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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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Join AAJA Seattle in the first meetup of IRE Seattle!

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The well-known and well-regarded Investigative Reporters (IRE) and Editors are great friends of AAJA. In fact, thanks to a recent partnership, IRE and AAJA members were able to attend each others’ conferences in 2014 at member rates!

So it’s a pleasure for our chapter to support a new Seattle-area branch of the investigative reporting organization.

The new branch will have its first mixer on Jan. 21 at The Diller Room, 1224 First Ave., Seattle. Besides mingling with journalists and learning more about IRE, attendees will also get to drink a special mixed beverage for the event, The Watchdog.

For more details and to get further updates, go to the group’s page.

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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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Founders Scholarship winner Sandi Halimuddin: “I finally feel empowered and ready to take the next step”

 

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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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Come to the next Dim Sum Saturday on Oct. 26

Dim Sum Saturday

Dim Sum Saturday

Sorry about the late notice, everyone. We’re going to squeeze in one more Dim Sum Saturday event before the holiday season at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 26.

Enjoy breakfast with chapter president, Mai Hoang, who will be here all the way from Yakima, and with other AAJA members.

If you haven’t been to an event recently, dim sum is a great and easy way to reconnect. The more, the merrier — friends, co-workers, former co-workers, significant others and kids more than welcome.

We’re meeting at at New Hong Kong (it used to be known as New Kowloon), 900 South Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98104, in the International District.

We’ll all split the check. Dim sum typically runs about $10-$15 per person.

Please RSVP on the Facebook invitation so we can keep a rough headcount and know how big of a table to reserve. Hope to see you there!

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