Michigan Chapter Member: Carolyn Chin

Chin is a young professional who is career-focused — she’s a work-hard, play-hard enthusiast. Chin is a news and features designer at the Detroit News. This year, she embarked on a new journey as AAJA Michigan’s co-president. She loves cooking, crafts and design and fashion. See Chin’s portfolio.


What’s your life motto?
Know that what you know is ever-changing. Embrace the opportunity you have to live, love and learn because these are freedoms people die fighting for.

AAJA involvement
I’ve been involved with AAJA since my freshman year of college. In 2008, I was chosen to attend UNITY Student Campus and in 2009 I was chosen to work on AAJA Voices student projects as a reporter. Two years later, I returned to Voices as a professional mentor alongside the pros who I still look up to for motivation and help. I’ve kept the train moving along by taking on a new responsibility as  AAJA Michigan Chapter co-president with Howard Chen. AAJA is an organization that I truly want stay active in.

Why did you become a journalist? What inspired you?
For me, it’s simple — I do what I love. I do what makes me happy and what I find excitement in. A lot of people seem to be fleeing the industry left and right. I don’t blame them. I have thought about it and what it comes down to is that I can’t give up on something that drives so much of my every day. News is what keeps us all connected and there’s no giving up on that.
Why is media diversity important to you?
Here’s the way I describe diversity and its importance in newsrooms:

There’s a potluck dinner. You bring mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are delicious, yes? Yes. But do we really want 20 bowls of mashed potatoes? We neither want nor need it. What we need is potatoes, dessert, rice, burgers, chicken, salad, tacos, chips & dip, enchiladas, etc.

This is what diversity in the newsroom does. It brings to the table what we’re made of — our thoughts, beliefs, knowledge, opinions and flavor. Without that, we’re stuck with a whole lot of mashed potatoes.

What do I love most about being Asian American?
Here’s the thing about race in America — it’s a huge issue. But it’s still an issue of black and white. So where do Asian Americans fit into the mix? I would say that a large chunk of the American population is painfully unaware of different cultures.  What I love about my Asian American roots is that it actually helps me forge bonds with people of different races and backgrounds. I’ve floated from different friends groups, predominantly white or predominantly black but never equally mixed. I asked them why. The overwhelming answer is that each group is not opposed to making friends that are a different race, but because the opportunity never arises where they can make those bonds. But for me, an Asian American, it didn’t seem so difficult to stumble upon the opportunity.

Learn more about other AAJA members profiled for AAPI Month.