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!