AAJA Announces 2016 Award Winners

The 2016 AAJA Awards were announced on Saturday, August 13 at the 27th Gala Scholarship & Awards Banquet during this year’s national convention in Las Vegas, NV. Congratulations to this year’s winners!

National Journalism Awards

Asian American
Pacific Islander Issues

Written Journalism

Anh Do

Staff Writer, The Los Angeles Times

Tent City


Written Journalism

Martha Mendoza,

Margie Mason,

Robin McDowell,

Esther Htusan

Writers, Associated Press

Seafood From Slaves

Asian American
Pacific Islander Issues


Masahiro Sugano,

Carmen L. Vicencio,

Simon Kilmurry,

Christopher Hastings

Director/Series Producers, American Documentary, Inc.

“America Reframed: Cambodian Son”



Bill Whitaker,

Henry Schuster,

Rachael Morehouse,

Patrick Lee

Correspondents, CBS News/60 Minutes

The New Burma

Asian American
Pacific Islander Issues


Heidi Shin

Independent Journalist, “PRI’s The World”

Why Young North Koreans are Daring to Wear Skinny Jeans



Hitesh Hathi,

Meghna Chakrabarti,

James Bologna,

Alison Bruzek

Producers, WBUR

Evictions In East Boston: The Push For A ‘Just Cause’ Ordinance


Student Journalism

Shehan Jeyarajah

Student, Baylor Lariat

Taylor Young breaks conventions for Baylor football

Asian American
Pacific Islander Issues

Student Journalism

Alyssa Perry

Student, Jezebel

The People Vs. Nan-Hui Jo

Asian American
Pacific Islander Issues


John D. Sutter

Columnist, CNN Digital

You’re Making This Island Disappear

Membership Awards

Member of the Year 2016

Shawn Nicole Wong
Project Manager, JWA Urban Consultants, IC. + JWA Roam

AAJA-Los Angeles

ELP Outstanding Leadership Award

Tom Huang
Sunday & Enterprise Editor, The Dallas Morning News


Chapter President of the Year 2016

Anjana Schroeder
Producer, 6 News at 5 WLNS


Chapter of the Year 2016


Mentor of the Year Award

Victor Limjoco
Producer, NBCNews

AAJA-New York

Archith Seshadri
International Desk Journalist, CNN


Mentee of the Year Award

Nick Sexton
Student, Princeton University & NBCNews Contributor

AAJA-New York

Member of the Year

2016 Shawn Nicole Wong
2015 Pamela Wu
2014 Bobby Calvan
2013 Richard Lui
2012 Julie Tam (Texas), Bobby Calvan (D.C.), Jam Sardar (Michigan)
2011 Frank Witsil
2010 Lisa Chung and
Craig Gima
2009 Cynthia Wang
2008 Paul Cheung and Ivette Yee
2007 George Kiriyama
2006 Neal Justin
2005 Randall Yip
2004 Keith Kamisugi
2003 Pradnya Joshi
2002 Sandy Louey
2001 Amy Wang
2000 Anthony Ramirez
1999 Aki Soga
1998 Michael and Alix Quan
1997 Dalton Tanonaka
1996 Kimberly Moy

President of the Year

2016 Anjana Schroeder (Michigan)
2015 Mai Hoang (Seattle)
2014 Ramy Inocencio (Asia)
2013 Sandy Louey (Sacramento) and Jocelyn “Joz” Wang (Los Angeles)
2012 Julie Shaw (Philadelphia)
2011 Sanjay Bhatt (Seattle)
2010 Ryan O. Kim (San Francisco/Bay Area)
2009 Vino Wong (Atlanta)
2008 Victoria Lim (Florida)
2007 Lorene Yue (Chicago)
2006 Henry Fuhrmann and
Rachanee Srisavasdi(Los Angeles)
2005 Murali Balaji (Philadelphia)
2004 Ted Shen, posthumously (Chicago)
2003 Anh Do (Los Angeles)
2002 Cheryl Tan (Washington, D.C.)
2001 Denise L. Poon (Los Angeles)
2000 Lee Ann Kim (San Diego)
1999 Mi Young Hwang (Chicago)
1998 Bonnie Lee (San Francisco/Bay Area)
1997 Nancy Yoshihara (Los Angeles)
1996 Esther Wu (Texas)

Chapter of the Year

2016 Asia
2015 Seattle
2014 New York
2013 Asia
2012 Asia
2011 Minnesota
2010 Sacramento
2009 New England
2008 Seattle
2007 Los Angeles
2006 Sacramento
2005 Seattle
2004 San Diego and Washington, D.C.
2003 Texas
2002 San Francisco/Bay Area
2001 New York
2000 Atlanta
1999 New England
1998 Florida
1997 Minnesota
1996 Hawai’I


Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism

SISI WEI, OLGA PIERCE, MARSHALL ALLEN, News Applications Developers, ProPublica “Surgeon Scorecard

Olga Pierce

Marshall Allen

This award, from a partnership of AAJA and the Gannett Foundation, recognizes groundbreaking work by an individual or team of current AAJA full members in creatively using digital tools in community watchdog journalism. Special consideration is given to journalism that helps a community understand and address important issues. Criteria for evaluating innovation include interactivity, creation of new tools, adaptation of existing tools, and creative use of any digital medium.

Our judges hailed the piece as a groundbreaking effort that uses public health data to provide needed accountability and transparency to a critical issue that affects nearly everyone. The team tackled an incredibly complicated data set and managed to spark a national discussion about surgery complications. The scorecard itself is very innovative and useful for customers. Surgeon Scorecard is an impressive example of how journalists can find new ways to be watchdogs by using digital tools. Wei and her teammates managed to tackle a deeply contentious task without the kind of oversimplification that could have easily undermined the scorecard’s credibility, all while balancing the needs of consumers who need easy to use information. Obtaining access to data no one else had acquired was a major coup. The methodology they developed was rigorous, fair and transparent. What’s more, the scorecard’s interface is straightforward.

Lifetime Achievement Award

LONNIE WONG, Reporter, FOX40 News

This award honors an Asian American or Pacific Islander who has demonstrated courage and commitment to the principles of journalism over the course of a life’s work.

Lonnie Wong’s commitment to journalism and the Asian American community are unparalleled. For more than three decades, Lonnie has been one of Sacramento’s most trusted and respected journalists. As an anchor, reporter, and host at FOX 40, he has covered the issues that mattered the most to Northern Californians and the Asian American community. He is the longest tenured television journalist in Sacramento. His commitment to ethics, accuracy, and fair representation of all communities is second to none. Lonnie is deeply committed to the Asian American community in Sacramento, leading numerous Asian American Pacific Islander organizations including AAJA Sacramento, which he helped found in 1985. He has served on the AAJA Sacramento chapter board for the entire time.

A highly respected member of Sacramento’s API community in Sacramento, Lonnie has had a tremendous impact on ensuring the API voice is well represented in this region. Through his journalism and community involvement, Lonnie has made nothing less than an extraordinary contribution to the enrichment, understanding, and advancement of Asian American life, with balanced coverage of the Asian American community and society at large.

Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights & Social Justice

GERI ALUMIT ZELDES, Associate Professor & Journalism Graduate Director, Michigan State University “Imported From China

This award recognizes excellence in coverage of Asian American Pacific Islander civil rights and social justice, causes the late doctor promoted for all Americans but especially women and Asian Americans.

Dr. Geri Zeldes’s submission’s strength is the documentary, That Strange Summer, which tells the story of two Asian American nurses, Filipina Narciso and Leonora Perez, who were charged with murder. The documentary makes a strong case that the nurses were unfairly targeted due to their ethnicity and were unable to voice themselves fully during the trial. By telling their story, this documentary gives them their voice. The documentary also highlights the role of the press during the trial and highlights their reporting about the motivations of the judge for vacating the original judgment, and the prosecutor’s subsequent decision to not re-try the women. In these ways, the documentary advances both the civil rights and social justice platforms for Asian Americans, and Dr. Zeldes is deserving of the 2016 Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award.

For questions about the AAJA awards, please contact Daniel Garcia at danielg@oldsite.aaja.org.