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!
Sea Beez has its seed funding from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and represents the newest “hive”Â for New America Media, the nation’s first and largest collaboration of 2,000 ethnic media organizations reaching 51 million adults. The NOLA Beez launched in January. The other hubs are LA BeezÂ and San Jose Beez. LA Beez isÂ part of aÂ New America Media’s Digital Divide initiative, funded by the Ford Foundation.
This has been a year of great accomplishments for our Seattle chapter in the face of the worst recession in our lifetime. Itâ€™s because of you that we continue to take a stand for diversity in journalism, nurture students and support media entrepreneurship.
As we all know, 2009 was the year of convulsions for our industry as advertisers retrenched and everyone was affected either directly or indirectly by newsroom layoffs. Hearst Corp.â€™s Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the cityâ€™s oldest newspaper, published its last print edition on March 17 and laid off most of its staffers. Despite layoffs in 2008, The Seattle Times itself was on the brink of bankruptcy, and the staff agreed to painful concessions. Local television stations imposed wage freezes and eliminated jobs as well. Freelancers had a tougher time getting paid their usual rates and finding outlets for their work.
Yes, there were challenges and setbacks, but they didnâ€™t extinguish our spirit.
Here are some of the highlights of 2009:
In February, AAJA Seattle held one of its most successful Lunar New Year fundraisers ever. Karen Johnson, managing editor of Seattlemag.com, coordinated a team of volunteers who pulled off the classy event, which was emceed by Q13â€™s Lara Yamada. Our National Board representatives generously covered our biggest costs: Athima Chansanchai donated the cost of renting the Wing Luke Museum’s gorgeous space, while Chris Nishiwaki donated the cost of wine.
Our “Choppy Waters” conference in January at the University of Washingtonâ€™s Haggett Hall and “Reboot Your Career” workshop in March at Microsoft were a hit with attendees. A big shout-out to the UWâ€™s Department of Communications for making Choppy Waters possible and to freelance writer James Tabafunda for working with me on organizing the entrepreneurship-focused program. Doug Kim, managing editor for Microsoft Office Online, took the initiative to offer a resume workshop for members hunting for jobs.
For the first time, AAJA Seattle partnered with the Seattle Association of Black Journalists (SABJ) to develop a video to inspire the next generation of journalists of color. Amy Phan, an editor for NorthWest Cable News, and Jessica Boyd, a former Northwest Journalists of Color recipient, produced the video. Lisa Youngblood-Hall, SABJâ€™s president, supervised the young producers.
We screened the video in June at the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship reception at KING TV. The NJC scholarship program, run this year by Caroline Li, who publishes earthwalkersmag.com, awarded grants to Peter Sessum, Martha Flores Perez, Kassiopia Rodgers and Ilona Idlis.
At the AAJA National Convention in Boston, our Seattle chapter had a stellar turnout with 16 attendees, including Whitworth University student Yong Kyle Kim, this yearâ€™s recipient of the Founders scholarship. President Sharon Chan delivered an inspiring speech, and Marian Liu led the Voices Student Project with aplomb.
In another first, the Seattle chapter went to Vancouver, B.C., in September to support journalists of color there and establish ties with major media. Jennifer Chen, associate producer for CBCâ€™s Early Edition, and Alden Habacon, manager of diversity initiatives for CBC Television, worked hard to put together a packed two-day itinerary that included newsroom tours, a panel discussion at the University of British Columbiaâ€™s Graduate Journalism School and a Lunar New Year-style dinner that brought out 60 local journalists.
And in November, AAJA launched the Asian American Small Market Broadcast Journalists group. Chapter member Shawn Chitnis, a reporter for KNDO TV in Yakima, is co-coordinator of the group.
These and other members of our Seattle chapter are the reason why AAJA Seattle is one of the best chapters in the country. Our members are also lucky to have an extremely dedicated board, and I want to thank this year’s officers for their service. If you’re interested in serving on our board in the future, please drop me a note.
We have reorganized and expanded our board, dropping the co-presidency and establishing two new positions â€“ vice president for events and vice president for member programs. Many thanks to Venice Buhain, board secretary, for managing the restructure and chapter elections. Here are the chapterâ€™s officers in 2010:
President: Sanjay Bhatt, reporter, The Seattle Times
Vice president for member programs: vacant
Vice president for events: Caroline Li, founder, Earthwalkers Magazine
Treasurer: Nicole Tsong, reporter, The Seattle Times
Secretary: Venice Buhain, reporter, The Olympian
National Advisory Board representative: Athima Chansanchai, founder/president, Tima Media
The board held a retreat recently at the home of Lori Matsukawa and Larry Blackstock and developed a roadmap for the chapter in 2010 and beyond.
As we look ahead, we will inspire the next generation of journalists, promote diversity and support media entrepreneurship. We will focus our resources on outreach, training and mentoring. We will strengthen the relationships weâ€™ve built and develop new ones.
Next year we plan to launch a training series, hold social events with other professional groups, and sponsor pizza nights with journalism students at colleges and universities. We plan to send one, maybe even two, students to the AAJA National Convention, Aug. 4-7, in Los Angeles (and hope to see you there).
Have an idea for a chapter event? Come to a chapter business meeting! We plan to hold them every other month on the second Saturday. Subscribe to updates at www.aajaseattle.org.
There are many ways you can support AAJA: Become a member. Attend an event. Volunteer your time or expertise. Make a tax-deductible donation. This is your community.
This year the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Seattle chapter and the Seattle Association of Black Journalists (SABJ) partnered to produce a new video aimed at young minorities who are interested in pursuing careers in journalism. We wanted to counter the prevailing sense of doom and gloom, highlight outstanding local leaders and show the breadth of job opportunities in the industry.
In the spirit of encouraging young journalists’ creative spark, we handed it to two young women – Amy Phan, a former seattletimes.com intern who is working part-time as a video editor and a school teacher, and Jessica Boyd, a former NJC scholarship recipient who is continuing her education at Harvard in the fall.
Amy and Jessica conducted the interviews and shot the video, and Amy applied her video editing skills to create the final product. Thanks to all the journalists who agreed to participate in this project, and to Seattle University’s Prof. James Forsher, who made it possible for Amy to access the institution’s video editing equipment.
Also a big thanks to those journalists who sent in their own videos to be incorporated into the piece: Paris Jackson and Barbara Serrano. Email the video link to your friends. We hope the video goes viral and inspires many young journalists!
DONATIONS TO NJC
Donations to NJC, which AAJA Seattle administers, are fully tax deductible. Since 1986, NJC has provided scholarships to more than 100 outstanding college students in Washington state with a demonstrated passion for journalism. Make a pledge today! For details, contact Sanjay Bhatt at email@example.com.