Doris Truong Remarks at 2012 AAJA Gala Awards Banquet
[Just a fraction of AAJA Nation, in a photo I took while onstage.]
As prepared for delivery at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Aug. 3, 2012:
Good evening, my AAJA family!
I’m going to start all my speeches from now on by taking a snapshot from the stage. Say cheese, everyone!
I’m Doris Truong, and I am your AAJA National President until December 31st. I know you’ll be live-tweeting this, so remember that I’m @doristruong.
I am thrilled to be standing in front of you once again.
I would like to acknowledge some special guests in the room: Ma and Pa Truong and my sister, Lisa — would you please stand? They have been involved in this convention, too, helping with Silent Auction items, so they are honorary members of the AAJA family.
This convention has been an invigorating experience. We started UNITY12 with my urging you to make the most of this historic gathering with our friends from NABJ, NAHJ, NAJA, NLGJA and SAJA. I quoted from the founding dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, telling you that now — more than ever — I believe in the profession of journalism.
I believe in the profession of journalism because this summer, when AAJA’s 12th annual JCamp had its closing reception at the NABJ convention, one of our high school students came up to me and said: “Doris, everyone here has one thing in common. Passion. They have passion in their eyes when they talk about journalism. I want to find the career that will give me that same passion.”
Isn’t that great?
When I look around this room, I see my AAJA family. I see pioneers in our field, including Lloyd LaCuesta, who has never missed an AAJA convention. The barongs are for you, Lloyd. We are also honored to be joined by David Louie, who just celebrated his 40th year at KGO. We have multiple winners of Lifetime Achievement and Leadership in Diversity awards here tonight.
It is humbling to be in their company.
Let’s think about why we all got into journalism. It certainly wasn’t for the big bucks or the glory (sorry, Mom and Dad). It was to bring to light the stories that need to be told. And the stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are more important today than they have ever been.
AAPIs have the most spending power of any ethnic group, yet how often do we see ourselves accurately portrayed in the mainstream media? And when we do see ourselves, is it because we made it onto an Angry Asian Man blog post?
AAJA is here to help.
Earlier this year, poor coverage of Jeremy Lin’s phenomenal rise led AAJA to issue a MediaWatch advisory. This week, we released a fully revised “Handbook to Covering Asian America.” This resource, which you can find at AAJA.org, will help ensure that coverage of our communities is fair, accurate and sensitive.
The handbook is just one of the reasons I am proud of AAJA. And I am wistful that my time as your president is coming to a close.
When I started this journey, I reset my counter of AAJA chapter visits to zero. I made it my mission to reach out to all the members of AAJA Nation. I am 90 percent through my 21-Chapter Listening Tour. Minnesota and Texas, you’re next.
Thank you to everyone who hosted me so far, and thank you especially to the members who let me stay on your couch and then shuttled me around in AAJA One.
My list of thank-yous is long. My presidency would not have been possible without the unwavering support of The Washington Post. My executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, is at Table 17. Please thank him. The Post has stood with me every single day since I decided to campaign for the presidency and every day since my election. I am proud to work for a company that prioritizes diversity in the newsroom and in our coverage.
I also want to give special thanks to AAJA’s executive director, Kathy Chow. This woman works for AAJA 24/7. And she always has my back. Thank you to Kathy and to AAJA staff members Antonio Salas, Marcia Santillan, Nao Vang, Glenn Sugihara and Karen Sugihara for supporting me at AAJA HQ.
I also want to thank my fellow officers and the volunteers who serve on the boards of our 21 chapters. Our 1,600 members have inspiring leaders who inspire me.
Someone asked if I would be adding another move to the AAJA presidents’ dance. You know the one — it was created by my predecessor as president, Sharon Chan (ELP ’03!).
I don’t have rhythm, so I encourage you to continue to reach out and lean in. While you are reaching out, reach for your wallets. As I told the chapter presidents today, at AAJA, we want to make it easy for you to donate. I accept credit cards and cash.
We have been an industry leader for 31 years. Together, we will keep AAJA strong. We’re in Vegas, so let’s double down on AAJA.
Thank you, and I’ll see you at double-A-J-A Karaoke Night!