Van Tieu and Derek Opina were selected in July to be the new co-chairs of AASMBJ (Asian American Small Market Broadcast Journalists). “Both have great stories,” said immediate past AASMBJ co-chair Maria Hechanova. “Van is a Voices alumna and Derek was recruited through an AAJA meet and greet in college. Their energy and passion? Contagious.”
Founded in 2009, AASMBJ provides networking opportunities and a support system for AAJA members working at small-market television stations or at mid-size and large-market stations as entry-level production assistants and desk assistants. Together they address how to succeed in small markets, dealing with challenges such as a sense of isolation, transitioning to larger markets and other issues. Follow them on Twitter.
Van Tieu (AAJA-New York) is the weekend anchor and medical reporter for NBC affiliate KFYR in Bismarck, North Dakota. Prior to KFYR, Van was a one-man-band news assistant for NY1 and an associate producer for CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight and Anderson Cooper 360 in New York City.
She worked on interviews ranging from Bill Clinton, Mitt Romney, and Mamoud Ahmadinjad, to Charlie Sheen, the Kardashians, Jesse Ventura, and Robert Blake. Van also covered breaking news including the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, CT, the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, the death of Whitney Houston, and election night 2012.
She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and is an alumna of the University of California Santa Barbara. Van joined AAJA in 2004 when she traveled to Washington, D.C. for UNITY as a sophomore in high school. Since then, she’s been an active member with the Los Angeles and New York City chapters and AAJA’s 2010 Voices Student Project.
Derek Opina (AAJA-Los Angeles) is a sports reporter/anchor for KFBB, the ABC/FOX affiliates in Great Falls/Helena, Mont.
Before moving to Montana, he covered the Los Angeles Lakers and other professional and collegiate sports in Southern California. The most memorable event in Derek’s career was covering game seven of the 2010 NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Celtics. Derek is a So Cal native and proud Cal State Fullerton Titan.