AAJA Author archives for Sarah Eden Wallace

Bravos for Social Media Bootcamp

Tons of transformational ideas, tools and Twitter tips highlighted the AAJA Seattle Spring Training Social Media and Self-Branding Bootcamp on March 28. Sona Patel, Lauren Rabaino and Brian Rosenthal of the Seattle Times did a dynamite job dishing out info and inspiration (plus a tour of the newly consolidated Times newsroom).

The talented trio asked us to blog about our five top takeaways. My list:

Interact. Subscribe to blogs. Follow people who are doing what you want to do.  Comment on their posts. Lauren shared an anecdote from her student days how she posted on a Big-Shot Journalist’s blog and he responded, much to her delighted astonishment. It marks you as someone who contributes to the discourse and helps establish you as a credible source of information.

Use your name or a consistent alias across all platforms. To build the brand, you need a unified naming convention on Twitter, your website, Facebook, LinkedIn.

Tweet where you’re at. Beaming out that you’re at a school board meeting, tech conference (or AAJA event!) builds credibility that you’re covering what’s important, doing the footwork.

Don’t sweat the SEO. People will find you if you write well about what matters to you, said Lauren. Brilliant strategy.

Always have visuals – makes posts more shareable. To wit: Fueling up for the drive home to Bellingham, I stopped afterward at Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream for a triple hot fudge sundae (salted caramel, Scout mint and vegan coconut chunk!). Noticed they had a map showing their ingredients’ origin. Noticed their milk and cream come from the Edaleen Dairy in Lynden. Realized this would make a fun post on my Blue Ribbon blog about local food, farming and fairs. Also, realized, with regret, that a photo of the little thumbtack on “Lynden” would’ve made the post 10 times cooler. Hit home that I need to take my camera everywhere — even the malt shop.

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TV anchor tunes into Spam, the First Amendment and what you can learn at a beauty pageant


Rain gear comes in handy for Lori Matsukawa's job as a Seattle news anchor.

Name: Lori Matsukawa
Lives in: Bellevue, Wash.
Born: Honolulu, Hawaii
Education: B.A. from Stanford University, master’s degree from University of Washington
Work: news anchor, KING-TV, Seattle
Formerly: Anchor/reporter at KOMO-TV, Seattle; KPIX-TV, Portland, Ore.; KRCR-TV, Redding, Calif.; college intern, Honolulu Advertiser.
AAJA member since: 1983. Co-founded Seattle Chapter in 1985.
Must-reads: Wall Street Journal, Seattle Times. Often checks out TIME Magazine, Honolulu Magazine, Twitter, Facebook.
Print or online news? Both.
Go-to website: KING5.com
Best journalism moment: Documenting Gov. Gary Locke’s first trip to China in 1997.
Worst journalism moment: “When my photographer was arrested at Pearl Harbor covering the 50th anniversary.”
Twitter handle: @LoriMatsukawa
Languages: English and “tourist” French. “I can order a beer in Japanese.”
Can’t put down: “The Hunger Games” trilogy.
Favorite Seattle restaurants: Tie: Kaname and Wann Izakaya.
Must-see TV: “60 Minutes”
Fave flick: Tie: “Gone With the Wind” and “The Terminator”
Heaven on a plate: Spam musubi.
Top toy: “My golf clubs.”
You might not know: “I decided to study journalism during my year as Miss Teenage America 1974. I was always being interviewed by reporters and decided this was the job for me: getting paid to talk to people!”
Main motivation: “Journalism is the first draft of history. It’s the only job that’s protected by the First Amendment, so we’d better take it seriously.”

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Furhana Afrid on interviewing Obama, tomato gravy and never giving up on dreams

Furhana Afrid interviewed Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Name: Furhana Afrid
Hometown: Butte, Mont., “for now until my next journalism adventure.”
Born: Nairobi, Kenya
Education: Radio and TV master’s degree from San Francisco State University
Work: Exploring new career opportunities as a backpack journalist and social media producer.
Formerly: News reporter/anchor with KXLF-TV in Montana, print reporter with California-based India-West, current affairs TV host in Nairobi, Kenya, and business sales assistant for Bayer East Africa.
AAJA member since: 2009.
Favorite book: Currently enjoying Ayaan Hirsa Ali’s “From Islam to America.”
Print or online news? Both.
Best journalism moment: “Outpouring of support offered by people in Butte, Mont., after watching my story about scores of Kenyans who were displaced and killed after post-election violence in my home town of Nairobi, Kenya, in 2008.”
Worst journalism moment: “Writing a news story about layoffs at a hospital and at the same time getting bad news I was losing my job.”
Lingo: Speaks three South Asian languages (Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu) and East African language Swahili.
Best gear: My video camera.
Twitter handle: @furhanaafrid
Check out: www.furhanaafrid.com/videos
Must-see TV: “The West Wing,”
“The Jerry Springer Show” … kidding!
No. 1 movie: “Too many. But one of my faves is ‘Slum Dog Millionaire.’”
You might not know: “I got my reporting feet wet in U.S. national politics while interviewing then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in Montana during the race for the White House in 2008.”
Favorite food: “Pakistani biryani, a slow-cooked preparation of spice-infused rice and layers of meat in a tomato and onion gravy.”
Guilty pleasure: “The darker the chocolate the better it tastes.”
Main motivation: “My hardworking parents in Kenya who started with nothing, little education, worked to the bone, educated my three sisters and I, gave us all equal opportunities to succeed in the world, and told us never to give up on our dreams.”


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Meet Sunny Wu, editor and ex-lifeguard

Editor’s note: This is part of a new, bi-weekly series, where Sarah will be profiling one of our AAJA members

A native-born Seattleite, Sunny Wu knows his microbrews.

Name: Sunny Wu
Hometown: A native-born Seattleite.
Education: Political science degree from University of Washington.
Work: Projects editor, MSN (starting in December).
Formerly: Editor at FOX Sports, ESPN, AOL and msnbc.com. Lifeguard in high school.
AAJA member since: 2004.
Daily reads: The Seattle Times, The New York Times, ESPN, tech blogs, Twitter and RSS feeds.
Print or online news? Print, online, broadcast, mobile … all of the above.
Favorite book: “Depends on the book I’m reading at the moment. I’ve gravitated toward nonfiction the past few years.” (more…)

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Living La Vida Laidoff

The ink was barely dry on the severance agreement when this ex-newspaper editor thought, hey, our local fair is coming up on its 100th anniversary – how about a book? This led to crunching numbers, doing market research and drafting umpteen versions of a big-bucks proposal. Getting the project green-lighted was an eye-opening first foray into a business mindset.

I’m producing the book for the fair board as well as writing it, which has meant coordinating photos and design, planning promotion and distribution, learning social media marketing on the fly, and a non-stop forced march of better-late-than-never adapting new technology.

It’s meant doing a radio phoner at 6:45 a.m., sitting in my PJs and being interviewed for the first time in 20-some years of journalism. Still working up the nerve to listen to the podcast.

Interviewing skills come in handy whether talking to ag teachers about swine insemination (if you’re going to show a pig at the fair you want it born around Valentine’s Day) or a 93-year-old who’s gone to the fair every year since he was 5. There’s the archaeological thrill of wading through old premium books and spotting a 1950s photo of Loretta Lynn canning pickles for the food judging. So now I’ve had a taste of the historian’s life (and new, huge respect for what Ken Burns did with a pile of old photos).

Along the way, the AAJA workshop “Choppy Waters” and Doug Kim’s “Reboot Your Career” were incredibly helpful. Still, whether I’m brainstorming about corporate sponsorships, audiotaping a livestock auction or non-stop networking, the learning curve is steep. For example, I’ve never done a blog post before. But complete ignorance of a topic has yet to stop me since I was laid off six months ago … so here goes!

Sarah Wallace is a former newspaper editor who lives and writes in Bellingham, Wash.

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