recipients!  On the 25th anniversary of the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship, AAJA Seattle was able to award nearly $5,000 in scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition, send a student to the 2011 AAJA national convention in Detroit, and help pay for off-campus multimedia storytelling courses.

(above picture, from left to right) Mary Jean Spadafora, 911 Media Arts Scholarship; Joanna Nolasco, Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship; Peter Sessum, Founder’s Scholarship; Gina Cole, NJC Scholarship. (not pictured: Katelin Chow, who won an NJC Scholarship, made a special appearance from Barcelona, Spain, via a pre-recorded webcam message)

Seattle Times Publisher and AAJA Platinum member Frank Blethen received a “leadership in diversity” award from AAJA-Seattle and the Seattle Association of Black Journalists.


Frank Blethen accepts Leadership in Diversity Award from NJC



Thanh Tan of the Texas Tribune, as keynote speaker, shared her experiences as a multimedia reporter/producer covering state politics at a non-profit journalism outlet.

The Texas Tribune is a non-profit journalism startup based in Austin that relies on diverse lines of revenue to sustain its hard-hitting reporting on state government and politics.

Here’s an excerpt from Thanh’s amazing keynote speech:

Will we succeed in our mission to be a non-profit, sustainable provider of public interest news? I don’t know. Will I still have a job in a year or two? I sure hope so. When I questioned whether I wanted to venture into the unknown, I leaned on my old Nightline executive producer, Tom Bettag, for help. Here’s what he told me, “As for the future of the Tribune and its model, I don’t think anyone knows. What we know is that it is a serious attempt to do important work. If it fails, it will be a noble failure. People will respect you for having done your best to make it work.”

If you’d told me seven years ago that I would NOT be working in television news. That instead, I’d be producing and writing for an online start-up in Austin, Texas. That I would be a multi-platform journalist– I’d have said, ‘Whatever. Yeah right.’ The bottom is I’ve worked in local TV news in small and big markets. I’ve worked in public broadcasting at a local and national level. All those experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly… led me to where I am today and make me appreciate what I have so much more. You don’t have to follow my path. Create your own future, and know that it may look nothing like what you’re envisioning right now. But the basics are the same. Just do it. Find that first break. Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed.

Keep in touch with those whose work you admire. Break a few stories. Check your facts. Seek the truth. Hold the powerful accountable. Meet your deadlines. Learn from your mistakes. Survival in this industry may well be based on your ability to adapt your stories for different mediums—so learn all you can about how print, online, and broadcast work. Try new things—but always be mindful of your mission. And know that your job allows you to wield a certain amount of power that should not be abused. Pay attention to the people around you… listen to their stories, and understand that our work as journalists often gives voice to the voiceless. That’s a huge responsibility.

Times are changing for this industry—it is a FASCINATING time to be a journalist, if you do it for the right reasons. You’ve gotten this far. I promise you that with a little help from the Northwest Journalists of Color—and all the people who are around you today– you will go on to produce work that inspires and enlightens your community.

This is just the beginning of your journey, and I am so excited for you.

Thanh Tan and her father, Duc

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One week left! NJC DEADLINE is May 1st.

Posted on by Owen

Time’s almost up!  The deadline is May 1, 2011.  (Postmarked by that date is fine)

Don’t put it off!! Last year we awarded four students with more than $2500 in scholarships and stipends.  

Three scholarships are available:

Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship:  Awards up to $2,500 in scholarship money to students who intend to pursue careers in journalism.  Other eligibility:  Either you’re a WA resident heading to college, or a college student in WA.  That’s it.

Founders’ Scholarship: Covers a student registration fee for the 2011 AAJA National Convention, which is Aug. 10-13 in Detroit.  A small stipend for travel and accommodations also is available.  Eligibility:  You are, or will become, a student member of AAJA. For more information about the convention, click here.

AAJA Seattle/911 Media Arts Student Scholarship:  We’re awarding two scholarships to AAJA Seattle student members for up to $400 in class costs, lab and rental fees at the 911 Media Arts Center in Seattle’s University District.

Click here to download a copy of the application. For more information contact scholarship chair Owen Lei at olei@king5.com.

Again the deadline in May 1!  Here’s where you send your applications!
AAJA Seattle Scholarships
c/o Owen Lei, KING-TV
333 Dexter Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

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