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It’s that time of year again! Join AAJA Seattle and the Seattle Association of Black Journalists on Friday for a celebration of our scholarship winners!
During the reception, we will recognize the winner of the Northwest Journalists of Color & Patricia Fisher Endowed scholarships. We will also reveal the winner of the Founders’Scholarship, which provides funds for a student to attend the 2015 AAJA National Convention in San Francisco.
Northwest Journalists of Color recipients
Ashley Walls – University of Washington
Brady Hitoshi Wakayama – Washington State University
Bailey Williams – Central Washington University
Mohamed Adan – Seattle Central College
Patricia Fisher Endowed Scholarship recipients
Ashley Walls – University of Washington
Merdie Nzanga – American University
AAJA Seattle Founders Scholarshp
Brady Hitoshi Yakayama – Washington State University
The reception will also feature a keynote speech from Seattle-based broadcast journalist Tonya Mosley and a meet-and-greet with our scholarship recipients!
Can’t make it? You can still support NJC by making a donation today for next year’s scholarships.
2015 NJC SCHOLARSHIP RECEPTION
KIRO 7 News
2807 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
Friday, June 5th
Light drinks and food will be served
Hope to see you there!
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Tagged Founders' Scholarship
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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.
- 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 email@example.com to give your thoughts or feedback!
Mai Hoang, AAJA Seattle president
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, Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship
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Front row (L to R): Elyse Tan, Joella Charis Ortega, Seungkyul Joseph Park, Seungkyul Joseph Park, Ashley Walls and Holly Martinez.
Back row (L to R): AAJA Seattle board members Mai Hoang, Caroline Li and Tiffany Wan, Lori Matsukawa of host KING 5 and Steve Kipp, vice president of communications for Comcast Washington.
Several students were recognized during the Northwest Journalists of Color (NJC) Scholarship reception on June 4.
$5,000 in scholarship were presented to the four NJC scholars:
Joella Ortega discovered her passion for journalism during her junior year in high school while working on the yearbook staff. When she got to Western Washington University she quickly transformed into a full-fledged reporter. She realized she could no longer live without the rush of investigating, reporting, writing and editing: “The process of creating and publishing an article thrilled me like nothing had ever thrilled me before. I became a mad newswoman, eager to take on all aspects of this 24/7 lifestyle of living. I can make a change by using any medium available to me.” Joella’s goal is to pursue a career in new media journalism. She wants to live and breathe investigative reporting, create works that cannot be ignored, works that wake up a sleeping society to the heartbreak of far away lands – and she is confident she will not fail: “My generation will be the one to alter the face of journalism as America knows it; I know my hope for being a part of this shift is not in vain. I can make a substantial change along with my peers. I want to be a part of this new and improved system of reporting. I will succeed in my education, and I will succeed in my future career as a journalist.” She was chosen specifically for the Comcast Multimedia Scholarship, which was funded by Comcast.
Holly Martinez is currently attending Seattle University, majoring in journalism. She is the first in her family to go to college: “I want to prove to my younger siblings that they can do it too, no matter how hard it is and no matter how big their dream may be.” In addition, “The fact that I am a woman in a traditional Hispanic Catholic household also contributed
greatly to my desire to write and to be given the tremendous honor of serving as a voice for groups that are oftentimes left voiceless. I’ve learned to embrace my culture while also challenging it.” She started writing poetry in elementary school and was first published in third grade. She says as time progressed she became more interested in journalism and advocacy work. She has written for the school paper and was hired as a freelance writer for Equal Voice News after being awarded a fellowship opportunity with them. She also did internships with former Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, KOMO-TV and Comcast. Holly said she would like to be political analyst and one day run for office where she plans to use journalism to reach voters and constituents and attempt to make real changes in the community.
Charmaine Riley Is a student at Western Washington University where she is majoring in journalism and writes for the campus paper. She says for years, she thought college was a gateway to money, and that was the only reason why anyone went to college. But now she knows journalism is where she belongs: “I am studying journalism at Western Washington University because I love learning. Learning is a stereotypical answer but I am not studying journalism to learn about stereotypical topics or ideas. I want to learn by researching topics, investigating contentious issues, and telling the stories of people who
are unable to tell the stories themselves.” She says journalists may be innovative by posting on Twitter or interviewing sources from halfway around the world on Skype, but promoting new ideas to fight ignorance would be a significant and simple advancement within the industry.
Elyse Tan currently attends Western Washington University where she is majoring in Journalism and writes for the college newspaper. She is also online editor for the student publication, Klipsun Magazine. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a member of Western Washington University’s Public Relations Organization. rowing up she spent the majority of her time after school at the cash register of my mother’s restaurant with a jar for college funds. She is the first in her family to attend college. Since her first creative writing class she has been using writing as a personal and professional outlet. She is not deterred by the challenges of the industry: “I find it exciting that new technological advancements and social media have made news more accessible than ever before. Although some may suggest that print publications are dying, I have faith in the profession and know that there will always be a demand for efficient, truthful news in whatever medium readers choose to get it.”
Seungkyul Joseph Park of Highline Community College was chosen for the Founders’ Scholarship. The scholarship pays for airfare and registration to attend the annual AAJA Convention, which will be held this year in New York City. Park is currently studying communication, journalism, art history and minoring creative writing at the community college, with plans to transfer to the University of Washington. He has worked at the student-run newspaper at Highline Community College, The Thunderword since last year and became the paper’s arts editor last fall. Joseph’s passion is in fashion journalism and he jokes that in the future, he will execute a hostile takeover of Vogue, Vanity Fair, or The New Yorker. One project that that he is very proud of was when he organized a fashion editorial in honor of Referendum 74, which legalized gay marriage in Washington state. He and his friends decided to organize a photo shoot that represented gay love through the lens of fashion to complement an editorial column on why the referendum should pass. The piece was titled, “GLITTER AND BE GAY: An editorial on Referendum 74.”
Along with the NJC and Founders scholarship, the Seattle Association of Black Journalists (SABJ), a longtime NJC supporter, presented the Patricia Fisher Scholarship to Ashley Wells. Wells is a freshman at the University of Washington. She is majoring in journalism and plans to pursue a business sales certification. She writes for a newspaper for the Greek community, volunteers in the community and is active in multiple student organizations.
Along with the presentation of the scholarships, Monica Guzman, a digital life columnist for The Seattle Times and Geekwire, presented a keynote speed on how she survived and learned from her early job experiences. “Journalism is a set of carefully-managed relationships,” she said. She also explained why she was excited about the contributions of the current generation.
The Northwest of Journalists of Color scholarship and reception would not be possible without our sponsors:
Comcast came on as a sponsor for the second year in a row, this time funding one of the scholarships.
During the reception, Steve Kipp, vice president of communications for Comcast’s Washington region, spoke and explained why Comcast supported the program. Comcast has played an instrumental role not only in sponsoring this year’s Comcast multimedia sponsorship but providing valuable job experience to students, including several NJC alumni. Thank you for your support!
An already great reception was even better with delicious food from Pho Bac. The Vietnamese restaurant has several locations throughout the Seattle area.
KING 5 hosted this year’s reception. Assistant news director Cheryl Carson greeted the audience during the reception.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who attended this year’s reception. See you next year!
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Congratulations to this year’s NJC scholarship recipients! Â On the 25th anniversary of the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship, AAJA Seattle was able to award nearly $5,000 in scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition, send a student to the 2011 AAJA national convention in Detroit, and help pay for off-campus multimedia storytelling courses.
(above picture, from left to right) Mary Jean Spadafora,Â 911 Media Arts Scholarship; Joanna Nolasco, Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship; Peter Sessum, Founder’s Scholarship; Gina Cole, NJC Scholarship. (not pictured: Katelin Chow, who won an NJC Scholarship, made a special appearance from Barcelona, Spain, via a pre-recorded webcam message)
Seattle Times Publisher and AAJA Platinum member Frank Blethen received a “leadership in diversity” award from AAJA-Seattle and the Seattle Association of Black Journalists.
Thanh Tan of the Texas Tribune,Â as keynote speaker, shared her experiences as a multimedia reporter/producer covering state politics at a non-profit journalism outlet.
The Texas Tribune is a non-profit journalism startup based in Austin that relies on diverse lines of revenue to sustain its hard-hitting reporting on state government and politics.
Here’s an excerpt from Thanh’s amazing keynote speech:
Will we succeed in our mission to be a non-profit, sustainable provider of public interest news? I donâ€™t know. Will I still have a job in a year or two? I sure hope so. When I questioned whether I wanted to venture into the unknown, I leaned on my old Nightline executive producer, Tom Bettag, for help. Hereâ€™s what he told me, â€œAs for the future of the Tribune and its model, I don’t think anyone knows. What we know is that it is a serious attempt to do important work. If it fails, it will be a noble failure. People will respect you for having done your best to make it work.â€
If youâ€™d told me seven years ago that I would NOT be working in television news. That instead, Iâ€™d be producing and writing for an online start-up in Austin, Texas. That I would be a multi-platform journalist– Iâ€™d have said, â€˜Whatever. Yeah right.â€™ The bottom is Iâ€™ve worked in local TV news in small and big markets. Iâ€™ve worked in public broadcasting at a local and national level. All those experiencesâ€”the good, the bad, and the uglyâ€¦ led me to where I am today and make me appreciate what I have so much more. You donâ€™t have to follow my path. Create your own future, and know that it may look nothing like what youâ€™re envisioning right now. But the basics are the same. Just do it. Find that first break. Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed.
Keep in touch with those whose work you admire. Break a few stories. Check your facts. Seek the truth. Hold the powerful accountable. Meet your deadlines. Learn from your mistakes. Survival in this industry may well be based on your ability to adapt your stories for different mediumsâ€”so learn all you can about how print, online, and broadcast work. Try new thingsâ€”but always be mindful of your mission. And know that your job allows you to wield a certain amount of power that should not be abused. Pay attention to the people around youâ€¦ listen to their stories, and understand that our work as journalists often gives voice to the voiceless. Thatâ€™s a huge responsibility.
Times are changing for this industryâ€”it is a FASCINATING time to be a journalist, if you do it for the right reasons. Youâ€™ve gotten this far. I promise you that with a little help from the Northwest Journalists of Colorâ€”and all the people who are around you today– you will go on to produce work that inspires and enlightens your community.
This is just the beginning of your journey, and I am so excited for you.
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