Chapter Presidentâ€™s Report
The chapter is blessed with a dedicated core of active members who see the value of this community. Our mission is to inspire the next generation of journalists, promote diversity and support media entrepreneurship. We focused our resources in 2010 on outreach, training and mentoring â€“ and you responded.
Our membership increased from about 80 members in 2009 to more than 100 members in 2010. More students are joining our chapter, as are non-traditional journalists, such as Alex Stonehill, co-founder of the Common Language Project and our keynote speaker at our Lunar New Year Banquet & Silent Auction.
Last yearâ€™s Lunar New Year fund-raiser at Tea Palace set a new attendance record, with more than 70 attendees. The chapter board was so pleased with the turnout, weâ€™ve decided to hold our 2011 event there on Jan. 29. Save the date!
One of our key strategies in 2010 was partnering with other organizations to broaden our reach and expand local benefits to members.
The boards of SPJ Western Washington and AAJA Seattle agreed to offer each groupâ€™s members reciprocal rates on events to increase attendance and diversity. That gave our AAJA Seattle members access to SPJâ€™s fall training series and freelancerâ€™s workshop at SPJ member rates.
AAJA Seattle also signed a partnership agreement with 911 Media, a non-profit provider of multimedia training, which provided our members with discounted rates and fellowships for students and professionals. Our first recipient of the fellowship was Carina del Rosario, a freelance photographer, who applied the fellowship toward a class in audio recording.
And our chapter collaborated with other local journalism organizations to broaden our reach and relevance: We provided financial or in-kind support to three regional conferences â€“ Journalism That Matters, SPJ Regional Conference, and the Northwest Video Workshop.
We also provided financial and in-kind support to the newly launched Sea Beez ethnic media consortium, and the William O. Douglas SPJ chapter in co-hosting a â€œChoppy Watersâ€ workshop for students at Central Washington University.
Finally, we collaborated with the Seattle chapter of the National Association of Asian-American Professionals (NAAAP) on two of their events and promoted the kickoff event of the local chapter of Hacks/Hackers, a journalism innovation group.
Speaking of innovation, our AAJA Seattle chapter held our inaugural Innovation Salon at the Seattle Art Museum in May. The classy event at SAMâ€™s TASTE restaurant offered attendees appetizers, wine and tips on Twitter. We plan to hold another Innovation Salon in 2011. Stay tuned.
Acting on another strategic priority, the chapter this year stepped up its efforts to support the next generation of journalists: We held two student pizza nights (including a multimedia journalism night at the UW), judged student work at the Washington Journalism Education Association state conference and awarded four Northwest Journalists of Color scholarships and two Founders scholarships.
And after returning fromÂ a fantastic AAJA National Convention in Los Angeles, Â we held an end-of-summer potluck in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park.
We also elected new officers for 2011. Here are your officers for next year:
President: Sanjay Bhatt, reporter, The Seattle Times
VP, Events: Caroline Li, editor, EarthWalkers.com
VP, Programs: Owen Lei, reporter, KING 5
Treasurer: Mai Hoang, reporter, The Yakima Herald-Republic
Secretary: Venice Buhain, editor, Bellevue Patch
As you know, our National Board Representative Athima Chansanchai was elected to AAJA National Secretary to fill the remaining term of Doris Truong, who was elected AAJA National President. The chapter board is discussing its next step to fill Timaâ€™s seat for the remainder of her term.
Speaking of national AAJA affairs, it’s been aÂ challenging year. Fiscal crises threatened AAJA’s future, and all chapters, including ours, gave funds to stabilize the organization.
We can all be proud of our AAJA National President Sharon Chan and AAJA National Treasurer Candace Heckman for steering the national organization through the crisis and making tough decisions. Today AAJAÂ has a strong executive director and is on steadier fiscal ground.
And in what could become an annual tradition, Sharon, Candace and Seattle Times Executive Editor David Boardman, who is also an AAJA Seattle member,Â organized an all-mediaÂ Holiday Scoop party at Nectar that benefitted the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship endowment.
I’d like to thank everyone who helped support the chapter in accomplishing its goals this year. Our event chairs deserve huge kudos: Caroline Li (Lunar New Year Banquet), Nicole Tsong andÂ Mai Hoang (student workshops), Mai HoangÂ and Venice Buhain (scholarship application and judging),Â Karen Johnson (innovation salon),Â and Naomi Ishisaka (scholarships reception).
Our AAJA Seattle community is strong. We canÂ meet any challenge byÂ working together. Our continued success rests on your support, so please renew your membership, bring a colleague to our events and tell us how youâ€™d like to get involved!
I wish you and yours a memorable holiday season and prosperity in the New Year!