Seattle Chapter Member: Lori Matsukawa

Lori is an anchor and reporter at KING-TV in Seattle and helped co-found AAJA-Seattle in 1985. She has worked in Portland, Ore., and Redding, Calif. She attended public schools in Hawaii and thought she would be a piano teacher until she became Miss Teenage America 1974 and decided it would be more fun to get paid to travel the country and interview people.


What is your life motto?
The surfing mantra:  “No Fear.” One cannot live in fear or worry. A close second is the motto I saw at the Dumbo ride in Disneyland:  “Believe and Soar.”  If you think about it, they belong together.

What advice would you give to aspiring journalists?
Ultimately, a journalist is a storyteller. Our stories describe our hopes, dreams and lives. Our history and future as human beings reside in our stories, which are meant to be shared. There is, therefore, no more important calling.

The importance of AAJA?
When I began my career, there was no organization promoting and encouraging aspiring Asian American journalists. It’s different now and I’m glad. We can all go higher and farther together.

I was born and raised in Hawaii. I attended public schools and thought I’d be a piano teacher. I decided to become a journalist during my year as Miss Teenage America 1974, because I thought it would be great to be paid to go to places like the Kentucky Derby and talk to people.

I interned summers at the Honolulu Advertiser and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford. I accepted a job at KRCR-TV in Redding, Calif., because I figured I needed to be young and strong to lift camera gear. I decided I could be a print reporter when I grew toothless and wrinkled.

After KRCR, I worked at KPTV in Portland, Ore., KOMO-TV in Seattle and joined KING-TV in 1983 as an anchor, reporter and program co-host. I received an American Scene Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, several ARBYs from the Academy of Religious Broadcasters,  was inducted into the University of Washington Department of Communications Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Asian American Journalists Association.  Haven’t won an Emmy yet.

I reported from Tokyo on the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I reported from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Other major stories include Governor Gary Locke’s first mission to China in 1997 and a series of reports on Washington apples and businesses in Japan in 1995 and 1991. I filed live reports for NBC affiliates during the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. My personal favorite was when I pulled 9-Gs in an F-16 in 1999.

I am also a wife and mother and do a lot of volunteering for children and families.

Learn more about other AAJA members profiled for AAPI Month.