A Broadcast Pioneer Remembered - Sam Chu Lin AAJA Announces 2007 Special Award Winners

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A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously to the late Sam Chu Lin by the Asian American Journalist Association during its annual convention.

The AAJA also presented Special Awards to the late newspaper owner Chinn Ho, Bobbi Bowman and Dmae Roberts. Excellence in News Coverage Awards were presented to honorees in eleven categories.
Read more about the honorees from this news release from AAJA.

The late Sam Chu Lin , former pioneer broadcast television reporter for CBS News and other news outlets including KTTV-TV (LA), KTLA-TV (LA), KRON-TV (SF) , and KOOL-TV (PHX) , SF Examiner , Asian Week and Rafu Shimpo received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Asian American Journalists Association.

Fellow journalist, community leader and pioneer television broadcaster Chris Chow comments on the award to Sam Chu Lin :

"AAJA is to be commended for giving its 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award to Sam Chu Lin .

AAJA is cut from the same cloth as Sam and aspires to the same ideals as Sam and is one organization in the field of his profession that has recognized his contributions, leadership and worth. This is like being honored by one's own community.

Sam was honored by the Chinese Historical Society of America, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, the Organization of Chinese Americas and now the Asian American Journalists Association for his pioneering lifetime achievements in media and journalism and America.

I really regret not having been there for him at Salinas two years ago for the CACA convention, where he gave one of his greatest speeches.

His message to CACA and people everywhere was essentially this: "Now it's your turn to speak out."

I wish you Judy and your sons Mark and Christopher the best in enjoying this honor because now an audience not only of his peers but of his descendants in the profession, the new generations of Asian American journalists and media mongers will have an opportunity to see and hear and know of him and his great work and love for us.

That's why he did what he did all these years. That's why the field and the world will be the better for us all."

Christopher Chow
Founder, Chow Associates, San Francisco

Fellow journalist, filmmaker and pioneer television broadcaster Suzanne Joe Kai comments:

"For many of us who had the honor of knowing and working with Sam and sharing war stories during the early days when we were the only Asian Americans in news rooms, we are especially proud of AAJA's posthumous award to Sam Chu Lin .

Sam broke barriers and blazed the way for Asian Americans trying to break down America's mainstream broadcast television doors which were closed in the '60's and early '70s.

I am proud to have known Sam, and glad that he will be remembered for future generations.

Sam never stopped being an outspoken journalist. He drew national media attention to Asian American causes in the days when Asian American stories were seldom reported by mainstream media.

Even though Sam built an award-winning career in mainstream media, he never turned his back on his community.

He always contributed to ethnic news outlets. He always remembered his roots.

We congratulate the AAJA for bestowing its honor in Sam's memory."

Suzanne Joe Kai
CEO, StudioLA.TV and Publisher, AsianConnections.com

The AAJA also presented Special Awards to the late Chinn Ho, former owner, Honolulu Star Bulletin ; Bobbi Bowman, diversity director, ASNE ; and Dmae Roberts, executive producer, MediaRites Productions .

AAJA News Release:

AAJA presenedt the awards on August 4, 2007, during its gala scholarship and awards banquet, which is part of the organization's 19th annual convention, held this year at the Hyatt Regency Miami. Amara Sohn and Richard Lui, emceed the banquet.

AAJA is the nation's largest professional organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) journalists. Representing more than 2,000 members, AAJA promotes fair and accurate news coverage, develops managers in the media industry and encourages young people to consider journalism as a career.

"We are proud to honor these individuals who have, in their own way, made significant contributions to our industry," said Jeanne Mariani-Belding, AAJA National president and editorial and opinion editor with The Honolulu Advertiser.

Lifetime Achievement Award: (Posthumous)
Sam Chu Lin, CBS News, KTTV-TV, KTLA-TV, KOOL-TV, KRON-TV, SF Examiner, Asian Week and Rafu Shimpo.

Sam Chu Lin is the 2007 recipient of AAJA's Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual who has demonstrated courage and commitment to the principles of journalism over the course of a life's work, as well as dedication to issues important to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Lin was one of the first network correspondents, reporting for CBS News. His television career involved reporting for KOOL-TV in Phoenix, KRON-TV in San Francisco and KTLA-TV in Los Angeles. He returned to LA to work at KTLA-TV in 1995, but also wrote for Asian Week, Rafu Shimpo and the San Francisco Examiner. Lin received awards from The Associated Press, United Press International, The Greater Los Angeles Press Club and the Radio and Television News Association. Upon his passing in March 2006 he was in his 50th year of broadcasting.

The awards committee was very impressed by the number of people that Sam Chu Lin influenced in different journalistic media, not just television. "He clearly was a great mentor. In addition, he was a pioneer Asian American male in network television who sought out stories about Asian Americans that helped change misperceptions and stereotypes."

Special Recognition Award:(Posthumous)
Chinn Ho, Honolulu Advertiser

Chinn Ho, former owner of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin is the 2007 recipient of AAJA's Special Recognition Award. The award honors an individual who has helped to advance AAJA's goals over the past year.

When Ho bought the Honolulu Star-Bulletin with a group of local investors in 1961, he became, if not the first, one of the first Chinese-Americans to own a major metropolitan daily newspaper. He established a Joint Operating Agreement that combined printing and advertising sales functions of the Star-Bulletin and the Advertiser, but kept separate editorial voices. It saved the Honolulu Advertiser. Both papers then and now have racially diverse staffs. The Star-Bulletin, and to a certain extent the Advertiser, has been hiring Asian Americans and women since the 1930s.

Many AAJA members have benefited from the survival of both papers. Both papers continue to offer internships to students through AAJA. Some have stayed in Hawaii. Numerous others like KING-TV's Lori Matsukawa, an AAJA lifetime achievement award winner, and Bloomberg's Patrick Chu, have gone on to careers on the mainland and Asia. Chinn Ho passed away in 1987.

Leadership in Diversity Award:
Bobbi Bowman, ASNE

Bobbi Bowman, diversity director, American Society of Newspaper Editors, (ASNE), is the 2007 recipient of AAJA's Leadership in Diversity Award, which honors an individual or corporation that has made strides in promoting and demonstrating diversity in the news media industry.

Bobbi Bowman is the diversity director for the American Society of Newspaper Editors since 1999. She oversees the diversity initiatives at ASNE and works with editors across the country to increase the number of minorities in newsrooms. For years now, she has taken the lead in ASNE's annual newsroom employment survey, overcoming many challenges in making this benchmark of newsroom diversity as comprehensive as it can possibly be. Beyond ASNE, Ms. Bowman has worked very closely with AAJA and other UNITY alliance partners in offering training and other opportunities for journalists of color to improve their skills and make them more competitive in the news business. She has also shown extreme dedication to AAJA's and other minority journalism organizations' goal of increasing the number of managers and supervisors in the newsroom.

Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights & Social Justice for Asian Americans:
Dmae Roberts, MediaRites Productions.

Dmae Roberts, executive producer, MediaRites Productions. is the 2007 recipient of AAJA's Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights and Social Justice for Asian Americans. The award is named in honor of the late Dr. Ahn, a Korean American who was raised in Arkansas and Texas who devoted her life to promoting civil rights and social justice for all Americans, especially women and Asian Americans.

Dmae Roberts is the executive producer for the "Crossing East" documentary series, one of the most comprehensive programs on Asian American history ever to air on public radio. Drawing on more than 500 hours of interviews, archival recordings, historical texts, and an evocative sound mix, the eight-hour series devotes in-depth segments to the early presence of Asians in America dating back to the 1700s, the challenges faced by each wave of Asian immigrants, and the ongoing struggle for equality in America. Crossing East gives a face to Asian Americans and weaves details of our presence into the greater American fabric. The series introduced Asian American stories to listeners on over 200 stations.

The judges mentioned that, " 'Crossing East' stands out both for its breadth and its depth, as well as its sophistication of approach. I was impressed by its scope and ambition -- tackling Asian American history from first contacts through the exclusionary laws to current day racial profiling. Dr. Ahn wanted this award to encourage journalists to produce stories that shed light on the civil rights struggle. And 'Crossing East' does just that, providing us with more context than many books do."