Tag Archives: Members

Celebrate the holidays at all-media party, Dec. 17

The first all-media holiday party is being held on Dec. 17 at Nectar Lounge in Fremont! Reconnect with your friends working in print, television, radio and web journalism. All Puget Sound-based newsrooms staffers and former staffers invited.

Buy your tickets today!

Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the door.

All the proceeds benefit the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship administered by our AAJA Seattle chapter. Since 1985, the NJC scholarship has awarded grants to more than 100 outstanding young journalists. Alumni have gone on to work for The Seattle Times, Seattle magazine, The Los Angeles Times, CBS News, and Sony Pictures, among other places.

The party is hosted by David Boardman, executive editor of The Seattle Times; Sharon Chan, technology reporter at The Times; and Candace Heckman, senior editor for Nyhus Communications.

KING5’s Lori Matsukawa and KIRO Radio’s Bill Radke will emcee. There will be a live DJ and heavy appetizers. Cocktail attire recommended.

Posted in Events, Members, News, Programs | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Celebrate the holidays at all-media party, Dec. 17

Run for chapter board! Deadline is Friday

It’s election time, and it’s another chance for AAJA Seattle members to make a big difference!

Seattle chapter officers meet about once every two months, and it’s a chance to be involved directly building our community through workshops, the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship and, of course, the annual Lunar New Year Banquet.

Our chapter board works as a team, and we support each other. These roles require a time commitment, but as any board member will tell you, the commitment is manageable. We all feel a great satisfaction in the chapter’s membership growth (up 25% over last year). Students and professionals see value in what we do — and now it’s your chance to contribute your talents, network and insights to our chapter!

Positions up for election this year are:

Vice president for member programs: This person takes the lead on Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship and workshops. This is an interim one-year position. Must be a full member.

Vice president for events: This person takes the lead on Lunar New Year Banquet & Silent Auction and networking events. This is a two-year term. Must be a full member.

Treasurer: This person is responsible for managing the chapter’s finances, processing donations and filing reports with National. This is a two-year term. Must be a full or associate member.

The deadline to nominate yourself or another person is this Friday, Oct. 15.

Contact Venice Buhain at venicebuhain[at]gmail.com for more information or to make a nomination. You can also contact Sanjay Bhatt, chapter president, at sbhatt[at]seattletimes.com.

After nominating deadline has passed and candidates’ eligibility is confirmed, the chapter Secretary will send members their ballot via e-mail using Survey Monkey.

Chapter members must cast their votes by Oct. 29. The chapter will report the names of newly elected officers to National by Nov. 4.

Posted in Members, News | Tagged , | Comments Off on Run for chapter board! Deadline is Friday

Calling all AAJA Seattle entrepreneurs!

Posted on by sbhatt

Have you launched your own company recently? Do you have a story to share about your media company?

Our AAJA Seattle membership has many talents, and more and more of them are pursuing their passions as a business. These entrepreneurs are working day and night, seven days a week, to get their ventures off the ground and achieve profitability.

It’s time for them to be recognized for taking a risk and trying to create a new product, service or adventure they can call their own.

Let’s meet three of them.

Calvin Tang, AtlasOmega

Calvin founded social media news web site Newsvine.com in 2005. Two years later, MSNBC bought Newsvine for an undisclosed sum, marking its first acquisition ever. He continued to serve as chief operating officer of Newsvine for the next three years.

From 2005 to 2010, Newsvine grew to over 4 million users, 15 million monthly pageviews and came to power virtually all of interactive features across the MSNBC Digital Network family of brands, including properties such as the NBC Nightly News, TODAY Show and The Rachel Maddow Show.

He also is founder of the Northwest Dive Club, a passion that turned into his next career move.

Earlier this year Calvin left MSNBC to launch AtlasOmega.

Here’s how the site describes its value:

“As we enter the virtual age of ‘the real-time web,’ where stories are packaged into successfully smaller sound-byte sized units, repurposed and republished with little value added – AtlasOmega swims against that current, by producing original, feature quality stories and images about the wildest and least known parts of the world.”

“All of our explorers and adventurers spend enormous amounts of time and energy in the nitty-gritty details of preparation, equipment selection, technique and safety. Yet, these critical aspects are oftentimes never known by the person who enjoys the final result, be it an in-depth story about a pioneering expedition or a stunning set of images that bring to life a lesser known part of the world.”

“AtlasOmega tells the story behind the story, and sets out to answer the question, ‘How did they do that?'”


Caroline Li, EarthWalkers

Caroline is founder of social media travel web site Earthwalkersmag.com and its print edition, Earthwalkers Magazine. She is also vice president of events for AAJA Seattle, freelances stories and works for TD Wang Advertising Group, a full-service marketing agency that helps companies reach the Asian-American market.

Here’s what Caroline says about her venture:

“I started Earthwalkers because of my love for journalism, travel and international issues. It’s also my answer/vision to next generation journalism.”

“Earthwalkers Magazine and the Earthwalker Community were created so that travelers could make the most out of their travel experiences and continue learning when not traveling. Earthwalkers’ mission is to educate and inform readers about the world through in-depth features and first person stories from the Earthwalker Community. We’re not only building a network for travelers, but a magazine that writers and local bloggers can call their own.”

“The website is a hybrid of user generated content and social network where members are encouraged to share their appreciation for travel by sharing their stories, joining groups and being available to other like-minded travelers around the world.”

“The content on the Earthwalkers website and in the print edition is written by members of the social network. Most stories are written by Earthwalkers that are local bloggers and travel writers while more in-depth features are written by freelance journalists and our Common Language Project team.”

“Through our travels and the people we meet, we hope to unravel the wonders, the forgotten, the shadows, the beauty and the truth about our world. We believe that the world is about more than trade negotiations, poverty and luxury vacationing, but full of people just like you and me that are celebrating, surfing or struggling through life – because in the end, we are all just passing through.”

Who does Caroline expect will use her site?

Journalists & Bloggers: Earthwalkers Magazine is a platform that bloggers, journalists and travelers can use to promote their writing, photography and video. Your user profile is your writing resume/history with Earthwalkers. Writers also have the opportunity to be published in the print edition of Earthwalkers, receive paid writing assignments, and join our Earthwalkers core reporting team on stories around the world.

Like-minded Travelers: So you’re an Earthwalker. You’re going to visit another country but you don’t know anyone there. You don’t want to do the typical toursist thing while you’re there. Get on Earthwalkers, search for other Earthwalkers around the world and connect with them to get insights, advice or even plan to meet up.

The Curious Learner: Just browsing? The stories on Earthwalkers are insightful, informative and inspiring. Regardless if you are traveling or not, it’s important to be informed about world issues.


Christine Chen, Chen Communications

CEO, Chen Communications

Christine is founder of Chen Communications and frequently requested moderator of business and community events.

Christine is an 18-year veteran of broadcast journalism, launching shows on FOX and PBS in Seattle. She launched her marketing consulting group in January 2007 and has built an impressive list of clients in a relatively short time, including Microsoft. She was a speaker at the 2010 AAJA National Convention in Los Angeles.

“It’s more important than ever to tell an engaging story, define relevance and pick the right places to share that story,” according to her site.

Christine is in great demand as a moderator of community events. In October 2009, she moderated TechFlash LIVE: Women in Tech, an event that brought together a who’s who of women in technology.

And this past August, Christine moderated the Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network Event on the Eastside, an event that drew more than 300 people. The panelists included Kirk Nelson, Washington President of Qwest Communications; Bob Donegan, President of Ivar’s; and Anne Fennessy, Partner at Cocker Fennessy.

Christine says her marketing communications consulting firm specializes in connecting companies and communities for business through strategic thinking, messaging and outreach.

The firm offers these consulting services:

    * product and service key messaging/positioning
    * presentations and media training
    * content production for web, print and video
    * social media messaging/strategy/tactics
    * traditional PR strategy/pitching.

What differentiates her firm from other PR/MarCom consultants?

According to Chen, her firm “fuses traditional and new media approaches at a senior level, with an editorial eye and unique perspective on branding. Practical experience and tactical execution power a virtual team that is called on for projects, as needed, keeping overhead down and passing the savings on to the client. We are able to work with C-level executives as well as larger teams, as an outsourced service provider or as integrative team members.”

She’s also the creator of the blog xboxbride, which catalogs what happens when a non-video gamer weds an avid video gamer.


I’d like to have AAJA Seattle host a workshop in the not-too-distant future on entrepreneurship.

We led the way in January 2009 by holding the Choppy Waters workshop at the University of Washington in association with its Communication department.

And several of you have joined startups in our area, like Patch.com. We want to hear about your experiences too. Send your story to us.

If you would like to become more involved in new experiments in journalism, you can!

AAJA Seattle participates in Journalism That Matters, which meets once a month to discuss current startup ideas in the region and to support their leaders. If you’d like to participate in JTM, please email me at sbhatt[at]seattletimes.com.

Posted in Members, News, Students, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Calling all AAJA Seattle entrepreneurs!

AAJA Seattle student member: AAJA Convention gave feeling of “renewed hope” in journalism

NJC Scholars with Bill Dinh

[Mary Pauline Diaz, far left, with fellow Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship winners Katelin Chow and Peter Sessum and AAJA co-founder Bill Sing during the 2010 AAJA National Convention in Los Angeles.]

Mary Pauline Diaz, a 2010 Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship winner, spent her summer writing for the Seattle Weekly. As a recipient of AAJA Seattle’s Founders Scholarship, Diaz she also was able to attend the 2010 AAJA National Convention in Los Angeles in August. As AAJA Seattle’s student members return to school, Diaz, a junior at Seattle University, shares why she returns with a renewed confidence in her career path.

It’s easy to feel daunted and overwhelmed by the changing state of the journalism, especially at this point in time. But at the AAJA National Convention, the language and the feeling definitely exuded a renewed hope. As a nervous convention first-timer and forward-minded student, it was refreshing to be around so many journalists who were  excited about the future of journalism, who had enough passion to propel themselves past hurdles or who were gearing up for the hurdles they were facing: unemployment for seasoned vets, first forays into a fickle field for students and recent grads and the utter volatility of the industry for everyone.

And that’s not the only good news. The good news (and I think this is good news) is that journalism as we know it is being turned on its head. I jotted down a few quotes from some convention workshops that totally threw me for a loop, but they indicate exactly how journalism itself is being redefined and regenerated.

Get excited. The time in front of us is the perfect time to experiment, reexamine our roles and position yourself for the upper hand in the market.

“New media, digital media, perhaps even journalism don’t really apply as terms for what I do.” – John Bracken, Director of New Media at The Knight Foundation
Let go of those traditional conceptions of your job description. Regardless of what Bracken himself does, every journalist has to face the transitioning ambiguity of what journalism is, what media is and what audiences consider their sources of information.

“Audio is really a visual medium.” – Sora Newman, Senior Trainer at NPR
Though every format and every story is unique, the richest part of a converging media market is indeed the convergence. It’s not just about the parts sitting beside each other but the way they meld and speak to each other. Newman and the others on the Audio Storytelling for Print Journalists panel challenged participants to look beyond the verbal portion of audio stories and to capture the ambient sounds and bits that paint that “picture” for the listener.

“Content is king, but collaboration is queen. If you think of a chessboard, the king is the most important, but, let’s be honest, the queen is most powerful.” – David Cohn, Spot.us
The most hopeful thing to hear over and over again at the convention was the call to collaborate, a particular theme of the hyperlocal news panel featuring Cohn. Especially as citizen journalism grows and culture’s demand for transparency and immediacy grows, the spirit of collaboration not only grows in importance but in creativity. Spot.us, for instance, uses a unique model of collaborative funding — freelancers can pitch stories, and community members can pitch in the cash.

“It’s not about what the staff is doing. It’s about what the reader is experiencing.” – Wasim Ahmad, Multimedia Journalist and Assistant Professor at Stonybrook University
So often we get caught up in what all of this change means for our jobs and our futures, but journalists should really be mindful of what the changing media landscape means for the audience — not only in how it will change the way people receive information but also the way people interact with information and what they choose to do with it.

“The business of journalism is the business of relationships.” – Raja Abdulrahim, Staff Writer at Los Angeles Times
“You’re not just a journalist. You’re a human being.” – Eiji Yamashita

I put these two together because they pull at a similar issue. So often do we, in the pressure to remain objective, lose sight of the communities and people who are affected the most. It’s not impossible to be both empathetic and fair, and perhaps empathy is intrinsic to justice. Our work as journalists are strengthened by nurturing relationships and trust with the people around us.

“This is not news in one point in time. I want to tell a story with an arc.” – Christopher Wong, Filmmaker of Whatever It Takes
Especially with tools like Twitter, there’s a lot of hype around up-to-the-minute bites (or bytes) of news, quick snippets of information. And the reality is, there’s definitely a demand for that in this fast-paced world. Yet as we reimagine different ways to make the news, we gain more opportunities to harness the power of a compelling story, something that isn’t just informative in an intellectual and utilitarian sense but something that speaks to the bigger picture.

Posted in Convention, Multimedia, Students | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on AAJA Seattle student member: AAJA Convention gave feeling of “renewed hope” in journalism

Frank Blethen, Seattle Times Co. receive James Madison Award


Frank Blethen, publisher of The Seattle Times, accepted the James Madison Award on behalf of The Seattle Times Co. on Friday from the Washington Coalition for Open Government. WCOG gives the award annually to an individual or organization whose long-term commitment to the cause of open government has been demonstrated through exemplary words or deeds. Former winners include Denny Heck and Stan Marshburn, founders of TVW, and James Andersen, former chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

Blethen is a long-time supporter of diversity in newsrooms and the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship. He is an AAJA Gold Member. AAJA members Sharon Chan, Candace Heckman, Judy Hsu and myself attended WCOG’s breakfast to show our support.

Here is the text of his speech:

I am honored to accept the James Madison Award for The Seattle Times and for our family of newspapers from Seattle to Issaquah, Yakima and Walla Walla.

As Seattle Times publisher, it has been my privilege to serve for three decades as the instrument of the Blethen family and of the wonderful journalists at The Times.

Good journalism, including the pursuit of all aspects of openness and transparency, is hard and often lonely work.

It’s time consuming.

It’s costly.

It engenders hostility and enmity from powerful individuals and organizations.

I know only too well that good ownership, like the Blethen family, pays a dear price – financially and personally – in the pursuit of mission.

When the powerful and wealthy are permitted to operate without scrutiny and without accountability we become a nation whose government and economy are run by secretive elites.

We become a nation of haves and have nots.

Once the majority of citizens no longer believe in the “American Dream” they have no vested interest in perpetuating the existing form of government or the existing form of the economy.

After 230 years, America’s self-government experiment is, in historical terms, on life support.

For many reasons these are dangerous days for our nation.
One of the root reasons is that we have lost our popular independent press.

60 years ago noted journalist Walter Lippman said:

“… there is, I believe, a fundamental reason why the
American press is strong enough to remain free. That
reason is that the American newspapers, large and small,
and without exception, belong to a town, a city, at the
most to a region.”

“The secret of a truly free press is that it should consist of many newspapers decentralized in their ownership and their management, and dependent for their support upon the communities where they are
written, where they are edited and where they are read.”

“There is safety in numbers, and in diversity, and in being
spread out, and in having deep roots in many places. Only in variety is there freedom.”

Today, rather than preserve our nation’s system of independent newspapers providing robust localism and a wide variety of voices we have come under the control of monolithic corporate ownership.

For the most part, they have turned our Watchdog into their Lapdog, leaving us in a dangerous vacuum of too many untold stories, too little scrutiny, and too little transparency.

Quite literally, our newspapers and broadcast houses, our phones, our cable, our satellite dishes and the Internet have been co-opted by a handful of powerful financial mercenaries.

Despite the proliferation of new communication and social tools, almost all the substantive news and information necessary for self-government and community originates in our newspaper newsrooms.

And despite the “myths” out there, the newspaper business is viable and profitable with virtually all newspapers making money, even in the middle of this terrible economic RESET.

Indeed, readership is strong and it’s the place the public values the content enough to pay for it – to the tune of $10 billion a year.

We do not have a readership or business model problem – what we have is an ownership and control problem.

Few realize that 80% of newspaper revenue is now controlled by a handful of financially-driven corporations.

Or, that 75% of all internet advertising is now controlled by only four companies.

Here in Washington State there are only four local daily newspaper owners left.

The Seattle Times, which is now the second largest newspaper on the West Coast, is one of only four privately owned, local metropolitan newspapers left in the country’s top 50 markets.

And, if the current dominant ownership class and their control scare you, consider the near future; the emerging new dominant newspaper and broadcast owners are the very banks and venture capitalists which put us into today’s economic crisis.

How does this happen?

With the reckless lending and borrowing which enabled the creation of newspaper chains and media conglomerates. As these borrowers turn to bankruptcy restructuring because they can’t handle the crushing corporate debt, despite profitable newspapers and TV stations, the banks and venture capitalists are fast replacing them as the new owners.

Not a good trend for watchdog journalism.

In this troubling ownership environment, WCOG and its pursuit of openness and transparency have never been more important.

Because of the economy and forced cutbacks the newsrooms around Washington State are not providing the breadth of coverage required for government accountability. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Olympia. But at least, with your help, we, the press, and citizen activists can seek to uncover the most egregious secrets, the best examples of power abuse in our never-ending effort to hold state and local government accountable.

Some days I feel like Don Quixote tilling at windmills. Then there are mornings like this when I am reminded how critical our work is and of the wonderful citizen patriots in our community. Knowing you are there and you care is very energizing to me and the Times family.

Personal Reflection

I’d like to close with a few moments of personal reflection about my watchdog journey –

The bookends for my journey are Cam Devore and the WEA.

The first bookend, involving Cam, was in 1976 as the 31-year old publisher of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. I found myself in court testifying against the respected school superintendent for an egregious violation of the Open Meetings Act. Thanks to Davis Wright Tremaine attorney Cam DeVore and Seattle Times Managing Editor Henry MacLeod I was given the education and support I needed to pursue this violation. It had a good outcome and set the stage for my career-long passion of pursuing open meetings and public records.

More recently the other bookend involving the WEA was in 2003 when we spent about a half-million dollars pursuing records and defending ourselves from some of our most respected school districts and the WEA.

The investigative series involved was “Coaches Who Prey” – one of the proudest journalistic/community-service moments of my career.

Years earlier I had learned that one of our community’s dirty, hidden secrets was the way school districts quietly passed on sexual predators to prey on kids at the next school down the line.

For years I struggled to understand this – how otherwise intelligent, moral educators could place their public image and fear of the WEA ahead of the health and safety of their students. And I don’t even want to get started on the WEA, whose actions suggest they would rather protect perverts and chill news coverage than protect students.

I understand it now.

Without openness, transparency and accountability, otherwise principled and moral people can succumb to illegal and immoral behavior.

Cam and Henry taught me how to do the right thing. The WEA and our school bureaucracies taught me why we can never stop being vigilant in our pursuit of openness.

There are many people from The Times and Blethen family that deserve recognition for this award.

My cousins, Will, Bob and John, who have been unfailing in their absolute support and passion around good journalism and openness for three decades.

My open meetings and public records mentors: starting with Henry MacLeod and Cam Devore. Followed by Mike Fancher, Alex MacLeod and Dave Boardman.

A special thank-you to the Seattle Times Board of Directors, who have been unwavering in their support of our journalistic mission. One of them is here today, Rick Holley, CEO of Plumb Creek.

As to the future, with leaders like Ryan Blethen, Dave Boardman, and Mike Shepard, I have no doubt The Times and its affiliate newspapers will remain on the leading edge of openness and transparency.

Thank you for validating what we do and empowering us to stay at it.

Posted in Members, News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Frank Blethen, Seattle Times Co. receive James Madison Award
← Older posts Newer posts →