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TODAY is the last day to pre-order tickets for the Lunar New Year Banquet!

Just a quick reminder: Today is the last day to pre-order tickets for the Lunar New Year Banquet! Save up to $10 if you pre-order.

See you then!


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Silent Auction items

I was reviewing our Silent Auction list and I couldn’t help but be so grateful for all of the donations made by local businesses and the AAJA community for our Silent Auction. Here’s a sneak peek of what you can bid on next week:

Be a cheesemaker apprentice for a day, get free samples and be treated to lunch with Beecher’s Seattle‘s Cheesemaker for a Day certificate.

Don’t have a car? Zip around town with gift certificates from Zipcar Seattle!

Dine in style with a gift certificate from Seattle’s famous Canlis Restaurant! Thanks to some KING 5 employees for donating this tasty item.

A one-night stay in Deluxe Accommodations at Pan Pacific Seattle.

A one-night stay with complimentary parking at Hotel Max in the heart of downtown Seattle.

Wine from Guardian Cellars in Woodinville.

An evening with Jennifer Egan: Two tickets to a Seattle Arts and Lectures Series talk.

Get picked up in style with a gift certificate from Uber, Seattle’s private towncar company.

A “New Year, New You” package filled with goodies such as personal training sessions, and gift certificates to PCC Natural Market, Starbucks and an American Express Gift Card.

Ever wanted to go mushroom hunting? Matt Ironside of The Seattle Times will take you and a group of friends on a private mushroom hunting trip!

A portrait session with Ava Van of Ava Van Photography.

… and much more! Proceeds from the Silent Auction will benefit the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship.

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Tickets on sale for the 2012 Lunar New Year Banquet & Silent Auction

Get your tickets now for AAJA Seattle’s biggest fundraiser of the year! This year’s banquet will be held on Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. at Acquabar in Belltown. Silent auction proceeds will go toward the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship, which has supported more than 100 college students since the mid-1980s.

Highlights of this year’s banquet include:

Our emcee for the evening will be Elizabeth Dinh, reporter, KOMO 4 News.

Ticket prices will go up, so get yours soon:

All ages welcome.

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AAJA Seattle in 2011

Chapter President’s Report
Dear friends,

Your AAJA Seattle chapter ends 2011 with noteworthy accomplishments, a strong community presence and new leaders.

Just this year, AAJA Seattle played an important leadership role in calling for the release of detained Al Jazeera reporter Dorothy Parvaz, a former AAJA Seattle member. The chapter also hosted a memorable Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship reception emceed by AAJA Seattle VP Owen Lei, with great support from KING TV, Safeco Foundation and The Seattle Times.

Former NJC scholarship recipient Thanh Tan, a multimedia reporter for The Texas Tribune, delivered the keynote speech to this year’s scholarship recipients. If you want to be inspired, watch her outstanding speech:

Our chapter and the Seattle Association of Black Journalists presented a leadership plaque to Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen for his consistent support of diversity nationally and locally. And we cut a red velvet cake to mark the 25th anniversary of the NJC scholarship, which has helped more than 100 aspiring journalists of color from Washington state with college expenses.

Chapter VP Owen Lei also brought together our board and other active members for a video shoot at Seattle Center. The video was incorporated in the LA chapter’s AAJA Trivia Bowl video.

The Seattle chapter had an impressive showing at the AAJA National Convention in Detroit. Three of our members – Caroline Li, Sarah Wallace, and Sunny Wu – were awarded Ford Foundation fellowships to attend the conference. The chapter also sponsored University of Washington student Peter Sessum with a Founders scholarship. Whitworth University graduate Kyle Kim joined the team at this year’s VOICES convention newsroom project, which was led by the able Marian Liu (now community manager at Athima Chansanchai represented the Seattle chapter on the convention programming committee co-chair and on the Governing Board as National Secretary.

Former AAJA National President Sharon Chan received the Outstanding Leadership Award from AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program. Yours truly was humbled to receive the Chapter President of the Year award and the Gannett Foundation’s Digital Innovation in Watchdog Journalism award. Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen received the AAJA Special Recognition Award. Congratulations to all!

We have some fantastic talent leading the chapter in 2012:

  • President: Sona Patel, social media producer, (term expires in 2013)
    VP-Programs: Lauren Rabaino, associate web producer, (term expires in 2013)
    VP-Events: Caroline Li, web entrepreneur (term expires in 2012)
    Treasurer: Mai Hoang, business reporter, The Yakima Herald-Republic (term expires in 2012)
    Secretary: Samantha Pak, reporter, The Redmond Reporter (term expires in 2013)
    National Board Representative: Sanjay Bhatt, business reporter, The Seattle Times (term expires in 2013)
  • The new board already has stepped up to the plate, and it’s not even Jan. 1! Sona Patel helped organize Holiday Scoop 2011, an unaffiliated event, with AAJA members Sharon Chan and Candace Heckman and Online News Association member Tiffany Campbell. The event raised $2,000 for the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship!

    The new board has begun planning for our 2012 Lunar New Year Banquet & Silent Auction, which will be held Jan. 28 at Acquabar in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood.

    You may have noticed that AAJA Seattle’s website has a new look and feel. The site has served mainly as a bulletin board for chapter news and job listings as well as an archive of photos, videos and stories about past chapter events. Thanks to incoming chapter VP Lauren Rabaino, as well as AAJA members Sarah Wallace, Furhana Afrid and Sunny Wu, the site now is integrated with our @aajaseattle Twitter account and designed to offer a better user experience and engagement. If you’d like to contribute stories to the site, please contact Lauren, whose Twitter handle is @laurenrabaino.

    As we close out 2011, you still have a few days to make a tax-deductible donation to AAJA! You can make an online donation to AAJA National’s Power of One campaign or its scholarships. The Seattle chapter also welcomes donations by check to its P.O. Box. The chapter will have a PayPal option in 2012.

    Don’t forget to renew your AAJA membership! I encourage you to renew at the Gold or Platinum level, each of which include perks and special mention on the chapter and national websites. Platinum level membership includes your registration fee for UNITY 2012 in Las Vegas!

    For the past four years, I have been honored to serve the chapter during a period of turbulence for our employers and our occupation. Working together, we finished the campaign to establish a $100,000 endowment for the NJC scholarships, grew membership despite the closure of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and increased our reach through workshops, partnerships, field trips and digital media.

    We are blessed in Seattle with a cadre of leaders who have an ethic of giving and paying it forward. I’d like to thank several people who supported me in ways large and small during my term: my fellow board members Nicole Tsong, Mai Hoang, Athima Chansanchai, Venice Buhain, Caroline Li, Owen Lei; AAJA Executive Director Kathy Chow; Karen Johnson of Hacks & Hackers; former AAJA chapter officers Sharon Chan and Lori Matsukawa; and the leadership of The Seattle Times, especially Publisher Frank Blethen, Executive Editor David Boardman and former Executive Editor Mike Fancher.

    Being a journalist today is more challenging and entrepreneurial than ever before. Journalists must sharpen their skills, cultivate their network and have a community to stand behind them. You and your fellow members are AAJA. Together, we are charting a new course for journalism in the 21st century.

    Happy New Year!

    Sanjay Bhatt
    Seattle Chapter President

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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:
    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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