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AAJA Seattle president update: Maternity leave and upcoming events.

Mai preggo

photo by Ava Van

 

Dear AAJA Seattle members and supporters,

As I write this, I am eagerly awaiting the birth of my  first child. This will be a quite an exciting and hectic time for my husband and I . As part of this transition, I will be on maternity leave through Labor Day. During this period, I will be delegating many of my duties to the members of my board and limiting my workload with the chapter.

This note will detail how to best reach the chapter during this time and a rundown of some great events our chapter has planned for this summer.

If you need to reach the chapter, please send an email to aajaseattle@gmail.com. Please address the email to Chapter Secretary Samantha Pak. She will coordinate any necessary response and action.

Here’s what on tap for AAJA Seattle for the next few months:

  • AAJA Seattle’s next Dim Sum Saturday event is June 27 at New Hong Kong Restaurant, 900 South Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98104. This is a fun and casual way to catch up with fellow members and hear what is happening with our chapter.
  • The chapter is planning our Chefs Showcase event, which will be on August 10. We are bringing back the event for a second year after a successful launch last year. We certainly hope you will join us. More importantly, this kind of event requires a lot of hands, and we are also seeking volunteers. Please contact vice president of events Natasha Chen at natashaychen@gmail.com for details or if you’re interested in volunteering.
  • The AAJA National Convention in San Francisco will be held August 12-15 at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco. Our chapter will be well represented though a variety of roles at the convention. You can check out the full schedule here and register here. The pre-convention member rate of $325 ($150 for students) ) is good until the end of the month.
  • Our annual chapter picnic is planned for August 29 at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.  This is a great time to catch up with members, enjoy delicious food and the nice water views. Join us!
  • Our 30th Anniversary activities will continue. Check the 30th Anniversary page for the latest. In the meanwhile, please save the date for our anniversary gala: November 14, 2015.
  • Finally, want a chance to win free tickets to either the Chefs Showcase or the 30th Anniversary Gala? AAJA Seattle will be giving away two tickets for each event for a member who renews or joins AAJA before the end of this month, June 30.

I want to send a huge thank you to my board for their support while I go through this major life transition. I also want to emphasize that because of their effort, the chapter will be in good hands. While my workload will be limited, I hope to be present at chapter events (possibly with the new baby), so I hope to see you all there!

Sincerely,

Mai Hoang, AAJA Seattle president

 

 

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AAJA Seattle president Mai Hoang: 2014 was great; now looking forward to 2015

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AAJA Seattle members at the Northwest Journalist of Color reception. From Left: Tiffany Wan, Samantha Pak, Caroline Li, Chris Casquejo, Mai Hoang, Peter Sessum, Thanh Tan, Lori Matsukawa and Venice Buhain. Photo courtesy of Lori Matsukawa. 

Dear AAJA Seattle members,

I am honored to have served as AAJA Seattle president in 2014. For me, it was a year where I really could fully embrace my role. In 2013, I was transitioning in the role and learning the ropes. This year, I feel I had the opportunity to move the chapter forward.

Our chapter, through our events, reached a wide variety of people this year. We got a lot done and I’m proud of all the hard work that our board and members put in.

Some highlights:

  • In March, we held a media access workshop for nonprofit organizations at The Seattle Times. The workshop was funded through a generous grant from the Kellogg Foundation. Venice Buhain, longtime AAJA Seattle member, coordinated the event, which attracted more than 70 people. 
  • In May, AAJA Seattle awarded four college students with college scholarships through our Northwest Journalists of Color program. We held a reception at The Seattle Times with our longtime partner, the  Seattle Association of Black Journalists. Our chapter also awarded a scholarship for Nicole Gaddie, a graduate of Seattle University, to attend the 2015 National Convention, which proved to be a valuable experience. This year’s program was coordinated by Caroline Li, AAJA Seattle’s vice president of programs.
  • Also in May, AAJA Seattle founder Lori Matsukawa was recognized for her service and work in journalism when the Northwest Chapter of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences inducted her into its prestigious Silver Circle. AAJA members from around the world pooled in money for a program ad to congratulate Lori.
  • In June, a team of AAJA Seattle members raised more than $1,000 for Walk For Rice, the annual fundraiser for the Asian Counseling and Referral Service. Funds went toward the organization’s food bank, which provides cultural-specific foods to people in need. The AAJA Seattle team was Janet Tu, Tiffany Wan, Chris Casquejo, Mai Hoang and Samantha Pak
  • In August, Venice Buhain, Thanh Tan,  and Mai Hoang organized the chapter’s first Chefs Showcase. The event attracted more than 120 professionals to the beautiful Columbia Tower Club. There, attendees enjoyed delicious food and watch demonstrations from some of Seattle’s top chefs. The event also raised thousands of dollars for the chapter.
  • Also in August, longtime AAJA Seattle support and Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen received the Leadership in Diversity Award from the national AAJA organization.
  • Also in August, with the encouragement (and generous match) of long-time member Danny O’Neil, AAJA Seattle members raised $1,000 for Power of One. which funded many of AAJA national programs. AAJA Seattle’s efforts also helped AAJA reached a national goal of $15,000.
  • In December, AAJA Seattle teamed up with the Western Washington SPJ Chapter to hold our annual Holiday Scoop event. Caroline Li worked with SPJ board member (and former AAJA Seattle board member) Athima Chansanchai on the event. The event served as a fundraiser for SPJ and AAJA Seattle’s scholarship programs.

The success of many of these events were possible thanks to our generous sponsors. I can not thank these companies and organizations enough for their ongoing support. So here’s another thank you to the following for their support in 2014: Kellogg Foundation, KING 5, Columbia Tower Club, PR BusinessWire, The Seattle Times, Tack Local, The Seattle Globalist, Davis Wright and Tremaine. 

Now it’s time to say thank you to our departing board members and welcome our incoming board members. I think most of us will agree that Sanjay Bhatt is due for a break! Sanjay, a reporter for The Seattle Times, has served on the AAJA board for the last eight years, first as chapter president and most recently as our National Board representative. I could probably fill several blog entries on all the great things Sanjay did while he served on our board. We will miss him, but we are happy about his new pursuits including raising a beautiful baby girl with wife Pooja and heading up the new Investigative Reporters and Editors group in Seattle.

Caroline Li has served on the AAJA Seattle board since 2010, first as Vice President of Events and more recently as Vice President of Programs. Caroline is passionate about journalism and that showed in her efforts organizing various programs for our chapter, such as our Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship program. Li is stepping down from the position to focus on a very busy schedule that includes managing several music artists and her job as community manager for Tack Local, a media technology startup. Li plans to continue to help out when she can, which we’re grateful for!

Tiffany Wan served as our Vice President of Events for the last two years. Tiffany is a former Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship winner and she has given back in a large way through her work with AAJA Seattle. She worked tirelessly to pull off several big events including our Lunar New Year banquet and auction, chapter picnic and the Northwest Journalists of Color reception.

While we’re sad to say goodbye to some great people, I’m excited to work with some new folks who will serve on our board this year.

Our new National Board representative actually is no stranger to AAJA Seattle. Venice Buhain, editor for The Seattle Globalist and a reporter with TVW, served on the AAJA Seattle board from 2008-2011 as secretary. Though she was not on the board for a few years, she has continue to be active with the chapter. In 2014, she was the lead coordinator of our monthly Dim Sum Saturday event. She also did the heavy lifting on our media access workshop and chef’s showcase event.

Natasha Chen brings some fresh new blood to the board as our new Vice President of Events. Natasha came to Seattle in 2013 to work as a reporter for KIRO-TV. When she’s not working, she’s a party organizing extraordinaire and awesome cupcake baker, which essentially makes her perfect for this job! And she’s already hit the ground running planning our upcoming Lunar New Year banquet.

Sarah Wallace will serve as chapter treasurer for a new two-year term after being appointed to the position in 2014. Sarah currently works as a freelance reporter and editor in the Bellingham area. Sarah has been an active member of AAJA for many years and have helped out in various capacities before joining in the board.

Samantha Pak  will continue as chapter secretary in 2015, serving the second-year of her term. She joined the board in 2012. Sammi is great at making sure members are updated on everything from upcoming events to job opportunities and always lends a helping hand when needed.

Now it’s time to look forward. 2015 is not only a new year, but also the 30th anniversary of AAJA Seattle!

I will continue to serve as president through this year and would love your feedback on how AAJA Seattle can best serve you. In addition, if you are interested in helping out with the chapter in any way, we want to hear from you.

And here’s one opportunity: AAJA Seattle is  seeking a new Vice President of Programs. This is a key position for our chapter. Duties including coordinating our marquee scholarship program, the Northwest Journalists of Color. The person in this position has the opportunity to develop programs that reach our diverse chapter base.

Now here’s what’s coming up for the first part of this year

  • If you haven’t already, please renew your AAJA membership! We’ll be making calls to remind you, but if you want to go ahead and renew, head over to the AAJA members page.
  • AAJA and SPJ will be welcoming the new Seattle-based group of the Investigative Reporters and Editors in a fun mixer on Jan. 21.
  • On Jan. 31, we’ll be holding our first Dim Sum Saturday of the year. This is a casual and fun event. If you are new to the chapter or AAJA, this is a great way to get acquainted with fellow members. More details are here.
  • AAJA Seattle will hold its annual Lunar New Year banquet and silent auction on Feb. 21 at China Harbor Restaurant in Seattle. More details are coming. We hope you can join us. If you are interested in helping out with either the banquet or the auction, please contact Natasha (for the banquet) or me (for the silent auction).
  • The AAJA Seattle board will hold a retreat the next day, Feb. 22. If you have anything you would like us to consider during the retreat, please let us know.

I’m looking forward to a great year and I hope to see many of you at AAJA Seattle events throughout the year. Again, please feel to contact me at 509-834-0272 or at maisurvey@gmail.com to give your thoughts or feedback!

Onward,

 

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Mai Hoang, AAJA Seattle president

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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