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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 Storify.com). 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, seattletimes.com (term expires in 2013)
    VP-Programs: Lauren Rabaino, associate web producer, seattletimes.com (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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    Meet the AAJA Seattle Chapter Board Candidates

    It’s time to vote for the AAJA Seattle Chapter Board officers! This year, we are voting on President, Vice President of Programs, Secretary and National Advisory Board Representative.

    Ballots will be sent to the email address filed with AAJA. It will arrive in your Inboxes on Oct. 18. Ballots are due by noon Oct. 28.


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    Chapter board elections approaching

    Hey AAJA Seattle,

    It’s time for the chapter to elect board members for 2012!

    There are four seats up for election, all of which are two-year terms, effective Jan. 1, 2012:


      Vice president, Programs


      National Board representative

    Serving on the chapter board is an important way for you to demonstrate your leadership (a key skill many employers look for), give back to this organization and support your fellow members.

    Chapter secretary Venice Buhain will oversee our elections, which will occur in mid-October. Our national office will receive the names of our 2012 chapter board members by Nov. 1.


    Who’s eligible to run and vote?

    Anyone whose 2011 membership dues are current as of Sept. 30, and is a Full Member. This means those who receive the majority of their income from or spend the majority of their work time in journalistic work (including freelance), those unemployed members between journalism jobs, or those who have left journalism but were AAJA members and journalists for five or more consecutive years. Associate, Student and Retired members are NOT eligible to run or vote.

    What is the time commitment?

    The board meets at least six times a year to discuss chapter business and plan our two marquee events: Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship Reception (early June) and the Lunar New Year Banquet & Silent Auction (late January/early February). Board members are expected to participate in these meetings (generally an hour or two) and these two events.

    What are you looking for in board members?

    Each board seat has distinct responsibilities, which makes it easier for the group to delegate tasks and for individuals to figure out what fits their skills and talents. Of course, the board can decide to change these duties to fit the needs of the group and the chapter.

      President: This person is responsible for the overall health of the chapter and represents the chapter at the National Convention and in the Seattle community. Typical duties: Facilitating board meetings, managing relationships with other organizations, and speaking on AAJA Seattle’s behalf in the community.

      Vice president, Programs: This person is responsible for the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship outreach efforts, judging and reception.

      Vice president, Events (seat open in 2013): This person is responsible for the Lunar New Year Banquet & Silent Auction. This person also could organize the summer BBQ, social outings and happy-hour mixers.

      Secretary: This person is responsible for the chapter board’s official minutes and elections. This person also could be the group’s social media manager.

      Treasurer (seat open in 2013): This person is responsible for managing the chapter’s finances and complying with National’s rules on bookkeeping. This is the only board position that can be held by someone other than a Full Member, i.e. Associate or Retired Members.

      National Board Representative: This person is responsible for soliciting input from the local board on issues coming to a vote before the National board and reporting back to the local board. This person is required to represent the chapter at the National Convention.

    We will be holding a chapter mixer sometime in the next month. Board members will be there if you want to ask them questions about serving on the board or the elections process.

    Oct. 12 is the filing deadline to register your interest in running for a chapter board seat. Send an email to chapter Secretary Venice Buhain, including your name, job title, company and a brief statement (no more than 250 words) on why you’re running.

    Oct. 27 is the deadline for casting your ballots. As in previous elections, you’ll most likely receive a ballot electronically.

    If you have any questions, send an email to aajaseattle@gmail.com with “2012 chapter elections” in the subject line. Or you can contact one of the board officers directly. Thanks!

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    AAJA Seattle student summer updates

    In today’s recovering job market, I know firsthand as a recent graduate how competitive the news industry has been. So it is great to hear how fellow AAJA Seattle student members are still able to land opportunities in journalism.

    Rachel Solomon is a print reporter turned radio broadcast journalist who was recently hired as a morning news producer for 97.3 KIRO FM.

    Solomon received a Bachelor’s in Communication from the University of Washington in June where she spent time writing for the college’s student newspaper, The Daily. Her interest in radio led Solomon to produce a monthly This American Life-inspired radio podcat focusing on campus-life.

    Her work has ended up in The Seattle Times, National Native News, KUOW, KPLU and KPBCS.

    Listen to episodes of Solomon’s program “The Bark & The Bite” online.

    Joanna Nolasco snagged an internship this summer at The Oregonian covering Washington County news after spending six months interning for The Seattle Times.

    Nolasco was the recipient of the 2011 Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship. The NJC scholarship program awards students in Washington state demonstrating talent and commitment in journalism.

    She has also interned for The Cambodia Daily in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in the summer of 2010.

    Nolasco studies Journalism and Political Science at the University of Washington and is expected to graduate in 2012.

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    AAJA Seattle summer picnic on Saturday

    Posted on by admin

    Come celebrate the summer (what’s left of it) this Saturday at Lincoln Park in West Seattle. The picnic starts at noon and runs the afternoon.

    VP of Events Caroline Li is organizing this event.

    Lincoln Park, shelter 2 area tables 23-26 (but we don’t have the shelter, just the grill that is near the tables) See map, http://www.seattle.gov/parks/_images/maps/picnics/Lincoln1-2.pdf

    Please jot it down on this Google Docs.

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