AAJA Honor Roll

December 24, 2010


A pioneer is one who opens up an area or prepares a way. A pioneer is somebody who does something for the first time or is one of the first to reach a goal, a territory, create a genre, who breaks through a barrier, blazes a trail, or helps open the doors for others to go through where no one of their kind has gone before.

The following Asian Pacific Americans listed here, whose heritage includes the continents of Asia, America and the islands of the Pacific Ocean, are pioneers in journalism.

They are first of their kind to practice journalism professionally for a U.S. news organization or create a journalistic vehicle using the English language in the so-called mainstream news media field, addressing ethnic communities or as a conscious counter or alternative to the mainstream.

The pioneers here are writers, reporters, photographers, photojournalists, filmmakers, motion picture and television camera people, film and video editors, radio-television community and public affairs producers or on-air hosts, editorial cartoonists, producers, directors, copy editors, make-up editors, assignment editors, columnists, war correspondents, foreign correspondents, senior editors, managing editors, executive editors, tape editors, press operators, broadcast engineers, network correspondents, on-air broadcast news anchors, news directors, publishers, media owners.

They are leaders in their field. They break through barriers of discrimination. They tell true stories about people and places. They strive to uphold the principles of truth, justice and freedom.

Additionally, the AAJA Honor Roll includes those who were outspoken advocates and active agents for change in the newsrooms and products of U.S. media organizations.


AAJA’s Honor Roll of Asian American Pioneers in Journalism is not definitive or complete. It is a living, working, breathing document.

The categories are Asian American Pioneers in U.S. Journalism (1925-1975); the Change Agents who fought for our rights to become working journalists in America; Pioneers in Asian Community Media, and Pioneers in Asian American Media.

We expect to know and hear of more pioneers as we continue to explore, discover and learn about our colleagues and the communities we share.

The AAJA Honor Roll represents what we know at this moment in time, with the understanding and expectation that there are more pioneers to be discovered and recognized, including those from earlier as well as later eras, that this list will grow and endure as more pioneers are found, as witnesses come forth or documentation is unearthed.


“Lest we forget those who came before us, let us now recognize, praise, honor and cherish these Asian American pioneers in journalism, sung and unsung, for their courage, vision and wisdom.”
– Written by Christopher Chow. Reprinted from AAJA’s 2010 Convention Book.

The ASIAN AMERICAN PIONEERS PROJECT was researched, edited and compiled by Christopher Chow and Suzanne Joe Kai.


Gobind Behari Lal (1925)
SF Examiner, Universal Service, Pulitzer for Science Writing 1937, Science Editor Emeritus-Hearst Newspapers

Louise Leung Larson (1926)
LA Record, Chicago Daily Times, LA Times Sunday Magazine, Santa Monica Evening Outlook

Larry Tajiri (1931)
Pacific Citizen Editor, Denver Post Literary & Arts Critic

Ah Jook Leung Ku (1935)
Honolulu Star-Bulletin – 1st Asian American reporter in Hawaii

Hai Sheng “Newsreel” Wong (1936) 
Hearst Metrotone News of the Day – 1st Asian American motion picture newsreel cameraman

Mayday Lo Walden (1936)
Paradise of the Pacific – 1st Asian American woman magazine writer in Hawaii, Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Norman Soong (1937)
NY Times Photojournalist – One of 1st Asian American photojournalists & war correspondent with major daily

Ella Chun (1937)
Honolulu Advertiser – 1st Asian American woman to write for the Honolulu Advertiser

Charles Leong (1939)
The Stars & Stripes, SF Chronicle – One of 1st Asian American writers for Army and San Francisco daily

Larry Nakatsuka (1939)
Honolulu Star Bulletin – 1st Japanese American reporter in Hawaii; covered Pearl Harbor Attack; AAJA Award

Howard Yuen (1942)
KSFO, KPIX – 1st Asian American Radio-TV engineer who helped launch 1st TV station in SF (KPIX)

William Hosokawa (1943)
Japanese American Courier, Denver Post – 1st Asian American senior editor on major U.S. daily

James M. Omura (1943)
Current Life, Rocky Shimpo

Carlos Bulosan (1943)
Saturday Evening Post – 1st Asian American to write for a major general circulation magazine

William Gee (1944)
Honolulu Star Bulletin – 1st Asian American sports writer and editor on major U.S. daily

Dr. Herb Wong (1945)
KJAZ-FM – 1st Asian American jazz journalist, music producer and among 1st Asian American radio announcers

Jen-Chung Chang (1946)
World War II Correspondent, President of Foreign Press Club, Tokyo, Japan

Tomi Kaizawa Knaefler (1947)
Honolulu Star Bulletin – 1st Japanese American woman reporter Hawaii, covered ‘60s national civil rights stories

Harriet Mun Gee (1949)
Honolulu Star Bulletin – One of 1st Asian American women to move from society to general news

Shurei Hirozawa (1950)
Honolulu Star Bulletin – 1st Asian American business and labor editor

Morgan Li Kung Jin (1950)
Newspaper Guild of NY Times, won $1.5 million class action discrimination suit resulting in affirmative action

Kenneth Cyril Wong (1950)
Chinese World Daily, SF Examiner 1980-86 – 1st Asian American news columnist in a San Francisco daily

Brij Lal (1951)
Voice of America (White House); ABC Radio News writer/editor – One of 1st Asian American broadcast journalists

Vincent Tajiri (1953)
Playboy Magazine Photo Editor

William T. Kong (1953)
Des Moines Register, SF Examiner – 1st Asian American recipient of SPJ’s Wells Memorial Key Award

Henry Moritsugu (1954)
Northern Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday – One of 1st Asian American editors, AAJA Award

George Lum (1954)
KPIX TV – 1st Chinese American TV Producer & Director of daily and evening newscasts and variety programs

Dorothy Ing Russell (1954)
United Press, Washington Post – 1st Asian American woman editor & 2nd woman editor hired by the Post

Sarah Park (1955)
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Korean War correspondent, Newseum Journalists Memorial Wall

Jack Matsumoto (1955)
One of 1st Asian American press photographers at Honolulu Star Bulletin

Kyung Won Lee (1955)
Charleston Gazette, Sacramento Union. Launched English edition of The Korea Times, as Editor. AAJA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. Newseum History Gallery inductee for investigative journalism.

Sam Chu Lin (1956)
WJPR, KOOL, CBS News, KTTV – 1st Asian American radio anchor; one of 1st Asian American network news reporters

William F. Woo (1957)
Kansas City Times, St. Louis Dispatch – 1st Asian American chief editor of a major daily

Ernie Flores (1957)
Arizona Republic – 1st Filipino American reporter in major U.S. daily

Jon Wing Lum (1957)
CBS 20th Century with Walter Cronkite – 1st Asian American network cameramen, catalytic cinema pioneer

Jack Ong (1958)
Mesa Arizona Daily Tribune – One of 1st Asian American reporters in Arizona and the Southwest

Bill Kwon (1959)
Honolulu Star-Bulletin – One of 1st Asian American sports columnists in U.S.

Chinn Ho (1961)
Star Bulletin & Pacific Daily News – 1st Asian American Owner of U.S. daily, Chairman, Gannett-Pacific Corp.

Henry Lorren Au (1961)
Sacramento Union – 1st Asian American press photographer in Sacramento, covering California capitol

Kyoichi Sawada (1961)
UPI – Photographer, Pulitzer Prize Winner for Vietnam War woman & children fleeing across river (1966)

David Chan (1962)
Playboy Magazine – One of 1st Asian American major magazine photographers

William Wong (1962)
SF Chronicle – 1st Asian American staff writer at Wall Street Journal, regional commentator on PBS Newshour

Gene Oishi (1963)
Associated Press, Baltimore Sun – 1st Asian American reporter covering nation’s capitol for the Baltimore Sun

Min S. Yee (1963)
Newsweek, Ramparts – 1st Asian American major news magazine reporter (Newsweek) and editor (Ramparts)

K. Connie Kang (1963)
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, LA Times – 1st Korean American woman reporter on U.S. mainland daily

David Kishiyama (1965)
Morro Bay Sun, LA Times, AAJA Founder – One of 1st Asian American staff writers for LA Times

Frank Ching (1965)
New York Times, Wall Street Journal – One of 1st Asian American editors at New York Times

Huynh (Nick) Cong Ut (1965)
Associated Press – Photographer, Pulitzer Prize for Napalm Girl 1973

Frank Chin (1966)
KING Screen Productions, WNET PBS, Writer-Host 1st national Asian American special, Chinaman Chance

Mario Machado (1967)
KHJ, KNXT CBS Sports – 1st Asian American Radio-TV reporter-anchor; sportscaster, consumer affairs reporter

Ben Fong-Torres (1967)
KFOG, Rolling Stone, KTVU – 1st Asian American editor at the executive level of a national magazine (Senior Editor of Rolling Stone)

Beulah Quo (1968)
KCOP, KNBC – One of 1st Asian American television public affairs producers in the country

Victor Wong (1968)
KQED Newsroom – Originated news photo-essay genre on pioneering daily news program of public broadcasting

Susan Almazol (1968)
San Francisco Examiner – 1st Filipina and first Asian American woman reporter

Emiko Omori (1968)
KQED Newsroom – 1st woman TV news cameraperson in SF, Filmmaker, Emmy Award for Rabbit in the Moon

John Wing (1968)
WNBC TV – one of 1st Asian American TV news cinematographers in New York

David Louie (1968)
NBC News, KGO – One of 1st Asian American TV news reporters; 1st Asian American TV reporter in Midwest

Stanford Chen (1969)
Portland Oregonian – 1st Asian American editor at The Portland Oregonian; AAJA Lifetime Award

Loni Ding, Ph.D. (1969)
KPIX, KQED, PBS – 1st bilingual Chinese-English TV series in US; Filmmaker, founded Independent Television Service

Gimmy Park Li (1969)
KNBR Radio – 1st Asian American radio public affairs producer in San Francisco

Lloyd LaCuesta (1969)
KTVU – 1st Filipino American TV news reporter in San Francisco, 1st National President of Unity ’94

Ken Kashiwahara (1969)
KHVH, KABC, ABC News – 1st Asian American network TV news anchor & war correspondent (Vietnam)

Suzanne Joe (Kai) (1969)
CBS SF, KRON TV, KTVU, KGO, KGUN, documentary filmmaker, StudioLA.TV – 1st Asian American female TV news reporter/host in San Francisco & Arizona

Connie Chung (1969)
WTTG, CBS News – 1st Asian American & and 2nd woman network evening news anchor

Christopher Chow (1970)
WMAQ, KPIX, KCET – 1st Asian American TV news reporter in SF, his hire triggered rush for AA TV reporters

Vic Lee (1969)
UPI, NY Times, KRON, KGO – One of 1st Asian American managing editors in San Francisco, general news TV reporter, w/ an Asian affairs beat

Charles Lee Moriwaki (1969)
KQED, KGO, Seattle Times – One of 1st AA TV news writer-producers & assignment editor in SF

Francisco “Corky” Trinidad (1969)
Honolulu Star Bulletin – 1st Asian American nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist

Tritia Toyota, Ph.D. (1970)
KNX, KNBC, KCBS TV – 1st Asian American woman reporter & evening news anchor in Los Angeles, AAJA Founder

Willie Kee (1970)
KTVU – 1st Asian American TV news cameraman in the SF Bay Area

Barbara Tanabe (1970)
KOMO, KHON TV – 1st Asian American woman TV reporter on West Coast, 1st AA woman Hawaii TV anchor

Al Young (1970)
Bridgeport Post-Telegram, Boston Globe – 1st Asian American mainland sports writer, editor and columnist

Margarett Loke (1971)
Ingenue, Cosmopolitan, NY Times Magazine – One of the 1st Asian American editors for national magazines

George Takei (1971)
KNBC Expressions East West – Host-Producer, One of 1st Asian American public affairs hosts

Rosy Chu (1971)
KTVU – one of 1st Asian American public affairs producer-hosts and managers in television

Rose Pak (1971)
SF Chronicle – 1st Asian American woman staff reporter at San Francisco Chronicle

Marilynn K. Yee (1971)
St. Louis-Dispatch, NY Times – 1st woman and among 1st Asian American photographers at NY Times

Sandi Eng (1971)
KGO Radio, One of 1st Asian American radio news producers in San Francisco

Dith Pran (1972)
New York Times – One of 1st AA photographers at NY Times, Survivor of Cambodia “killing fields” Subject of the Academy Award-winning film The Killing Fields

Linda Shen (1972)
WNET, KPIX – 1st Asian American woman television news reporter in New York

Sumi Sevilla Haru (1972)
KTLA – 1st Filipino TV regular in Los Angeles as host-producer of The Gallery, 70’s Woman and 80’s Woman

Frank Kwan (1970)
KCOP TV, KNBC – One of 1st Asian American public affairs host-producers, AAJA Founder

Nancy Yoshihara (1970)
LA Times – One of 1st Asian American women reporters at Los Angeles Times, AAJA Founder

Joann Lee, Ph.D. (1973)
KOVR, WLS, WCAU, CNN – 1st Asian American woman TV news reporter-anchor in 3 markets & cable network

Joanne Ishimine (1973)
KABC TV – 1st Asian American woman reporter-anchor at KABC Los Angeles

Bruce Koon (1973)
KQED News Director, Pioneering online editor established Knight-Ridder Digital Center as Exec. News Editor

Curtiss Kim (1973)
KNBR Radio, KFTY TV – 1st Asian American Radio Reporter in San Francisco

Felicia Lowe (1973)
KNBC, KGO TV – One of 1st female Asian American TV reporters & public affairs hosts in SF, documentary filmmaker

Robert Handa (1973)
KNTV, KTEH, KTVU – News reporter. Integrated Silicon Valley newsrooms in print & broadcast

Dwight Chuman (1970)
Rafu Shimpo (Editor), KCET – One of 1st Asian American writer-producers at KCET. AAJA Founder

Peter Bhatia (1974)
The Oregonian (Editor) – 1st Asian American President of American Society of Newspaper Editors; 7 Pulitzers won by newsrooms he has helped lead

Paul Sakuma (1974)
Associated Press – One of 1st Asian American press photographers in SF; Pulitzer Prize Finalist (1975)

Emil Guillermo (1974)
KLOL, KRON, NPR – 1st Asian American male and first Filipino American to host a national news program

Linda Yee (1973)
KRON TV, KPIX TV, News reporter – One of 1st Asian American public affairs producer-writers to cross over to news

Ronald C. Patel (1974)
Philadelphia Inquirer – 1st Asian American Sunday Editor & president of Newspaper Features Council

Kaity Tong (1974)
KPIX, WABC TV – 1st Asian American Evening News Anchor New York

Ginny Poon Yamate (1974)
KPIX, KGO TV – One of the 1st Asian American public affairs producers & managers in Radio-TV in SF

Pamela Young (1975)
KPIX, KQED – 1st Asian American staff reporter on KQED Newsroom; Anchor KITV Hawaii

Corky Lee (1975)
Freelance Photojournalist – Time, New York Times, AP, Village Voice, with a focus on Asian America

Alan Fong (1975)
KCBS Radio – 1st Asian American radio commentator in San Francisco

Linda Yu (1975)
KATU, WLS – 1st Asian American TV news reporter in Oregon, one of 1st Asian American anchors in Chicago

Jon Funabiki (1975)
San Diego Union – 1st Asian American editorial page editor of San Diego Union

Ted Shen (1975)
Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine – 1st Asian American critic in Chicago

Judge Julie Tang (1975)
KRON TV, Wah Kue – 1st Chinese American bilingual host of weekly public affairs program

Jan Yanehiro (1975)
KFRC, KPIX Evening Magazine – One of the 1st journalists to introduce the magazine format to television

Serena Chen (1975)
KTVU Asians Now, co-host and co-producer – 1st weekly multilingual Asian American public affairs program

Annie Nakao (1975)
Coast Magazine, SF Examiner, LA Herald Examiner, innovator of civic journalism, AAJA Award

Bill Sing (1979)
Los Angeles Times business editor, economics editor, AAJA Founder

Pioneers Who Advocated for the Hiring and Promotion of Asian Americans in Mainstream Media

Dr. L. Ling-chi Wang
Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley, Asian American Studies Scholar and Activist, Dr. Wang co-founded the Asian American civil rights organization, Chinese for Affirmative Action. Dr. Wang fought for equal employment opportunities in many industries, including desegregating the all-male, all-white mainstream newsrooms of San Francisco in the late 1960s and early 70s. Once the first Asian Americans broke the barriers to be hired to work as journalists on-camera in San Francisco’s TV news, stations nationwide began hiring Asian Americans.

Justice Harry W. Low
Presiding Justice, California Appellate Court (Ret)/JAMS; Civil Rights Advocate & Documentary Exec. Producer, Separate Lives, Broken Dreams. During the 1967-1972 period when most SF television and radio newsrooms did not employ Asian Americans, he would become one of the “bridges” between the broadcast stations in SF and the Chinese American community.

Hon. Lim P. Lee
1st Asian American Postmaster of SF, Co-Founder of the Chinese American Democratic Club, Civil Rights Advocate.

Sumi Sevilla Haru
Co-Founder & former national chair of the SAG Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee; SAG national board member since 1974 & AFTRA national board member since 1976.


Ng Poon Chew
Chung Sai Yat Po (Chinese Daily)

Victorio A. Velasco
Philippine Seattle Colonist, Philippine American Review, The Filipino Forum

Walter U. Lum
Chinese Times, Young China

James Sakamoto
Japanese American Courier

Misao Sakamoto
Japanese American Courier

Larry Tajiri
Pacific Citizen, Denver Post

Tsuguyo (Marion) Tajiri
Pacific Citizen

James M. Omura
Current Life, Rocky Shimpo, was in a debate about post-war/camp Japanese America on KLZ Radio in 1947

Togo Tanaka
Rafu Shimpo

China Daily News
Members of the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance of New York

Gilbert Woo
Chinese Pacific Weekly

Ernie Flores
Arizona Republic, San Diego Union, Filipino Press

John Fang
Chinese Daily Post, SF Independent, AsianWeek

Michi Onuma
Nichi Bei Times, Hokubei Mainichi

Alex Esclamado
The Philippine News

Harry Honda
Pacific Citizen

Gordon Lew
East West Journal

Yen Ngoc Do
Nguoi Viet Daily News

Kyung Won (K.W.) Lee
Koreatown Weekly, Korea Times


UCLA student Founders, Dinora Gil, Laura Ho, Mike Murase, Tracy Okida, Colin Watanabe, Bruce Iwasaki, Seigo Hayashi, Steve Tatsukawa, Candace Ota, Mike Nakayama, & Dean Toji.

San Francisco Journal
Maurice Chuck Founder, Publisher; Min S. Yee, Katheryn M. Fong, Russell Lowe, Jane Gorai, Rita Yee, Forrest Gok, Eddie Foronda.

Amerasia Journal
UCLA Dir. & Prof. Asian American Studies Center Don T. Nakanishi, was Founding Publisher with fellow Yale student Lowell Chun-Hoon, Founding Editor. A scholarly journal & current events. Became part of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center from 1972 to the present.

Peter Chow, Frank Ching, Margarett Loke, Danny N.T. Yung.

Chinese Youth Voice
Him Mark Lai, Judy Poon, weekly public affairs program on KPFA Pacific Radio

AmAsia TV
Prof. Leo Chen, first owned & operated Asian American TV

International Examiner
Gerald Yuasa, Larry Imamura Founding Publishers, Sold to Alaskan Cannery Workers Assn, Publishers Nemesio & Silme Domingo.

Dupont Guy
Katheryn M. Fong, Russell Lowe, Christopher Chow, Curtis Choy, Connie Young Yu. Weekly news, dramatic satire, interviews.

Franklin Wu, First regular newscast for overseas Chinese Americans in San Francisco.

Royal F. Morales, Social Worker, UCLA Filipino American studies lecturer. 

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