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