Washington, D.C., Chapter Member: Sisi Wei

Sisi is an interactive graphics designer and journalist who aspires to use stunning and interactive visual displays to tell stories that attract even the most uninterested reader. She believe that transforming complex information into easily comprehensible parts can be a beautiful thing, and she hopes to bring more engaging graphics to today’s newsrooms. Sisi is a graphics editor at the Washington Post and has interned at the Wall Street Journal and Associated Press.


Who do you look up to in the news industry as a role model?I look up to anyone who intrepidly pursues what they want to do, and with vigor, pushes themselves to improve at every opportunity.  I see this in many of my colleagues at the Post, and the talented people I’ve had the honor of working with in other newsrooms as an intern.  I look up to each and every one of them as a role model.

How did you get involved with AAJA?
I first registered as a student member in high school, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2010 that I truly got involved with AAJA. I was interning in the interactive graphics department of the AP, and with Paul Cheung’s encouragement and Shazna Nessa’s support, I attended the Los Angeles conference alongside them that year. I met amazing journalists, made real connections and realized how beneficial a conference like AAJA is for student journalists.

Why did you decide to become a journalist? What inspired you?
It’s the same reason I am a journalist today. I want to tell stories that matter. I want to inform people about the world they live in, and I want to hold public officials accountable to the public that elected them.

My inspiration came from my high school newspaper. We published on a biweekly schedule and in two years, I did nearly every job we had: reporter, editor/designer, editor in chief; and I loved it all. So I applied and attended journalism school, and now I work in journalism.

Why is media diversity important to you?
I believe the reporting strength of any newsroom directly reflects the diversity of the newsroom itself. The more issues we seek to cover, explore and explain to our readers, the more we need to value diversity in our journalists. It’s certainly nothing new (and it may be undisputed), but I believe it wholeheartedly: When journalists from different cultures or socioeconomic backgrounds come together, we do a much better job (un)covering the stories that matter to our diverse readers.

What do you love most about being Asian American? What are you most proud of?
Growing up in America, I took lessons in Chinese dancing, brush painting and guzheng (a Chinese zither), alongside going to swim, speech and debate practices. My parents sent me to Chinese school and made sure I would never forget my Mandarin, or disconnect from my Chinese culture. I feel extremely lucky to have grown up in an environment that allowed me to really understand and experience two cultures at once — as well as how they clashed and how they were merging. That dual experience is both what I am most proud of, and what I love most about being Asian American.

Learn more about other AAJA members profiled for AAPI Month.