Category Archives: Convention

Three AAJA Seattle members to participate in the 2013 Executive Leadership Program

Posted on by maiphoang

Three AAJA Seattle members have been selected to participate in the 2013 Executive Leadership Program.

The three-day program will be held from Aug. 20 to Aug. 22, in conjunction with the AAJA National Convention in New York.

The annual program builds the leadership and management skills of mid-career journalists seeking to join the ranks of mid-level and upper management in the newsroom. The program’s curriculum includes a wide variety of topics related to journalism and leadership development.

AAJA Seattle has provided $2,100 in financial support to help cover the cost of the program for all three participants. [Full disclosure: To avoid a conflict of interest, president Mai Hoang recused herself from the voting process.]

AAJA Seattle members attending this year’s program are:


Venice Buhain, an editor for Patch, is a long-time member of AAJA Seattle and has served in several roles for the chapter, including chapter secretary and co-chair of the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship program in 2010.

Mai Hoang, business reporter, for the Yakima Herald-Republic, is currently serving as president of AAJA Seattle. She previously served as chapter treasurer and co-chair of the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship program in 2010.

She also was selected as a recipient of the Dinah Eng Leadership Fellowship, which provides a $400 stipend to attend the Executive Leadership Program.


Thanh Tan, multimedia editorial writer for the Seattle Times, is an alumna of the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship and also was the keynote speaker for the NJC Reception in 2011.

Congrats to all three participants!

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What you missed at the UNITY Seattle mixer

That's U for UNITY. Top row, left to right: John Ryan, Peter Sessum, Genevieve Alvarez, Venice Buhain. Middle: Katrina Barlow, Mai Ling Slaughter, Melissa Hoyos. Bottom: Sona Patel, Lauren Rabaino, Sharon Chan.

Thank you to everyone who came to the UNITY Seattle mixer on Tuesday night! We had a crowd of about 20 journalists of all backgrounds at Lucid Lounge in the U. District: Asian American, Latina, white, gay, student, professor, digital, TV, radio, nonprofit, ex- and job-seeking journalists.

We projected the #UNITY12 Twitter stream up on a screen and UNITY and alliance presidents Joanna Hernandez, David Steinberg, Doris Truong, Rhonda LeValdo all joined us via Twitter. UNITY Programming Co-Chairs Paul Cheung and Robert Hernandez also joined in the event via Twitter.

I did a short slideshow about why you should think about coming to UNITY:

    • Thousands of journalists
    • Inspired workshops
    • Vegas

AAJA Seattle President Sona Patel announced a convention grant the chapter will award to help a laid-off journalist attend UNITY. She also highlighted the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarships, deadline April 15. This year the winner will receive a grant to attend the convention as well. Former scholarship winner Peter Sessum spoke about how the scholarships changed his life.

We raffled off two “J” pins and a $50 gift card to Lucid Lounge. Congratulations to the three winners, all students at the University of Washington. Thank you to Lucid for donating the gift card. If you haven’t been to Lucid lately, they have a new elevated stage and a great digital presentation setup (they handed me an iPad to run the slideshow).

Don’t you wish you had been there?

The early-bird registration rate for UNITY 2012 convention ends on March 16! The early bird rate is $325 for members, $150 for student members, $500 for non-members and $250 for student non-members. After March 16, rates go up $75!

Register now at

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What’s in Your Backpack, Journalist?

If you’ve been looking for your next journalism position then you know your journey has probably been painfully bumpy against the backdrop of the lingering recession, newsroom cut backs, leaner paychecks, scarcity of jobs and scores of unemployed journalists eager to get back to another newsroom. Many others have even jumped the journalism ship in search of other opportunities.

Want a journalism job? Carry more tools to get hired, survive and thrive in the news industry. (Photo by Furhana Afrid)

You may have invested the last few months or years doing everything you could possibly do to help secure that next job. You’ve sent out hundreds of resumes tapes, relentlessly telephoned news directors to tell them why you are the “One,” hit the journalism conventions running and networked until you are blue in your face. You tweet and follow the who’s who on social media, and perhaps you accomplished all that on a very tight budget. It’s no wonder that your backpack feels heavier with discouragement and doubt about your future in journalism.

You thought you paid your dues by busting your rear end when you were trying to break into the journalism industry and then working yourself to the bone at your first or next job. Now it seems you are back to ground zero. Not really. You are a backpack journalist! (also known as a video, multimedia, multiplatform, digital or one-man/woman band journalist). You are accustomed to producing several stories a day under deadline. The tools in your backpack and your story-telling skills make it all happen. And with so much versatility at your fingertips you can do it all over again even if you are not working in a newsroom right now.

So journalist what’s in your backpack that can turn that long or short spell of unemployment or underemployment into an opportunity to innovate, explore and keep your skills sharp?

Three Tips to Strengthen Your Job Search Backpack:

Create Web Footprint: Employers are looking for creative self-starters. Your website is your broadcasting channel to showcase your multimedia skills. It’s your story-telling portfolio for video/online/audio stories, photographs and news writing. Many journalists are using or to create their sites and tell their stories. The good news…website design credentials are not required to own your own piece of real estate on the internet. You can also use other website developers like Tumblr, Drupal or Joomla. Plus free online tutorials will show you what to do. I’ve been using a WordPress tutorial from the Knight Digital Media Center. It’s an easy to follow, step-by-step approach. Try it.

Practice Super Story-telling: Jobs will come and go. So will tools. But your story-telling skills will be yours to keep and nurture. NBC multimedia journalist Thanh Truong told me at a recent AAJA convention that many journalists can shoot video, edit and deliver the news. But it’s how well you capture the essence of a story that differentiates one storyteller from another. As a master story-teller your chances of hitting a home run to your next journalism position improve significantly. So put your video gear to work. Check out Poynter’s News University online courses. These courses are affordable, sometimes free and will really help you craft compelling visual stories.

Nurture Strong Relationships: The journalism industry continues to shed jobs. CNN is reportedly one of the latest casualties with some fifty out the door. You know that you are not the only one. But when times are tough it is easy to spiral down into the abyss of pessimism, low self-esteem and isolation. So don’t turn into an island. Reach out to your trusted family, friends and peers. They will help you weather the storm and encourage you to stay afloat. Stay active in your community. Start groups with like-minded people. Volunteer your skills for a worthy cause. You have the ability to help change lives and your circumstances.

So journalist what else is in your backpack?

Furhana Afrid is a backpack journalist and social media manager.

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Convention registration deadline extended three more weeks

Posted on by sbhatt

Come hear tips and hard-won wisdom from award-winning journalists.

Learn about Chinese-American Vincent Chin, whose 1982 murder in Detroit lit the match of the Asian-American movement.

Build your network of industry contacts and meet recruiters.

AAJA holds its National Convention Aug. 10-13 in Detroit. If you haven’t registered yet, you’re lucky: National is allowing people to get the LOWEST rates for three more weeks. The deadline has been extended to July 8.

Don’t delay any longer! Go to now and register before rates go up!

Looking for a roommate at convention? E-mail me at and I can let you know who else is seeking a roommate.

Here is a list of the chapter members who I know have registered or are attending on a scholarship. If you’d like me to add your name to this list, just send me an e-mail. If you see our scholarship winners, please congratulate them!

  • Sanjay Bhatt
  • Frank Blethen
  • Sharon Chan
  • Athima Chansanchai
  • Shawn Chitnis
  • Judy Hsu
  • Kyle Kim (VOICES scholarship)
  • Owen Lei
  • Caroline Li (Ford Foundation scholarship)
  • Marian Liu
  • Peter Sessum (Founders scholarship)
  • Sarah Wallace (Ford Foundation scholarship)
  • Sunny Wu (Ford Foundation scholarship)

If you want to share the promo video link with your friends and colleagues, here’s the link:

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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

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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