Should I join AAJA? I haven’t in the past …
— Alex K. Fong 邝士英 (@alexkfong) February 9, 2022
In February, Alex Fong, the San Francisco Chronicle’s deputy creative director for design, sent a tweet asking for a little guidance on whether he should join AAJA. He received enthusiastic replies that yes, he absolutely should!
And we’re thrilled he followed the advice.
As a new member, our chapter wanted to ask him why he made the decision to join the AAJA family and what it means to him, after 16 years in journalism. (This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity):
What’s your role at The Chronicle?
I am in charge of both print and digital design. But mostly I focus on digital, and I’m generally project managing most of our big digital projects.
Why did you ask the Twitterverse about joining AAJA?
I find myself now being more of a senior member of the newsroom than ever before, and there are younger journalists of color who are not in mentoring. So, I was wondering, should I be participating in a professional organization that is all about making sure that POC’s are getting mentoring and the sort of visibility that they need?
What motivated you to eventually join?
The comment that really helped me was Martin Gee’s comment. We worked together at the San Jose Mercury News. Similarly to me, he never really participated in AAJA until recently, and a part of his thinking was that AAJA does advocacy on issues that relate to us Asian Americans. That’s something that struck me as being very important … maybe this is the time where I needed to participate in an organization that was dedicated to that.
What do you hope to get out of your AAJA membership?
I’d like to perhaps start an affinity group for design and developers because in the past, AAJA seemed like it was directed toward reporters or broadcast (journalists). So that’s something that I would like to draw out of it, to celebrate the mix of the different professional stuff that Asian Americans do in journalism.