Friday, June 5, 2009

Me at the 2009 National Ethnic Media Awards in Atlanta

In a sense, this is the picture I flew to Atlanta yesterday to get: me with the journalist who beat me in the In Depth/Investgative category of New America Media's 2009 Ethnic Media Awards. Her name is Kai Ma and her winning story about the gay marriage controversy in California's Korean communities "To have and to hold" appeared in KoreAm Journal (Los Angeles). My story "New beginning?" about fire department promtions in St. Louis was the runner-up.

Sandy Close, the semi-legendary longtime executive director of Pacifica News Service, founded and runs New America Media as an association of ethnic media. She was really pumped to have CNN anchor Richelle Carey emcee the show last night.

It was a night of highlights. Phillip Lee was one. He won in Commentary for an op-ed attacking the LPGA for a policy targeting non-English speaking golfers. It appeared in the all-volunteer Korean Quarterly (Minneapolis) and was the first piece he had ever written.

Vicky Gutierrez has voluptuous looks and a dramatic self-presentation that precedes her, but once she started talking she was all heart and intellect. She won Best Reporting on a Community Issue (TV) for a piece she did on KVEA Telemundo 52 (Los Angeles) about child farm workers.

"Which one do you think is the blogger?" a new friend from the University of Georgia Journalism School asked somewhat snarkily. Nezua, aka The Unapologetic Mexican, was pretty obviously the blogger. But again, his hip-hop attire was beside the point once he started talking with passion about his efforts with the blogging collective The Sanctuary (Portland, Oregon).

The best names among awardees went to Cindy Yip and Otis Fang of Sing Tao Radio (San Francisco), who won Best Reporting on a Community Issue (Radio) for a show they did (in Cantonese) based on a blog entry by a teacher in China who abandoned his students and ran for his life during the Sichuan earthquake last year.

I am not usually one to stick my mug in the pic, but I had to get one with my man Do Quy Toan, whose column "Sharks are targeting servicemen, elders and disabled people" for the Viet Tribune (San Jose) won in the Ethnic Elders category.

Yeah, I guess I had to get a picture of me with Sandy Close. Some of us are legends ... and some of us pose with legends.

That would be none other than former Fire Chief Sherman George, who wanted to get him and me posing with Richelle Carey, who was very friendly and eager for all updates on things in St. Louis. (She also said mine was the first name she had to read - and the easiest to pronounce.) I told the black firefighters that my story about their promotions battle had won an award, and Chief George flew down to support me.

And one more of me with some of the other runners up. Physical looks are beside the point when it comes to the hard work of journalism, but we are visual and superficial beings as well as soulful workers, so I have to say that I have been to a lot of journalism awards dinners, and the Ethnic Media Awards have the beautiful women journalists of the world on lock.

1 comment:

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Congrats! Nothing shameful about being runner-up in that competition. Good for you!