Ballots have been emailed to current AAJA-S.F. Bay Area Chapter members to elect new leadership for 2024. Below are statements from the candidates who are running:
Assistant opinion editor, columnist
San Francisco Chronicle
In college, I was fortunate to be awarded AAJA scholarships from the Sacramento and S.F. Bay Area chapters. AAJA gave me the support I needed to pursue my career, and it wasn’t just financial.
Being part of AAJA opened doors that have helped me and so many others over the years. It really is an AAJA family.
I want to give back to our AAJA family as much as I have received. That’s why I’ve volunteered as a professional mentor for the student Voices project and served on the national Media Watch Committee. It’s also why I joined the S.F. Bay Area Chapter board in 2021. I became treasurer in 2022 and served as interim president in 2023 when most officer and board positions were vacated.
With your vote, I’d like to serve an elected term as president in 2024.
My goal is to rebuild the chapter’s leadership so we can return to serving the membership and support AAJA’s mission to advance diversity in newsrooms and ensure fair and accurate coverage of communities of color.
I look forward to helping reinvigorate the chapter’s activities and programming with a new slate of officers and board members. Thanks for your consideration.
Vice president (two positions)
AAJA has been an important part of my life and career since I attended my first convention in Chicago in 1998. I was invited to a dinner with S.F. Bay Area Chapter members David Louie, Janice Gin, Rosy Chu and Doug Louie, and it was an evening that was life-changing.
Over these years, I’ve been grateful for the guidance and advice of mentors, the caring and support of lifelong AAJA friends and the amazing strength of this organization as a space for advocacy and journalistic integrity, and for career and personal growth.
After years of participating in the Mentor Program and balancing work with parenting and caregiving, I’d like to lean in and give more time to help this AAJA S.F. Bay Area Chapter, which helped set me on this path.
I have been at KTVU since 2007 and have deep roots in the Bay Area Japanese American and Asian American communities. If elected as vice president, I would work to leverage my connections and experience to:
- Increase interactions between our veteran members and new members across platforms
- Find ways to strengthen ties between the chapter and existing community allies, as well as develop new relationships so AAJA is well-known to communities in the Bay Area
- Increase outreach to high school students about careers in journalism
I am excited to be considered for a position with AAJA-S.F. Bay Area Chapter. I have significant experience as president of a nonprofit organization, and I have demonstrated a commitment to raising AAPI voices in the Bay Area.
I have always been deeply involved in local Asian American organizations, most significantly with the San Francisco Chapter of the Taiwanese American Professionals, which similar to AAJA-S.F. Bay Area, is the local branch of a national organization.
In 2013, I managed public relations effort for the Taiwanese American Culture Festival (the largest of its kind on the West Coast) in Union Square, building relationships with and generating media coverage for the event. From there, I was elected president, where I oversaw a team of board and committee members to organize events, fundraise, build membership and raise awareness of Taiwanese culture.
Under my leadership, we hosted monthly mixers, leadership retreats, cultural appreciation workshops and professional development panels. We also organized two major events, including the Taiwanese American Citizens League National Convention, which brought community organizers and leaders together for a dayslong conference in San Francisco, and the annual Taiwanese American Festival, which attracts tens of thousands of people each year.
I am proud to share that during my time as president, all of our programming was profitable, and we boasted a membership count of 2,700 professionals across the Bay Area.
With regard to AAJA, I am proud to have been involved with the organization since my undergraduate days at UC Berkeley. AAJA awarded me one of my first journalism scholarships, allowing me to get on-air experience at the UNITY Journalists of Color conference, which exposed me to a network that helped me get my first newsroom job.
I know first-hand the benefits of being an AAJA member and would like to support next-generation journalists the way the organization helped me.
Finally, I believe strongly in the power of thoughtful, purposeful community organizing and storytelling to spark positive change and bridge information gaps. If elected, I would like to build relationships with other affinity groups, businesses and newsrooms in the Bay Area to elevate AAJA’s brand locally, to come up with creative ways to attract new members and offer smart, thoughtful programming to support our organization.
Thank you for your consideration.
Freelance filmmaker and visual journalist
I am a documentary filmmaker and visual journalist who was born and raised in Japan. I previously contributed as a local reporter to the San Francisco Examiner, KQED and The Oregonian. I cover stories on racial justice, identity, gender equity and the complex history of California’s diverse communities.
I received my bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Francisco State University, where I first became involved in AAJA. I received my master’s of journalism from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where I revamped the student chapter of AAJA to make it a thriving community of young journalists.
As a member of the AAJA-S.F. Bay Area Chapter leadership, I would bring a fresh perspective as a young journalist to my duties as an organizer. I am passionate about inspiring other journalists to become involved and build community around our intersectional identities and shared experiences as AAPI journalists.
San Francisco Chronicle
I’ve been attending AAJA-S.F. Bay Area Chapter events for years, and I’d like to help grow the organization, engage members and build community.
I think it’s vital to grow our local connections, particularly through in-person events as our industry and the Bay Area emerges from the pandemic.
As a veteran journalist with experience in event organizing, fundraising and social media, I’m hopeful that my skill set can benefit the chapter and community.
Thanks for your consideration.
At-large board member (four positions)
Manager of social programming
I first attended an AAJA National Convention in 2019 in Atlanta. Back then, I was unaware of not only how big and welcoming the AAPI community was in this industry, but also overwhelmed by the opportunities to give back to the upcoming generation of leaders in the media space. It motivated me then and there to get more involved.
This past summer, I was lucky enough to take part in my first in-person panel at the AAJA Convention in Washington, D.C., alongside Varoon Bose (Bleacher Report), Mark Kim (The Athletic) and Pranav Iyer (AMAZN), where we had a thoughtful discussion around the current state of social media and its role in the industry at large. To me and the other panelists, it felt like a big step toward taking on more responsibility and leadership in the future of this convention.
I lay this roughly four-year journey out because it illustrates how much I’ve grown in such a short period of time. Even with a few virtual conventions (which I was very thankful for during a time of isolation) and now three in-person conventions, each year, I’ve come to fully appreciate how powerful and impactful AAJA can be and will continue to be for current media members like myself and young prospects who aspire to be the future leaders in the journalism industry.
On some level, I’ve been blessed to be able to grow in my career and see both sides of what it’s like to be a young/hungry professional and also now a manager who’s had a helping hand in giving opportunities to the upcoming generations of talent in this space. It felt like the best time to take another step toward doing more.
After this last convention, I felt as motivated as ever to take another important step toward getting more involved with AAJA national and my local San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. This is why I wish to self-nominate myself for an at-large board member position for this election cycle.
My hope is to help grow this chapter’s community, volunteer for more local events — with aspirations to understand this community better and give back to college students and young professionals in this area — and ultimately commit more of my personal time to thank AAJA for everything it’s done for me in my workplace and personal career.
Additionally, as a first-generation Korean American, I’ve been looking for more avenues to be able to tell my story alongside countless others in the AAPI space in a way that transcends performance in the corporate workspace. This feels like the perfect opportunity.
With my experience in both journalism and social media, I am confident that I have a valuable skill set that can contribute to this great Bay Area community and chapter.
Thanks for your consideration.
San Francisco Standard
As one of the few reporters covering the Asian American community, AAJA has long been the source of my sense of belonging in the industry as I see the news through an Asian American lens.
Regardless of whether the topic is politics, criminal justice, arts, culture or even geopolitical issues from Asia, all have great impacts on local San Francisco communities, where 35% of the population are people of Asian descent.
From the ethnic press to mainstream media, I have spent my career uplifting the stories that normally don’t get the spotlight, especially the non-English-speaking immigrant community facing language barriers. I also focus on explaining community issues and cultural phenomena to a broader audience can help promote better understanding among people with different backgrounds. I look forward to continuing the work while serving on the board.
Additionally, I am hoping to advocate and promote better storytelling of our communities in this industry through AAJA’s channels and empower Asian American journalists and journalism students through scholarships and events. No community is monolithic, and collaborating with everyone to tell the stories in its most nuanced way is always one of my highest priorities.
San Francisco Standard
My experience with AAJA dates back to my college years when I discovered the organization at a pivotal point in my career. As I considered whether to enter into journalism full-time, I took part in the AAJA Voices program.
The fellowship allowed me to attend my first national convention where I was surrounded by generous mentors and like-minded young journalists. I still think back to that crazy, stressful week in 2015 as a milestone in my professional life.
More recently, I found myself on the other side of the coin when I served as a mentor earlier this year in the inaugural JCal program sponsored by AAJA that was meant to help immerse California high school students into the state’s news ecosystem. It was inspiring to see this new crop of talent emerge in front of my eyes, and I felt humbled by the small part I had to play in their development.
I left that week just as excited and energized as I did eight years ago, but driven to find other opportunities to help the next generation of journalists and foster a network of support in a region that has meant so much historically for the Asian American community.
I hope that in my role as a board member, I can serve to help advance the cause of representation in the industry and help give back to an organization that has provided me so much.
Hi! My name is Erin Woo, and I’m a tech reporter living in San Francisco. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for six years, the first four as a student at Stanford University and the last two working first for The New York Times and now The Information in San Francisco.
For the past two years, I’ve been covering startups, venture capital and social media, but I spent summers in college as a local news intern at the San Jose Mercury News.
I first joined AAJA as a student, when I was one of the S.F. Bay Area Chapter’s original Rising with the Tides Fellowship grantees. I rejoined this year and had a great time at my first convention in Washington, D.C., including helping to organize the chapter happy hour.
I’m running to become a chapter board member because I’m eager to help build stronger connections between chapter members and the local Bay Area community more broadly.
As a board member, I’d be excited to organize happy hours and speaker events for chapter membership. I’d also work to build relationships with local AAPI groups like Kearny Street Workshop and local chapters of NABJ, NAHJ and other affinity groups to strengthen ties across journalists in the Bay Area.