AAJA Announces 2017 Award Winners

    

The 2017 AAJA National Journalism, Membership and Special Awards were announced on Saturday, July 29 at the 28th Annual Gala Scholarship & Awards Banquet during this year’s national convention in Philadelphia. Congratulations to this year's winners!

 

National Journalism Awards

 

GENERAL EXCELLENCE

 

Written Journalism 

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Alexa Olesen

 

The Panama Papers: Leaked Files Offer Many Clues to Offshore Dealings by Top Chinese

 

Television/Online

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Lesley Stahl, Ayesha Siddiqi, Richard Bonin, Richard Buddenhagen

 

The Arctic Frontier

 

 

Radio/Audio

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Liz Jones, Ruby de Luna, Amina Al-Sadi, Kate Walters, Isolde Raftery, Carol Smith, Whitney Henry-Lester

 

If These Wall Could Talk

 

 

Multimedia

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Moni Basu

 

These Crossings Are Nothing But Fatal

 

 

 

 

Student Journalism

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Alyssa Perry

 

These Korean Adoptees Grew Up Like Typical American Kids. Then They Learned They Weren’t Citizens

 

ASIAN AMERICAN PACIFIC ISLANDER ISSUES

 

Written Journalism

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Shayla Love

 

My grandparents survived the Cultural Revolution: Have I inherited their trauma?

 

 

Television/Online

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Ryan Yamamoto, Suzanne Phan, David Hosley

 

Arnold Knows Me: The Tommy Kono Story

 

 Radio/Audio

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Molly Solomon

 

Sugar plantation Closure Marks End of a Way of Life in Hawaii

 

Multimedia

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Alvin Chang

 

How the Internet Keeps Poor People in Poor Neighborhoods

 

Student Journalism

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Vivian Wang

 

Caucus Seeks to Connect Asian-Americans, Beacon Hill

 

 

   

Membership Awards

 

 2017 

 

Member of the Year

 

Paul Cheung

 

Director of Visual Journalism, NBC

 

AAJA-New York

 

President of the Year

 

Liberty Zabala

 

Reporter/Anchor, NBC7

 

AAJA-San Diego

 

Chapter of the Year

 

AAJA-San Diego

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mentor of the Year

 

Jonathan Choe

 

Reporter, NBC Boston

 

AAJA-New England

 

Mentee of the Year

 

Allyson Escobar

 

Freelance Writer/Student

 

AAJA-Los Angeles

 

ELP Outstanding Leadership Award

Ken Moritsugu

 

News Director, Japan and the Koreas, Associated Press

 

AAJA-Asia

 

 

 PREVIOUS WINNERS 

Member of the Year

2016 Shawn Nicole Wong

2015 Pamela Wu

2014 Bobby Calvan

2013 Richard Lui

2012 Julie Tam (Texas), Bobby Calvan (D.C.), Jam Sardar (Michigan)

2011 Frank Witsil

2010 Lisa Chung and

Craig Gima

2009 Cynthia Wang

2008 Paul Cheung and Ivette Yee

2007 George Kiriyama

2006 Neal Justin

2005 Randall Yip

2004 Keith Kamisugi

2003 Pradnya Joshi

2002 Sandy Louey

2001 Amy Wang

2000 Anthony Ramirez

1999 Aki Soga

1998 Michael and Alix Quan

1997 Dalton Tanonaka

1996 Kimberly Moy

President of the Year

2016 Anjana Schroeder (Michigan)

2015 Mai Hoang (Seattle)

2014 Ramy Inocencio (Asia)

2013 Sandy Louey (Sacramento) and Jocelyn "Joz" Wang (Los Angeles)

2012 Julie Shaw (Philadelphia)

2011 Sanjay Bhatt (Seattle)

2010 Ryan O. Kim (San Francisco/Bay Area)

2009 Vino Wong (Atlanta)

2008 Victoria Lim (Florida)

2007 Lorene Yue (Chicago)

2006 Henry Fuhrmann and

Rachanee Srisavasdi(Los Angeles)

2005 Murali Balaji (Philadelphia)

2004 Ted Shen, posthumously (Chicago)

2003 Anh Do (Los Angeles)

2002 Cheryl Tan (Washington, D.C.)

2001 Denise L. Poon (Los Angeles)

2000 Lee Ann Kim (San Diego)

1999 Mi Young Hwang (Chicago)

1998 Bonnie Lee (San Francisco/Bay Area)

1997 Nancy Yoshihara (Los Angeles)

1996 Esther Wu (Texas)

Chapter of the Year

2016 Asia

2015 Seattle

2014 New York

2013 Asia

2012 Asia

2011 Minnesota

2010 Sacramento

2009 New England

2008 Seattle

2007 Los Angeles

2006 Sacramento

2005 Seattle

2004 San Diego and Washington, D.C.

2003 Texas

2002 San Francisco/Bay Area

2001 New York

2000 Atlanta

1999 New England

1998 Florida

1997 Minnesota

1996 Hawai’i

 

 

 


Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism

 

Julia B. Chan, Director of Audience, Mother Jones & Scott Pham, Data Journalist, Reveal, for their piece "Portraits of A Trump Supporter"

 

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This award, from a partnership of AAJA and the Gannett Foundation, recognizes groundbreaking work by an individual or team of current AAJA full members in creatively using digital tools in community watchdog journalism. Special consideration is given to journalism that helps a community understand and address important issues. Criteria for evaluating innovation include interactivity, creation of new tools, adaptation of existing tools, and creative use of any digital medium.

The judges stated that "the Reveal team's work came out in January 2016 and looks prophetic in the wake of the presidential election. Now that Trump is president we can see that 10 months before the election the Reveal team nailed the big story that the rest of America would be talking about."

"The project's multimedia and interactive elements included using online polling data to identify the most important issues to Trump supporters, and showing portraits of Trump's faithful with audio of them explaining their views. 


Lifetime Achievement Award

 

Nick Ut, Retired Photographer, Associated Press

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This award honors an Asian American or Pacific Islander who has demonstrated courage and commitment to the principles of journalism over the course of a life’s work.

The judge's remark "Some photojournalists leave a mark with one or a series of iconic, history-defining images. Others do so with a rich, expansive body of work over time.

Nick is that uncommon photographer who did both -- with determination, enthusiasm, and humanity.

Certainly, his photo dubbed 'Napalm girl" has come to define the horrors of war in general and of its impact on children and other civilians in Vietnam in particular. But it was also Ut's actions following that photo -- the scooping-up of the injured girl, the rendering of aid, the insistence and securing of medical help -- that earned him, rightfully, a place in the annals of heroics in journalism.

Ut's work that followed -- in a new country, of new settings and new storylines -- demonstrated a photographer who continues to learn, to elevate his game and to capture events with an unflinching eye." 


Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights & Social Justice

 

Vanessa Hua, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle

 

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This award recognizes excellence in coverage of Asian American Pacific Islander civil rights and social justice, causes the late doctor promoted for all Americans but especially women and Asian Americans.

The judges note, "Vanessa Hua has produced consistently award winning writing. Through her column in the San Francisco Chronicle and other works, she routinely explores civil rights and social justice issues for Asian Americans. She explores topics in discrimination from the obvious hate crimes to the unseen wage discrimination to the casual preconceptions about Asian Americans. These publications give a voice to the vulnerable, and her work is exemplary for the Suzanne Ahn Award. Therefore, the winner 2017 Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights and Social Justice is Vanessa Hua."


Leadership in Diversity

 

The Seattle Times newsroom for “Under Our Skin

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This award honors an individual or corporation that has made strides in promoting and demonstrating diversity in the news media industry. The Leadership in Diversity Award winner is selected by the AAJA National Board.

The Seattle Times newsroom’s diversity efforts grew out of conversations about how they were covering race at a time when local and national events – the furor over police shootings, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and protests on college campuses – dominated headlines. Led by women and people of color, a small group of Seattle Times journalists started talking about how to improve and deepen their coverage. One major effort was “Under Our Skin,” an interactive video project exploring 12 often-contentious words about race, from “microaggression” to “white privilege.” The team spent hours building trust with some interviewees who didn’t think The Seattle Times – or the media in general – accurately portrays their lives.

Since June 2016, “Under Our Skin” has become one of the most-visited places on The Seattle Times website, and continues to spark conversations in local and national organizations – including the University of Washington football team, the Seattle office of the FBI and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Two members of the “Under Our Skin” team also started leading regular newsroom meetings examining diversity in The Seattle Times coverage. This project has changed the way The Seattle Times newsroom thinks about and presents sensitive stories. One example: The day after The Seattle Times ran a front-page photo of Bill Clinton when Hillary Clinton had been nominated to be president, the newsroom ran a front-page apology. To their knowledge, The Seattle Times was the only newspaper to do so.

More recently, “Under Our Skin” team members formed an official task force on diversity and inclusion in their newsroom – and even more initiatives are currently in the works. The team believes these efforts offer a lasting model for how to cover and talk about race and diversity, inside and outside newsrooms.  


President's Award

 

Alex Tizon

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This year's President's Award goes to Alex Tizon, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, embodied the best of what journalism can be. He told the stories of often overlooked communities and people with depth and resonance, and in doing so, sparked changes and inspired countless other journalists. Tizon was one of three Seattle Times reporters who won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for a series of stories exposing corruption in the federally sponsored housing program for Native Americans. Those stories led to changes in the program. During his 17 years at The Seattle Times, Tizon crossed the ocean, reporting from Asia, and crisscrossed America, talking with everyday Americans following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He delved into local communities, writing about the lives of street gang members and those of elderly Asian Americans, among many others.
Tizon was one of three Seattle Times reporters who won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for a series of stories exposing corruption in the federally sponsored housing program for Native Americans. Those stories led to changes in the program. During his 17 years at The Seattle Times, Tizon crossed the ocean, reporting from Asia, and crisscrossed America, talking with everyday Americans following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He delved into local communities, writing about the lives of street gang members and those of elderly Asian Americans, among many others.


Tizon served as Seattle bureau chief for The Los Angeles Times for about five years and contributed to publications including The Atlantic and Newsweek. His well-received memoir, "Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self," about growing up as an Asian American man in the U.S., was published in 2014.

He mentored, taught and encouraged many other journalists and students, most recently as an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon.

Tizon died unexpectedly, of natural causes, on March 23, 2017. He was 57.

 

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OUR AWARD WINNERS!

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For questions about the AAJA awards, please contact Daniel Garcia at danielg@aaja.org.