Category Archives: Convention

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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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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Discount on AAJA National Convention rates end TODAY

This year’s AAJA National Convention in Washington D.C. is packed full of hands-on workshops, seminars and networking opportunities.

And TODAY is your last chance to save $75 on the registration rate for the convention, Aug. 13-16.

And if you need more reasons to go, convention co-chairs Seung Min Kim and Sherri Ly share a few of the many things you can do while you’re in the nation’s capitol:

A great convention hotel located right in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C. The Renaissance Marriott is a top-of-the-line hotel with spacious and comfortable rooms, superb workout facilities and great bars to unwind with a drink after a long day.

When you can break away from programming and networking, leave the hotel and enjoy all that D.C. has to offer. Walk just a couple of blocks to Chinatown and Penn Quarter – home to some of the best restaurants in D.C. Some of our favorites are restaurants run by famed restaurateur Jose Andres, like Jaleo (Spanish tapas) and Zaytinya (Mediterraean). Right across the street is the brand-new CityCenterDC – a new complex with luxury shopping including Kate Spade and Burberry. And the hotel is just a short walking distance from the National Mall, surrounded by the best museums in the country (all free!).

And of course, it’s a chance to reconnect with all your AAJA friends from across the world.

So register today!

For those of you who have already registered, start planning by checking out the full convention schedule.

In addition, registration is now open for pre-convention workshops. These full-day workshops provide in-depth training in several topics including data journalism, entrepreneurship, international reporting and political coverage.

Workshop spaces are limited, so sign up today!

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Convention stipend available for one student through AAJA-D.C.

For any students out there who would like to attend next month’s convention in New York, the AAJA D.C. chapter has one stipend for a student member available. The stipend will cover the cost of registration for the national convention next month.

To apply, please submit your résumé and include a statement (500 words max) answering the following questions:

1. What do you hope to gain from your experience at this year’s convention?
2. Describe your involvement with AAJA.

*All recipients will be asked to submit a brief summary of their experiences for our website.

Please email your applications by Friday, July 26, 5 p.m. eastern time, to Seung Min Kim: skim@politico.com.

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