Tag Archives: networking

Hacks/Hackers Seattle kicks off Nov. 11 with free food

AAJA Seattle members Sharon Chan and Karen Johnson are joining forces to hold a kickoff event for Hacks/Hackers Seattle on Nov. 11 at Havana in Capitol Hill.

Come out and show your support and learn about this interesting group!

There will be FREE food from Marination Mobile sponsored by Patch.com!

Hacks/Hackers is a group that was started by former AP bureau chief Burt Herman (now CEO of Storify), Aron Pilhofer of The New York Times, and Richard Gordon of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Read a piece Herman wrote about Hacks/Hackers’ origins. Gordon has written on PBS’ MediaShift blog about the first truly national gathering of Hacks/Hackers last spring in San Francisco.

Hacks/Hackers meetups have become common now at national journalism conventions, including at this year’s Investigative Reporters and Editors convention in Las Vegas. (We gathered at the hotel bar, of course.) The group has received sponsorship from the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge and has attracted journalists and technologists from all over the country. Former New York Times reporter and AAJA member Jenny 8. Lee is a key organizer for Hacks/Hackers now.

Hacks/Hackers chapters are forming one by one across the nation, and our own Sharon and Karen have taken the initiative to get the Seattle one off the ground.

Chan, who covers Microsoft for The Seattle Times (and finishing her term this year as AAJA National President), sent out this invitation:

If you’re a journalist who cares about technology and the future of media, you should come. If you’re a technologist who cares about journalism and the future of media, you should come. Journalists call themselves “hacks,” someone who can churn out words in any situation. Hackers use the digital equivalent of duct tape to whip out code. Hacker-journalists try and bridge the two worlds.

Hacks/Hackers Seattle will bring all these people together — those who are working to help people make sense of their world. It’s for hackers exploring technologies to filter and visualize information, and for journalists who use technology to find and tell stories. In the age of information overload, all their work has become even more crucial.

We aim to help members find inspiration and think in new directions, bringing together potential collaborators for projects and new ventures.

RSVP and get your free ticket at http://seattlehackshackers.eventbrite.com.

For more information about Hacks and Hackers check out http://hackshackers.com.

The event is in partnership with AAJA Seattle and the Western Washington Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Diversity on the menu at end-of-summer potluck

The potluck is an apt metaphor for what makes a chapter vibrant.

Everyone brings something to the table.

Thanks to all who came out for our AAJA Seattle end-of-summer picnic. It was a fun event – and we enjoyed sunny skies!

The picnic offered members with children a rare opportunity to come network with colleagues and enjoy the beauty of West Seattle’s Lincoln Park.

We had members come from as far away as Yakima, Bellingham and Tacoma!

The chapter provided picnic supplies, bratwurst, chips, salsa, vegetable trays and soda pop.

Members brought food items that gave our picnic an international flavor: Thai BBQ chicken, Southern fried chicken, orzo salad, tomato-basil salad, Indian samosas, spicy Asian noodles, and peach pie with ice cream, among other dishes.

You can contribute your photos or video from the picnic by adding them to our Flickr pool! Just go to http://www.flickr.com/groups/aajaseattle. Photos need to be approved by a moderator before they go live.

If you didn’t receive an alert about the picnic, you need to update your subscriptions: Click on each of the links below to update your social-media accounts:

    Facebook Group
    Twitter channel

Speaking of giving, what would you like to contribute to your AAJA chapter?

Would you like to…

    mentor a student?

    organize a workshop on an issue you are passionate about?

    coordinate our nationally recognized minority scholarship program?

    manage our chapter blog and social media channels?

Whatever your interest, chances are there’s a need our chapter has that you can help address. Please consider giving back to your AAJA chapter. Our officer elections are in the fall, and we hope you’ll participate by stepping up to run for the board or volunteering to take on a project.

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AAJA Seattle student member: AAJA Voices was one of the most rewarding weeks of my life

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Peter Sessum’s mug shot for AAJA Voices

This post was written by Peter Sessum, an AAJA Seattle student member. Sessum recently was one of 20 students to participate in AAJA Voices. He received training and mentoring on a variety of media platforms to cover the AAJA National Convention, which was held last month in Los Angeles. Sessum, a three-time recipient of the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship, last wrote about the chapter’s recent innovation salon on Twitter for the AAJA Seattle website.

I have benefited from AAJA more than anyone else I know. Workshops, scholarships and of course the mentorships. There is one thing that wraps it all up in one neat little package: The AAJA Voices Convention News Project (CNP). For a week in Los Angeles, students benefited from everything AAJA has to offer. I was lucky enough to be one of them.

If the convention is a sprint for most convention goers, for the Voices staff, it is a marathon that started long before registration.Twenty students were selected to be part of CNP. Once selected, we got to work. There were webinars that needed to be completed and story assignment ideas. We were paired with a professional mentor. Mine was William Wan from the Washington Post. I couldn’t have asked for one better.

By the time I arrived in LA, I already had one story in the can. I had written my column about how I came to be a journalist. After that, I just needed two more in two different media. This is what separated the journalists from the writers. You have to do research to know what story ideas to pitch. There were still a lot of unknowns heading to the airport, but excitement was high.

There is a saying among Navy SEALs, “The only easy day was yesterday.” For the convention, the only easy day was Monday. After all the students trickled in, introductions were made and we headed out to dinner. It would be the last time everyone would eat together outside the newsroom until after the convention.

Voices Director Marian Liu quickly laid down the law. Three students failed to complete the assigned tasks prior to the convention and were told not to come. From the start, Liu kept the group on task. Every day was full. If we weren’t working on a story, there were tours, guest speakers or some form of training or networking. One day was spent at The Los Angeles Times.

With so many moving parts I have no idea how Liu kept it all straight. It was more coordinated than most military operations. Nothing got past our leader. As soon as a student would finish a task, Liu would be calling their name with something new to do.

When the convention started on Wednesday I felt like I was in the eye of the storm. Despite furiously working against an ever impending deadline, tweeting updates for AAJA and Voices and trying to work on future stories, I felt calm. For me, it was not my most stressful newsroom.

The days were filled. Something was scheduled just about every minute. Fortunately, one of my stories was about Katelin Chow, an AAJA Seattle student member, NJC scholarship recipient and a first-time convention goer. Following her got me out of the newsroom and into a couple workshops.

When recruiters talk about elevator speeches, they mean it literally. When heading to my next event, I found myself in an elevator with a person from USA Today. I had missed her at the job fair. In the six-floor ride down, I was able to give her my pitch and we exchanged cards.

I was one of the lucky few who not only got out of the newsroom, but also had some time at night to get some downtime. I was able to spend time with members of AAJA Seattle. And I even found time to make some new friends. My roommate, however, was working far into the night.

National conventions are an Olympics of a conference. While most spring from event to event, the members of the voices project run a week long marathon. By the end of it, I was running like a well-oiled machine. One being operated by a rabid, schizophrenic badger.

Despite all the hard work, the Voices project was one of the most rewarding weeks of my life. I left feeling prepared for next year when I graduate and will be looking for a job. I also picked up some skills to make me a better journalist. As a side bonus, I had some fun.

I would encourage anyone to get involved with the program. Professionals will be able to mentor the next generation of journalists — some of who are really impressive. For students, the CNP is a great experience. They select the best AAJA has to offer, but only the best of those who apply.

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Sea Beez meetup: Best practices in journalism

Posted on by sbhatt

The “Sea Beez” ethnic media project is holding a roundtable on best practices in journalism from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 23 at KOMO’s Fisher Plaza.

In May, AAJA Seattle and the Seattle Association of Black Journalists (SABJ) co-hosted the launch party for the Sea Beez project, which aims to build the capacity of Puget Sound area ethnic media and empower them to strengthen their business and journalism practices.

Julie Pham, managing editor of Northwest Vietnamese News, directs the project. Pham invites AAJA and SABJ members to the event on Sept. 23. The project’s website is seabeez.com.

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2010 AAJA Convention – Back to the Future

Posted on by sbhatt

(L to R): Yakima Herald-Republic reporter Mai Hoang and student members Peter Sessum, Katelin Chow and Mary Pauline Diaz.
(Yakima Herald-Republic reporter Mai Hoang, NJC scholarship winner Peter Sessum and Founder’s Scholarship winners Katelin Chow and Mary Pauline Diaz.)

“Back to the Future” was the motto of this year’s AAJA National Convention in Los Angeles.

Aside from being the title of one of my favorite movies as a kid, “Back to the Future” succinctly captures this year’s milieu: We put the awfulness of 2009 behind us and looked ahead to the opportunities of tomorrow. We gave ourselves the space to dream once again — in Hollywood, a place where humans fail hard and often. But we all know that a few of the persistent ones eventually get a lucky break and make their dreams come true!

AAJA today is a dream realized for the journalists who founded it in 1981. You can’t help but feel moved by this awesome promo video marking the occasion of our organization’s 30th anniversary.

Courage. Pride. Passion.

These are words that come to mind when I think of the people who represented our Seattle chapter.

We can all be proud of our AAJA National President Sharon Chan and AAJA National Treasurer Candace Heckman for steering the organization through one of the most difficult years in its history. They made tough decisions, but today the organization has survived a fiscal crisis and is on steadier ground with a new executive director.

Who else was there from our chapter? KING5 anchor Lori Matuskawa; VOICES project director Marian Liu; and several of your chapter board members (Athima Chansanchai, Venice Buhain, Caroline Li and yours truly).

But there were a lot of other faces too! They include:

  • Seattle Times Executive Editor David Boardman
  • KING-TV reporter Owen Lei
  • Yakima Herald-Republic reporter Mai Hoang
  • AOL FanHouse producer Sunny Wu
  • KBCS news director Joaquin Uy (also recipient of an AAJA National award)
  • KNDO-TV (Yakima) reporter Shawn Chitnis
  • Public relations executive Christine Chen
  • Freelance writer Judy Hsu
  • Founder’s Scholarship recipients Katelin Chow and Mary Pauline Diaz
  • Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship winner Peter Sessum
  • Special appearances by Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen and former Executive Editor Mike Fancher

For those of you who didn’t come to the LA convention, I ask you, will we see you in Detroit next year? Should AAJA change the way it holds national conventions?

With only four months left in 2010, our chapter continues to offer great programs and events!

Sept. 11, afternoon: AAJA Seattle annual summer picnic. Golden Gardens. FREE. Bring your spouse, kids and anyone else who’s special.

Sept. 21, 11 am-4:30 pm: AAJA members get the SPJ discount to their Freelancer’s Survival Guide conference at REI. $30 members, $40 non-members.

Oct. 16, all day: Northwest Video Workshop at KING TV. $35 registration. First 10 AAJA members to register get in for $20. (You must send an email to me at sbhatt@seattletimes.com after you register to confirm the stipend is still available.)

Late October: Elections for chapter board. Stay tuned for details.

Early November: Our second Innovation Salon: Monetize Your Digital Content.

December: Holiday social mixer.

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