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!
Doris Truong Remarks at UNITY12 Opening Session
[Here’s looking at you, UNITY12! This is the photo I took while onstage.]
As prepared for delivery at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Aug. 1, 2012:
Good evening! I am Doris Truong, a multiplatform editor at The Washington Post and the national president of the Asian American Journalists Association.
It is an honor to lead the 31-year-old Asian American Journalists Association.
Without the existence of AAJA, editorial cartoonists might believe it’s acceptable to caricature one of their own writers as a kamikaze pilot. Radio talk show hosts might think that mocking native Mandarin speakers will go unchallenged. And, without AAJA, a generation of young Asian Americans might not have considered becoming journalists because they thought the only career paths open to them were those of doctor, lawyer or engineer.
I came to AAJA in college, and in the 16 years of my involvement, i have watched this organization expand its reach. We have more than 500 graduates of our JCamp for high school students, and we have more than 300 alumni of our Executive Leadership Program. We have 21 chapters and more than 1,600 members. We have top newsroom leaders in AAJA’s ranks, including newspaper publishers and TV news managers. We have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, with documentary filmmakers in our ranks. And we are all connected by our common passion for journalism and our belief in the importance of news diversity.
It’s more critical than ever for newsrooms to reflect the changing face of America. Earlier this summer, Pew Research reported that Asian Americans are becoming the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.
And yet, when an athlete like Jeremy Lin does his job — drives to the hoop, puts points on the board for his team and gives credit where it’s due — some people focus on his ethnicity, as though athleticism and Asian Americans do not go together.
This is 2012.
We ought to know better.
But I’m not here to criticize. I’m here to help. I’m proud to announce a full updating of AAJA’s “Handbook to Covering Asian America.” when it was first released in 2000, it was a slim paperback, about the size of a reporter’s notebook. Now, it spans several hundred entries, from “alien” to “yellow skin.”
You’ll find our handbook at AAJA.org.
Take a look around you today. We are at the most diverse gathering of journalists this year. Members of AAJA have traveled from around the world for this convention. The global marketplace is expanding, but social media actually makes our planet smaller — and offers us more job opportunities.
Plenty of folks are showing off their Twitter handles on their name badges, but this is your chance to make an impression in real life. In these turbulent times for our industry, the people who know you are the ones most likely to offer you a lifeline.
I urge you all to make the most of this historic gathering. When the UNITY convention ends, i want you to have four times the connections you had when you arrived. Go home feeling energized and recommitted to our noble cause. As the founding dean of the Missouri School of Journalism said, “I believe in the profession of journalism.”
AAJA Nation vs. homemade tamales
In a nod to the UNITY12 host city, National Association of Hispanic Journalists President Michele Salcedo has challenged my organization, the Asian American Journalists Association, to a friendly (and tasty) wager.
Who will bring the most members to the UNITY12 convention in Las Vegas?
At stake for Michele? Three dozen homemade tamales — reportedly “famous, incredibly light and delicious.”
But, really, we all win. The higher the turnout, the more people we can all meet and learn from.
So, what are you waiting for? If you want top-notch journalism training, get registered now^.
^ P.S. Register as an AAJA member and help me get that much closer to tamale victory!
Don’t miss this!
Via UNITY12 Convention:
Final day before UNITY12 prices go up!
This is your last chance to get the best rate on the UNITY12 convention. Sign up now for early-bird savings.
Be sure to join a UNITY alliance association first if you want the best rate. And remember that the early-bird prices expire at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. (Prices go up $75 on Saturday.)
We want you in Vegas for top-notch training and awesome networking opportunities with journalism leaders from around the world.
Why UNITY12? For Better Journalism.
Is UNITY12 on your calendar? If you’re a journalist, it should be!
The first four days of August, hundreds of industry leaders from around the world will be at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, networking and sharing the passion for our craft. And this year’s sessions will offer plenty of tools to help attendees become even more effective at delivering the news.
UNITY12’s early-bird registration cutoff is Friday, so sign up soon for the best rate.
And check out some of the great programming that awaits:
- Hot topics are high on the agenda with immigration and lessons from Jeremy Lin in the spotlight.
- Revive narrative storytelling with long-form journalism and investigative reporting.
- Learn social media nuts and bolts, including how to safeguard your online reputation.
- Hands-on multimedia sessions teach you how to make your own maps and ways to be a better visual storyteller.
- Professional development workshops will coach you on tips to market yourself.
- And a healthy journalist is an effective journalist. Eating well on deadline and having a nest egg are just part of the equation.
I can’t wait for UNITY12! Aug. 1 will be here before you know it, so make sure you reserve a place among the most diverse journalists who will assemble this year.