Tag Archives: AAJA
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.
Description of the award from the AAJA 2014 Convention gala program
Sharon Prill and Sharon Chan with the award.
A photo of The Seattle Times-sponsored table at the AAJA gala.
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The 2014 Executive Leadership Program is underway and we’re proud to provide $700 in financial support to AAJA Seattle member Shawn Chitnis.
Chitnis is a reporter for KREM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Spokane, covering a range of topics including city politics, business, and education. He previously worked as a reporter for KNDO-TV, the NBC affiliate in Yakima. Shawn also worked as a desk assistant for ABC News in New York and Los Angeles while studying broadcast journalism at the University of Southern California. He grew up in Lynnwood and often visits his family in Bothell.
Chitnis has been AAJA member since he was a student at USC and has already served in leadership positions for the organization, including as the first co-coordinator of the Asian American Small Market Journalists group.
This year’s Executive Leadership Program, held at Gannett Company Headquarters in McLean, Va., continues though Sunday. 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.
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Sandi Halimuddin, left, and AAJA Seattle president Mai Hoang at the AAJA Scholarship and Awards gala, which was held during the convention.
Sandi Halimuddin, 22, graduated earlier this year from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism and international relations and previously interned at The Seattle Times and Seattle Weekly. Halimuddin was the recipient of the 2013 Founders Scholarship, which covered the cost of registration and travel for the 2013 AAJA National Convention in New York. In the coming weeks, Halimuddin will return to New York in the next month for an internship at the World Policy Journal.
As part of her scholarship, Halimuddin shared her convention experience for AAJASeattle.org.
When I first heard about the AAJA Convention in New York, I was terrified. While my mentor (former AAJA National President) Sharon Chan described the event as a fun networking and learning opportunity, the thought of shamelessly self-promoting myself in front of well-established people in the journalism industry made me nervous. As a recent grad looking for an entry-level reporting job, the career fair, workshops and networking events are excellent resources, if not a bit daunting. Luckily, AAJA Seattle chapter members gave me great advice on how to make the most out of the annual convention.
First, my mentors encouraged me to come prepared. In addition to preparing an elevator pitch, resumes, business cards and a website with clips, it’s important to do your homework on the companies at the career fair. Sharon encouraged me to do research on media companies, their notable work and current job openings. Speaking with recruiters at the career fair was easier and more meaningful when I showed knowledge of the company and asked specific questions. While working the career fair may not immediately lead to a job, I found that speaking with recruiters helped me gain a better understanding of what my goals and expectations are.
Second, my mentors recommended that I meet as many people as possible. At big events such as these it’s too easy to hide in the corner, tweeting at celebrities and friends. While I had my share of awkward moments standing in the middle of the room looking for someone to talk to, I found that reaching out to people is not as frightening as it seems. Most people at networking events are genuine, friendly and eager to speak with people who are equally as passionate about journalism. Developing connections with fellow convention attendees is a good strategy to establish your presence in the industry, find mentors and learn from people you respect. It’s also comforting to have fellow journalism friends to keep in touch with throughout and after the convention.
Finally, my mentors in the AAJA Seattle chapter insisted that I follow up with recruiters, editors and fellow journalists I met during the convention. While it might be hard to stand out in such a busy and well-attended convention, a prompt and thoughtful follow-up letter or email goes a long way. Even if there are no current job opportunities, showing initiative and establishing relationships with people in the industry can be helpful in the future.
While I was initially hesitant about attending the AAJA Convention, I’m so glad I went this year. I met a lot of wonderful, helpful people at the convention and gained more confidence navigating the professional world. I also now have a more realistic understanding of the possibilities in the journalism industry. Following the AAJA Convention, I finally feel empowered and ready to take the next step in shaping my writing career by moving to New York City this month.
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As many of you know, the board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists recently voted to leave UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, which has been the umbrella of several minority journalism organizations, including AAJA.
In a statement on its website, NAHJ President Hugo Balta explains the organization’s decision:
It’s a bitter sweet decision.The board believes in the concept of UNITY, but feels the organization needs to reform to meet the new challenges minority journalists are facing in an industry that is continuously changing.
AAJA National President Paul Cheung has issued the following response to NAHJ’s decision:
While many of us are understandably reflecting on the future of UNITY, it’s important AAJA leaders and members be patient.
UNITY formed as the news media flourished in the 1990s, amid rising revenues and growing newsrooms. But those days are gone, forever changed by rapidly evolving technology and beset by a catastrophic financial meltdown. Over recent years, newsrooms have struggled. As a result, many lost jobs and some newspapers folded. It’s no surprise UNITY has also struggled. AAJA, fortunately, has weathered those headwinds by fundraising, cutting expenses and making structural changes.
The UNITY we knew in 1994 is gone. The newsroom you knew in 1994 is also gone. That’s a fact. But the same battles remain, as long as the issue of diversity remains a problem in our industry.
I personally don’t believe retreating to silos will advance our cause for greater diversity. Since July, the alliance presidents have been working on several proposals to fundamentally restructure UNITY — so we can be more nimble, flexible and financially sound. AAJA has taken a key leadership role in coming up with solutions. In the coming weeks, we hope to address these critical issues — including revisiting UNITY’s mission, finances and governance.
Our next UNITY board meeting is in December, and I will update our membership with details so that AAJA can examine what our roles should be in the future.
Your feedback will inform our work at the UNITY board meeting. Feel free to email me, your chapter presidents, board representative and AAJA-UNITY board representatives regarding your concerns and thoughts on UNITY.
Change is never easy or painless. And yes, this is very emotional for many of us who have attended UNITY conventions and value UNITY’s mission. These are especially challenging times for the cause of diversity, and we must continue to address those challenges — not only for us, but for the next generation of journalists.
Paul has also encouraged members to give their feedback this form.
In addition, I would like to extend an offer for AAJA Seattle members to contact me, as well as our national board representative Sanjay Bhatt. It is important to me that the concerns of our chapter members are heard.
You can reach me at email@example.com and Sanjay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Front row (L to R): Elyse Tan, Joella Charis Ortega, Seungkyul Joseph Park, Seungkyul Joseph Park, Ashley Walls and Holly Martinez.
Back row (L to R): AAJA Seattle board members Mai Hoang, Caroline Li and Tiffany Wan, Lori Matsukawa of host KING 5 and Steve Kipp, vice president of communications for Comcast Washington.
Several students were recognized during the Northwest Journalists of Color (NJC) Scholarship reception on June 4.
$5,000 in scholarship were presented to the four NJC scholars:
Joella Ortega discovered her passion for journalism during her junior year in high school while working on the yearbook staff. When she got to Western Washington University she quickly transformed into a full-fledged reporter. She realized she could no longer live without the rush of investigating, reporting, writing and editing: “The process of creating and publishing an article thrilled me like nothing had ever thrilled me before. I became a mad newswoman, eager to take on all aspects of this 24/7 lifestyle of living. I can make a change by using any medium available to me.” Joella’s goal is to pursue a career in new media journalism. She wants to live and breathe investigative reporting, create works that cannot be ignored, works that wake up a sleeping society to the heartbreak of far away lands – and she is confident she will not fail: “My generation will be the one to alter the face of journalism as America knows it; I know my hope for being a part of this shift is not in vain. I can make a substantial change along with my peers. I want to be a part of this new and improved system of reporting. I will succeed in my education, and I will succeed in my future career as a journalist.” She was chosen specifically for the Comcast Multimedia Scholarship, which was funded by Comcast.
Holly Martinez is currently attending Seattle University, majoring in journalism. She is the first in her family to go to college: “I want to prove to my younger siblings that they can do it too, no matter how hard it is and no matter how big their dream may be.” In addition, “The fact that I am a woman in a traditional Hispanic Catholic household also contributed
greatly to my desire to write and to be given the tremendous honor of serving as a voice for groups that are oftentimes left voiceless. I’ve learned to embrace my culture while also challenging it.” She started writing poetry in elementary school and was first published in third grade. She says as time progressed she became more interested in journalism and advocacy work. She has written for the school paper and was hired as a freelance writer for Equal Voice News after being awarded a fellowship opportunity with them. She also did internships with former Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, KOMO-TV and Comcast. Holly said she would like to be political analyst and one day run for office where she plans to use journalism to reach voters and constituents and attempt to make real changes in the community.
Charmaine Riley Is a student at Western Washington University where she is majoring in journalism and writes for the campus paper. She says for years, she thought college was a gateway to money, and that was the only reason why anyone went to college. But now she knows journalism is where she belongs: “I am studying journalism at Western Washington University because I love learning. Learning is a stereotypical answer but I am not studying journalism to learn about stereotypical topics or ideas. I want to learn by researching topics, investigating contentious issues, and telling the stories of people who
are unable to tell the stories themselves.” She says journalists may be innovative by posting on Twitter or interviewing sources from halfway around the world on Skype, but promoting new ideas to fight ignorance would be a significant and simple advancement within the industry.
Elyse Tan currently attends Western Washington University where she is majoring in Journalism and writes for the college newspaper. She is also online editor for the student publication, Klipsun Magazine. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a member of Western Washington University’s Public Relations Organization. rowing up she spent the majority of her time after school at the cash register of my mother’s restaurant with a jar for college funds. She is the first in her family to attend college. Since her first creative writing class she has been using writing as a personal and professional outlet. She is not deterred by the challenges of the industry: “I find it exciting that new technological advancements and social media have made news more accessible than ever before. Although some may suggest that print publications are dying, I have faith in the profession and know that there will always be a demand for efficient, truthful news in whatever medium readers choose to get it.”
Seungkyul Joseph Park of Highline Community College was chosen for the Founders’ Scholarship. The scholarship pays for airfare and registration to attend the annual AAJA Convention, which will be held this year in New York City. Park is currently studying communication, journalism, art history and minoring creative writing at the community college, with plans to transfer to the University of Washington. He has worked at the student-run newspaper at Highline Community College, The Thunderword since last year and became the paper’s arts editor last fall. Joseph’s passion is in fashion journalism and he jokes that in the future, he will execute a hostile takeover of Vogue, Vanity Fair, or The New Yorker. One project that that he is very proud of was when he organized a fashion editorial in honor of Referendum 74, which legalized gay marriage in Washington state. He and his friends decided to organize a photo shoot that represented gay love through the lens of fashion to complement an editorial column on why the referendum should pass. The piece was titled, “GLITTER AND BE GAY: An editorial on Referendum 74.”
Along with the NJC and Founders scholarship, the Seattle Association of Black Journalists (SABJ), a longtime NJC supporter, presented the Patricia Fisher Scholarship to Ashley Wells. Wells is a freshman at the University of Washington. She is majoring in journalism and plans to pursue a business sales certification. She writes for a newspaper for the Greek community, volunteers in the community and is active in multiple student organizations.
Along with the presentation of the scholarships, Monica Guzman, a digital life columnist for The Seattle Times and Geekwire, presented a keynote speed on how she survived and learned from her early job experiences. “Journalism is a set of carefully-managed relationships,” she said. She also explained why she was excited about the contributions of the current generation.
The Northwest of Journalists of Color scholarship and reception would not be possible without our sponsors:
Comcast came on as a sponsor for the second year in a row, this time funding one of the scholarships.
During the reception, Steve Kipp, vice president of communications for Comcast’s Washington region, spoke and explained why Comcast supported the program. Comcast has played an instrumental role not only in sponsoring this year’s Comcast multimedia sponsorship but providing valuable job experience to students, including several NJC alumni. Thank you for your support!
An already great reception was even better with delicious food from Pho Bac. The Vietnamese restaurant has several locations throughout the Seattle area.
KING 5 hosted this year’s reception. Assistant news director Cheryl Carson greeted the audience during the reception.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who attended this year’s reception. See you next year!
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