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Join AAJA-Philly for intimate conversation and snacks with local journalists (and men-about-town) Drew Lazor and Neal Santos.
Lazor and Santos will tell AAJA members about their experiences in the Philly journalism world, including how they got their start and how they landed their latest gigs.
What: “Brain Pickings” with Drew Lazor and Neal Santos
When: 5-7pm on Sunday, Mar. 30
Where: Board member Yowei Shaw’s house in West Philadelphia, when you RSVP we’ll send the address
RSVP: By Wed., Mar. 26, to email@example.com
About Lazor and Santos:
Drew Lazor is a Philly-based freelance journalist covering food, drink, movies and music locally and nationally. A food columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, he has also contributed to Bon Appétit, Saveur, Serious Eats, Zagat and more. His writing has earned first-place honors in the 2011 AltWeekly Awards and the 2013 Association of Food Journalists Awards. He is the co-author of Jeremy and Jessica Nolen’s German Cooking Now, out fall 2014 on Chronicle Books.
Neal Santos is a photographer living and working in Philadelphia. Currently, he serves as the chief photographer at the Philadelphia City Paper. Additionally he runs a small-scale urban farm called Farm 51 with his partner. He considers himself lucky to call himself a Philadelphian as he types a bio with a cat stepping on his keyboard in his home in Southwest Philadelphia.
When Anna Hitchens read an article about her Cambodian dessert company that featured an offensive headline, she decided to take that opportunity to share more about her family’s history.
I’m a 31 year old first generation Cambodian American who was born in Philadelphia just a few months after my family arrived in the country. Both of my parents were born and raised in Cambodia, and they left in the late 70s due to the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot was head of the Khmer Rouge, the Communist Party who violently overthrew the Cambodian government. During this time about 2 million Cambodians died via execution and starvation. My mom’s entire family including her father, mother, sisters and brother were among those killed.
I was moved to start Koliyan after returning from my honeymoon to Cambodia. It was a way for me to connect and share my culture with other Philadelphians in the best way I know how—food. Seeing Pol Pot’s name in a title of a blog post associated with my efforts to preserve the long standing beauty of my culture has inspired me to share more about my family’s history, which I’ll be doing in the weeks to come.
I just quickly dashed off a pun I’ve had in my pocket since 7th grade and published without thinking. It wasn’t the right thing to do and as soon as somebody said, “Hey fucko, that’s not the right thing to do.” I realized and took down the post. On my good days I’m better than that. So I offer an apology to Koliyan and all Cambodians with the exception of Pot himself, and y’know his henchmen and lackeys and minions and such, but to everyone else, I’m sorry.
We asked Hitchens for her thoughts on the incident, and this is what she emailed to us:
I wrote my response to Adam’s post to express how the dark period in Cambodia’s history is still affecting Cambodians today. I didn’t expect an apology or a response. The hardest part was telling my mom about it. She gracefully said in Khmer, “We’ve been living with this for over 30 years; they don’t know what we went through, you have to forgive.” Through this, I hope more people in my situation will stand up and share rather than react.
It’s part of our mission to make sure that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are covered fairly and accurately in the local media. If you read, hear or see something that you find unfair or inaccurate, email us at aajaphiladelphia AT gmail.com and we’ll review it and respond as necessary. For more resources, check out “AAJA’s “Handbook to Covering Asian-America.”
- Yowei Shaw and Juliana Reyes for AAJA-Philly
The AAJA National Convention in Washington, D.C., from August 13 to 16 this year will be a wonderful opportunity to network with other journalists from around the country, to participate in panel discussions with seasoned journalists, and to attend a career fair and résumé critique sessions.
For the fifth year in a row, AAJA-Philadelphia will be offering the John Curley Scholarship. This year, we will offer two scholarships, each up to $500, to help pay the expenses for two members to go to the annual convention.
Our ability to do so comes from the kind generosity of our donor, John Curley, the former president, chairman and CEO of the Gannett company, who has been a strong supporter of the Philadelphia chapter of AAJA.
WHAT: The chapter will reimburse the selected members up to $500 in expenses to attend the convention. These expenses include the registration fee for the convention, transportation, and hotel costs. (You may be asked to share your hotel room with another AAJA-Philly member.)
- You must be a current dues-paying AAJA-Philly chapter member to apply.
- We will consider current students or professionals who are trying to establish themselves in the journalism field or who are in financial need.
- Send a one-page essay telling the AAJA-Philly board why you want to go to the convention, how you think you will benefit from it, and why you need help with the expenses. E-mail your essay to:firstname.lastname@example.org
DEADLINE: Apply by the end of the day, Monday, March 31, 2014.
AAJA-Philly board members will review all applications and announce the scholarship winners by Tuesday, April 8. Expenses will be reimbursed in the form of a check after the convention. You must give us copies of your receipts.
(If a board member wants to apply, he/she will not be part of the judging process.)
The winning applicants will also be required to:
- Register for the convention by the early-bird registration date of Tuesday, April 15. (The early-bird student registration fee is $100; for professionals, it is $250.)
- Write a blog post about something you learned at the convention for our chapter website either at the convention or soon afterward. This could be a summary of things you learned, a Q+A with a speaker at the convention, or a summary of a panel discussion, for instance.
- Take a few pictures at the convention to be posted on our chapter website.
- Assist in the planning, promotion or day-of duties for an AAJA-Philly panel event currently scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014.
MORE INFORMATION: For more info about the convention, visit: www.aaja.org/dc2014
We encourage everyone who wants to go and who needs help with expenses to apply for this! Questions? Feel free to e-mail email@example.com.
Come to our first chapter meeting of the year. We are delighted to have a guest speaker: Helen Gym, board member of Asian Americans United, who will speak to us about a new report, A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the Northeast, which includes statistics about Asian Americans in Philadelphia.
What: AAJA-Philadelphia chapter meeting
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22
Where: Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News building, 801 Market Street, 3rd floor conference room
– Discussion led by Helen Gym, board member of Asian Americans United, regarding a new report about the state of Asian Americans in Philadelphia. Learn how different Asian ethnic groups are faring in terms of poverty, educational attainment, English language proficiency, and more. The report can be found at: www.advancingjustice.org
– Find out what the chapter plans are for the year.
RSVP: By Thursday, Feb. 20, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Jiwanmall is an anchor/video reporter for three suburban Philadelphia newspapers: Bucks County Courier Times, The Intelligencer, and Burlington County Times. He will soon be the anchor of the “Burlington County Times Update,” a hyperlocal daily newscast online for Burlington County. This past summer, he participated in the Voices program at the AAJA National Convention, where he co-anchored one of the newscasts. Stephen has been able to report on and share his Asian-American culture through his work, with videos on Ramadan, Diwali, and bhangra dancing.
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Rocky Road
Signature Saying: Is my hair sticking up?
Are you a AAJA member who would like to be featured on Member Monday? Contact Michelle Shinseki at email@example.com.
It could have been a scene out of a freelancer’s nightmare. Instead of pitching a story via email, freelancers were pitching to an entire panel of editors — and an audience.
That was the setup at the Asian American Journalists Association Philly chapter’s First Pitch, a master class on pitching held last November at Temple University. During the event, five Philadelphia editors critiqued pitches from freelancers. Some stories even made the cut: listen to Mary Schilling‘s story about South Jersey’s annual muskrat dinners on Newsworks.
Ultimately, editors aren’t always the last word, said David Preston, assistant city editor at the Philadelphia Daily News.
“If you have a pitch, don’t let me or anyone else tell you it’s no good,” he said. Maybe it’s not ready yet, he said, but if you’re passionate about it, you should stick with it.
Below, we recap tips from the editors at the event.
- Be surprising. “Tell me something I don’t know,” said Sandy Clark, deputy managing editor for arts, features and entertainment at the Inquirer. “Give me something we haven’t done before.”
- Make a case for your story. Clark said she wants to know, “Why would people care?” and “Why now?”
- Reach out to sources before the pitch. It gives your pitch credibility if you’ve already lined up interviews, said Eugene Sonn, audio news director at WHYY.
- It isn’t enough to have a good story. You need to be clear to editors about your angle and how you plan to approach it. This was the number one criticism that editors had during the event. After one pitch about an annual muskrat dinner, Sonn said he needed to know: What kind of story is this? Is it a National Geographic-type story? Is it a story about a tradition under siege? Is it a story about a quirky thing that happens every year?
- Give the editor specifics. Tell the editor when the story could run — don’t make an editor do that work, said Philadelphia Magazine news editor Brian Howard. For example, tell the editor, “This should be a front-of-book item for your April issue for X, Y and Z reasons.”
- Show that you’re capable. Sonn said he wants to hear past work so he knows that a reporter can handle producing her own pieces.
- Know the outlet you’re pitching to. Some outlets, like the Daily News, will be tougher because of things like union restrictions and because it has a “tiny” freelance budget, Preston said.
- Sometimes it helps if your story doesn’t look like all the others. News outlets can’t cover everything, so pitch a story that focuses on an under-covered issue. Said Preston, in a response to a pitch about a Chinatown-focused story: “I would be the first to admit that we do a lousy job of covering Chinatown and other ethnic communities. So I would be interested in stories like that.”
- Be up front about any personal interest or involvement you have with the story topic. That is not the kind of thing editors want to find out about later, said Brian Hickey, Northwest Philadelphia news editor at Newsworks.
- Don’t ask for payment until you’ve delivered. The same goes for pitching another story before you’ve finished the one you’re working on. Both are turn-offs, Clark said.
- Don’t take it personally. Rejection is inevitable, so try to learn from it, said freelance radio producer and event organizer Yowei Shaw. If your pitch is rejected, ask the editor why. Try to have a conversation with her about why it didn’t work.
- Juliana Reyes