Tag Archives: career

AAJA Seattle member Shawn Chitnis answers questions on Asian American Small Market Broadcast Journalists


Shawn Chitnis, co-cordinator of the Asian American Small Market Broadcast Journalists group, with Lori Matsukawa, AAJA Seattle chapter founder and KING 5 anchor, at the AAJA National Convention in Boston. (Photo submitted by Shawn Chitnis)

On Nov. 1, AAJA launched the Asian American Small Market Broadcast Journalists (AASMBJ) group. The group, which will be advised by George Kiriyama, AAJA’s vice president for broadcast and a reporter for NBC Bay Area, was created to provide support and guidance for AAJA members who are in their first job, either at a small media market or in an entry-level position at a larger media market.

AAJA Seattle member Shawn Chitnis is serving as co-coordinator for the group. Chitnis, 23, is currently a reporter for KNDO-TV in Yakima. He is a 2008 graduate of the University of Southern California and a Seattle area native. Before coming to KNDO, he spent several summers working on the assignment desk for ABC News in Los Angeles and New York.

Chitnis met with fellow Yakima reporter and AAJA Seattle member Mai Hoang recently to answer questions about the group.

Q: Why did you want to get involved?

I am in a small market, so I can certainly empathize with the struggles of being in that situation. I believe very strongly in AAJA. I’ve been a member for two years, since I was a senior in college. In the limited time I’ve been a part of it, I feel I got a lot out of it and been able to connect with amazing people. (I want to do) anything I can to give back to the organization, and this is a first step toward that.

It’s very difficult to be in a small market in general. I think those who are members of AAJA may have additional challenges because they might be from larger cities and are adjusting to a smaller town or a part of a country they’re not familiar with and, honestly, a community that isn’t as exposed to Asian Americans as where they’re from. Take my situation, for example, (moving from) Seattle to Yakima. They’re both relatively diverse areas, but understanding of Asian culture is substantially different.

Q: What are some things from your small market broadcast journalism experience that you will share with the group?

The first thing is understanding what is needed in a smaller market and what small market news directors and small market TV stations are looking for. My experience was fairly exclusive to large markets, having grown up in Seattle, going to school in LA and interning in those (larger) markets. So perhaps I wasn’t properly exposed and didn’t know what small market news looked like and what was going to be expected of me in a small market.

Feedback and guidance is very difficult to get at any stage in your career, forget about being in a small market. Once you land that job, which in itself is a difficult step, you have to make sure you have the proper network to give you the right critique so that you are advancing; that you are improving. And so whatever your next goal may be – it might be staying in that small market and taking on a larger responsibility or it might be moving to a larger market – you need to have someone or a group of people who can help you do that.

Q: Tell me about your duties as the group’s co-coordinator.

Both Maria (Hechanova, a reporter and producer for KYMA in Yuma, Ariz.) and I, the two co-coordinators, have been tasked to lead the organization. We’re figuring out our social media presence. We’re trying to figure out how to have a show at AAJA-LA in 2010 and we are really working with our peers to figure out what is needed to make AASMBJ a success.

What’s neat about our situation is that I’m a year in working for a small market and Maria is a few weeks, maybe a month, into it. We’re people who can actively benefit from AASMBJ. We’re all going to be learning from each other and seeking each others help.

Q: How will AASMBJ integrate into the main AAJA group?

First of all, we’re a sub-group of AAJA and AAJA is what makes this organization alive. Our advisor is AAJA’s vice president for broadcast. Our associate advisors are active in AAJA and are in mid- to large-size markets so AAJA surrounds us and everything we do will be an extension of AAJA.

We’re working to figure out how we’re going to have a presence at the (AAJA National) Convention in 2010. Maybe it will be a mixer, maybe it will be a panel.

We have folks in small markets throughout the country. When we all come together for our convention, we want people to know that there is a place you can go during that time to connect with those who are going through the same things.

Q: How do you join the group?

We have a created a Facebook group (it can be found by searching for AASMBJ on the social networking site), which is going to be the core of AASMBJ. That is where we will do our primary order of business – putting out information, offering job postings, offering feedback and helping other members of AASMBJ connect with their peers. We’re also on Twitter right now. Twitter will keep you up-to-date and keep you in the loop, but we’ll push you to Facebook.

If you really want to be involved in AASMBJ, you have to be an active AAJA member, so you can join the Facebook group. And from there, we’ll do everything we can help connect people, create feedback, create forums and create a sense of community.

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AAJA Seattle member Marian Liu writes on AAJA leadership program


[photo from AAJA.org]

Marian Liu, arts and entertainment reporter at The Seattle Times, shared her experience with AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program (ELP) in an article posted on the National AAJA Web site.

Liu was the 2009 recipient of the AAJA/Newspaper Association of American Foundation Minority Fellowship, which covered her expenses for the ELP program, which looks at how Asian American and Pacific Islander values relate to high-level decision-making processes and leadership development.

Liu writes about why she became a journalist, what drew her to the ELP program and how the program increased her confidence and leadership skills.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

But after years in the industry, I ran into the same walls as those before me. Managers spoke about my “potential,” yet I was never able to realize this “potential.” But, the Executive Leadership Program provided me the blueprint to gain that footing to climb upwards.

In August,  Liu directed the first fully multimedia-enabled student project at the AAJA National Convention in Boston. This year’s AAJA Voices staff covered the convention through a variety of media platforms.

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Apply by October 30 for Web 2.0 training at UC Berkeley

The Knight Digital Media Center, located at the University of California, Berkeley is still accepting applications from mid-career journalists interested in fellowships for its Web 2.0 Training for Journalists, which will be held on December 14-18, 2009; and February 22-26, 2010.

There will be 20 fellowships per workshop. Applications to apply for either workshop is due Oct. 30.

The workshop is open to professional print, radio, broadcast and online journalists who want to develop Web 2.0 technology and techniques to support their publication`s Internet publishing effort. Fellowships include lodging, meals and instruction. All equipment is provided. Cost of travel to the workshop must be paid by the applicant’s news organization.

During five days of intense, hands-on instruction the fellows selected for the Web 2.0 training will:

• Blog breaking news using Twitter.
• Post photos in interactive news maps.
• Produce and publish photo galleries and audio slideshows.
• Create and edit videos with Final Cut Pro
• Incorporate user-generated content in breaking news stories.
• Use Facebook and publication widgets for news distribution.
• Learn technical specifics for optimizing breaking news rankings in Google.

An application form and instructions are available on the Knight Center’s Web site.
For questions, please contact Alisha Diego Klatt, program specialist, at kdmcinfo@journalism.berkeley.edu or (510) 642-3892.

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Reboot Your Career Workshop – March 13, 2009

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Application deadline is FRIDAY, March 6.

This coaching session is limited to 10 participants and will be led by former seattletimes.com senior producer Doug Kim, who is now managing editor of Microsoft Office Online.

From Doug: During this intensive workshop on repositioning yourself for a new career, we’ll assess goals, talk about how to market your skills to new industries and start working on revamping resumes. When we’re done, you’ll emerge with a new, focused strategy for the next
phase of your career. Bring a current resume and a laptop, and be prepared to share your career goals with your fellow participants. (What happens in the workshop stays in the workshop.) We’ll also have a guest appearance by Microsoft content management executive Jessica Reading.

This kind of intense coaching routinely costs $400. AAJA Seattle will offer this on a deeply discounted basis: $25 to members laid off in the past three months (or at imminent risk, like Seattle P-I members) and $40 to other members. This is a service for AAJA members only. We will make this available on a first-come, first-serve basis and will have coffee and pastries on site.

Preregistration is required. Please check with National if you are unsure about whether your membership is current. The phone number for AAJA National is (415) 346-2051.

To apply for the workshop, send your resume to aajaseattle@gmail.com with “Reboot Your Career” in the subject line and drop off your check made payable to “AAJA” in a sealed envelope at The Seattle Times (attention: Nicole Tsong, AAJA chapter treasurer). The address is 1120 John St, Seattle, WA 98109.

You will be sent confirmation once your payment is received as well as details on the session’s location.

Act today! These 10 slots are filling up fast!

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RSVP now for Jan. 31 Career Counseling Workshop!

On Saturday, Jan. 31, from 8:30 am to 3 pm, AAJA Seattle will hold a Career Development Workshop at the University of Washington. This workshop will feature news entrepreneurs and new media journalists describing what they do and their tips for thriving in the future.

This event is FREE to all journalists, although AAJA members will get priority. You MUST RSVP to this event due to limited seating. To RSVP, go to AAJA Seattle’s Facebook page or if you aren’t on Facebook, email
me at sbhatt@seattletimes.com.

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