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AAJA Seattle, SABJ issue joint statement on the P-I

Posted on by sbhatt

JOINT STATEMENT FROM
SEATTLE ASSOCIATION OF BLACK JOURNALISTS AND
ASIAN AMERICAN JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION – SEATTLE CHAPTER

published Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The boards of the Seattle Association of Black Journalists (SABJ) and the Seattle chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) express great sadness over The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s demise after more than 145 years. We applaud the dedication and contributions of the P-I’s journalists and support staff who have served the community.

With today being the P-I’s last print edition, the community is losing the benefit of two competing, award-winning daily newspapers and the talents of more than 160 news professionals. After years of efforts to increase the diversity of city newsrooms so they come closer to reflecting the communities they serve, we mourn the fact that a dozen journalists of color at the P-I will be laid off and likely unable to find similar work in journalism, a troubling trend being repeated across the country as newsrooms downsize.

The Seattle P-I has been a place where journalists of color have honed their skills, built their careers and won professional honors. It has also been a place where some of the country’s top journalists mentored minority students. And the newspaper has offered members of AAJA and SABJ a chance to develop as industry leaders: Two of AAJA’s National officers are among those who are losing their jobs. We appreciate that the staff of the P-I’s online site will include some journalists of color.

Let us also remember that other newspapers could meet the P-I’s fate if current trends continue unchecked. Nationwide, more than 50 daily and weekly newspapers this year have shut down or announced they will soon, and some 33 newspapers have filed for bankruptcy. Newspapers laid off some 15,000 people last year. Major metro newspapers still field the maximum number of news professionals, and their scoops often influence the reports of radio, television and online news outlets — which tend to be even less diverse than newspaper newsrooms.

As Princeton professor Paul Starr recently wrote in The New Republic, “If we take seriously the notion of newspapers as a fourth estate or a fourth branch of government, the end of the age of newspapers implies a change in our political system itself. Newspapers have helped to control corrupt tendencies in both government and business. If we are to avoid a new era of corruption, we are going to have to summon that power in other ways.”

The same day we learned the P-I would print its final edition, The McClatchy Co., which owns The Tacoma News Tribune and The Olympian, announced across-the-board pay cuts and a total of 45 layoffs. And The Seattle Times is fighting for its life, having recently put up property for sale, laid off news staff and asked employees for cuts in pay and benefits.

Both SABJ and AAJA challenge Hearst, McClatchy, The Seattle Times and all other Pacific Northwest media organizations to ensure that diversity remains a core value in their news staffing and through their coverage. We also welcome the civic-mindedness and creativity of this region’s residents in supporting new, sustainable forms of journalism. We will continue to support our members during this difficult time.

We thank The Seattle Post-Intelligencer for a job well done.

-30-

ABOUT SABJ & AAJA:

The Seattle Association of Black Journalists (SABJ) is one of the largest and oldest media organizations in the Pacific Northwest. Our members work in print, online media, radio, television, public relations, advertising, and education. SABJ student members benefit from mentoring, networking and scholarship opportunities. We offer the Patricia Fisher Endowed Scholarship in honor of Patricia Fisher, a Puget Sound native, journalist, educator and role model for her support of young people and her contributions to the community. SABJ is an affiliate chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), a group of more than 3,000 African Americans working in the media.
www.sabjonline.org

Since 1985, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Seattle chapter has provided scholarships for students, professional development for journalists and service to the community in the Pacific Northwest. The chapter’s members work throughout Washington state in print, television, radio and online media. AAJA is a non-profit professional organization based in San Francisco.
www.aajaseattle.org

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AAJA Seattle reaches out to Seattle P-I staff

Posted on by sbhatt

The Seattle chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is ramping up its outreach to journalists at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which Hearst Corp. plans to stop publishing this month. The chapter’s leadership wants to support all journalists during these hard economic times for our profession.

The chapter welcomes your suggestions. To date, your chapter has undertaken several initiatives:
* Public statement on Hearst’s plan to stop publishing the Seattle P-I.
* Choppy Waters workshop on Web News Entrepreneurship, Jan. 31, at the University of Washington.
* Lunar New Year fundraiser, Feb. 7, at the Wing Luke Asian Museum.
* Reboot Your Career workshop on revamping your resume and positioning yourself for a new job, March 13. The chapter is still accepting applications for this members-only workshop.

Send your ideas for programs and workshops to aajaseattle@gmail.com.

Thanks,

Sanjay Bhatt
AAJA Seattle Co-President
Reporter, The Seattle Times

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AAJA Seattle issues statement on Hearst announcement

The board of the Seattle chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) expresses its shock and sadness over last week’s announcement that Hearst Corp. has put the Seattle Post-Intelligencer up for sale and plans to shut it down if no deal is struck. This is a loss for the Pacific Northwest and diversity in journalism.

The presence of two competing, award-winning daily newspapers has given this region more intense reportage of local issues, diverse communities and government actions than it would have had otherwise.

The P-I also has been a key supporter of AAJA’s mission by offering talented journalists of color a place to hone their craft and become leaders in the profession – as well as leaders in AAJA. Hearst and P-I staff have donated resources over the years to support AAJA Seattle’s Northwest Journalists of Color (NJC) scholarship, Lunar New Year banquet, and professional development programs.

We recognize that Hearst, a for-profit business, could not turn a blind eye to its financial losses. Several of the nation’s newspaper owners have put their properties up for sale or declared bankruptcy. The business challenges are real, and fresh ideas are urgently needed.

We encourage Hearst to seek a buyer who is committed to quality journalism and newsroom diversity. And we encourage the community to engage in a broader dialogue about the future of diversity in local journalism.

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Since 1985, AAJA’s Seattle chapter has provided scholarships for students, professional development for journalists and service to the community in the Pacific Northwest. The chapter’s members work throughout Washington state in print, television, radio and online media. AAJA is a non-profit professional organization based in San Francisco. Learn more about the Seattle chapter by going to aajaseattle.org.

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TechFlash: 10 steps to save the P-I and the rest of the industry

TechFlash’s Todd Bishop, a former reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, tonight posted a prescription for saving the P-I. Check it out, as well as the comments. The back-and-forth, interestingly, is possible only online, not in a printed product. Do you agree with Todd’s prescription?

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Seattle Post-Intelligencer put up for sale, could be closed

The news is still sinking in. After 146 years of publishing the news, the state’s oldest daily could be history.

Our AAJA Seattle members are directly affected, including Candace Heckman (AAJA National Treasurer), Athima Chansanchai (our chapter’s National Board Rep), Margaret Santjer, Mai Ling Slaughter and D. Parvaz.

Our hearts go out to them and all the P-I staff. Please send us your ideas for how you think AAJA Seattle should respond.

Here are quick links to coverage from the P-I, Times, Puget Sound Business Journal, and Crosscut, as well as a video shot by the P-I of the announcement in the stunned newsroom.

Fri., Jan. 9: P-I, Times, Biz Journal, Crosscut.

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