AAJA EYES THE NEXT FRONTIER
President Yvonne Leow strives to cultivate a culture of media entrepreneurship and engage a wider community.
Story by Carina Lee
Edited by Elaine Ramirez
AAJA is not only a community for journalists with relatable backgrounds and challenges. The association has also evolved into an important voice for the defense of minorities in media coverage, such as its recent challenge to Fox News’ much-criticized Chinatown segment. How have you witnessed AAJA evolve throughout your membership? How do you envision its future role?
It’s an incredible honor to witness and be a part of AAJA’s evolution. I’ve been an AAJA member for a decade now, and even in the past five years, we’ve undergone a governance restructure. Our Executive Leadership Program and I-Con initiatives have been expanded to all journalists, not just Asian-Americans. Our involvement with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has grown with 2016’s inaugural AAPI Town Hall.
Whether it’s further engagement with the AAPI community or expanding our programming abroad, AAJA’s mission is to serve our members, and promote diversity and representation. We can only accomplish that when we’re focused on where we want to dedicate our resources and staying ahead of trends in a rapidly changing media landscape.
As AAJA president, what traditions and vision will you carry over from your predecessor, Paul Cheung, and what new initiatives are you introducing?
AAJA’s commitment to diversity, and fair and accurate journalism remains, but we’re excited about pushing forward on three key initiatives:
- Branding. We have incredibly talented members, and our brand identity should capture the caliber of creativity, ingenuity and influence that exists in our organization. We’ve redesigned our logo and website, and upgraded our member management system this year. Our goal is to continue creating an identity that expresses who we are and the impact we have on our industry.
- Globalization. It is essential for AAJA to serve and meet our members where they are. Following the success of AAJA’s Asia chapter, we hope to expand our membership and resources in areas such as Europe and Latin America in the coming years.
- Entrepreneurship. Changing the status quo is long and arduous, but there may be solutions. Our goal is to help cultivate a culture of media entrepreneurship in journalism and empower people to build their own products, brands and media companies.
Regarding the N3Con 2017 theme “Social Disruption: Navigating the New Journalism,” what do you believe are the biggest challenges facing journalists today?
One of the biggest challenges we face in journalism is preserving the public’s trust. How do we increase the trust between journalists and the communities we cover? There is a deluge of news and misinformation online these days, and the way we help people cut through the noise will be essential in the coming years.
How does the Asia chapter contribute to the national association?
The AAJA-Asia chapter has been a powerhouse in representing and expanding AAJA’s programming abroad. We’re learning a lot from what’s happening in the region, and AAJA-Asia chapter members have been invaluable to our discussions about convention programming and our redesign initiatives.
Carina Lee is the AAJA-Asia chapter secretary and Seoul subchapter treasurer. She can be reached at email@example.com.