The Asian American Journalists Association’s Asia Chapter has been serving Asia’s news media community since 1996, supporting journalists to advance their skills and progress in their careers, advocating for a free press and for more diversity, equity and inclusion in Asia’s newsrooms and news coverage.
This work would not have been possible without the engagement in our association, as members or chapter leaders, of talented and passionate news professionals that have been inspiring and leading our community forward along the years.
Today, more than ever, passion and commitment are needed to herald the values of freedom of the press, trustworthy journalism and fair representation of all communities in Asia’s news media.
We are pleased to publish hereafter the letters of candidacy of the candidates for the AAJA-Asia 2023-2024 Board.
K. Oanh Ha, candidate for President
I’m a proud member of AAJA-Asia. As president, I’ve led the chapter through an exciting period of growth and challenge. Our chapter and leaders pivoted during the global health pandemic to serve our community. We hosted virtual N3Cons and the first N3Con in Singapore; we held virtual sessions on mental health and professional skills-building. Under my presidency and working with amazing board members and volunteers, we hired a full-time director, trained more than 1,500 journalists with the AAJA-Asia Training Network, expanded our Executive Leadership Program and launched the Advancing News Diversity in Asia initiative to foster inclusive journalism.
We can work together to take AAJA-Asia to even higher heights. We want to expand ANDA and the AAJA family in the Philippines and Indonesia where there’s need for training. We also want to serve members to help them grow professionally. I’m grateful for your support and vote.
Executive Vice President
Zela Chin, candidate for Executive VP
It would be my honor to serve a second term as your Executive Vice President and I will work closely with the President to build a bigger and better AAJA Asia chapter.
As the region recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, we should focus on in-person gatherings and meet-ups to give members the tools, skills, and connections they seek. We are working to revive our Digital N3 salons, utilising the Bloomberg network of offices, so members in our core cities can gather for videoconferences on topics relevant to their professional lives. And of course, these are opportunities to reconnect with old friends, and make new ones.
As a member of the board of governors of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, I would develop stronger ties between our two organisations.
I am excited to help our members to become better journalists and media professionals. And I look forward to growing our AAJA community together.
Bernice Sibucao, candidate for Secretary
I’m Bernice Sibucao, a newsroom manager specializing in digital content production from the Philippines. I became a part of the amazing community of AAJA-Asia when I was accepted in the 2021 Executive Leadership Program. After that transformative experience, I wanted to give back to the organization by utilizing my expertise in social and digital production and management.
If I’m elected as Secretary, I pledge to improve the social media presence of AAJA-Asia through standardizing our graphics and branding guidelines and developing monthly content plans that will showcase works of our Asia chapter members and AAJA-Asia news updates, among others.
By increasing and improving our social media presence, I hope to entice younger journalists, especially the Gen-Z, in Asia to join the organization. On a more personal note, I also hope that my efforts on social media will help AAJA-Asia to attract more members in the Philippines so we can finally establish our own subchapter.
Jeanhee Kim, candidate for Treasurer
As with so many other things happening in the world, my term as AAJA Asia treasurer since 2020 has been eventful and unusual. In the last two years we have moved our accounts to a new bank in the U.S. and also begun using Wise transfer to enable payments to the more than a dozen countries where our members and contributors reside at far lower fees than before.
Personally, I moved from Singapore to the U.S., to be closer to family and loved ones. As residents on visas in Singapore in 2021 we had no hope of traveling across the border even for a day trip or receiving visitors from overseas and returned home to at least be near family as we rode out continued pandemic restrictions.
I am running to be treasurer for another year to enable smooth continuance of our payment and accounting processes.
Hong Kong Vice-President or co Vice-Presidents
Gavin Huang, candidate for Hong Kong Vice-President
AAJA has been part of my life since 2009, when I enrolled in JCamp as a wide-eyed high school student in New York. Since then, the organization has been with me at every step of my career. I have served as a subchapter board member in Seoul and on the programming committee of N3Con.
As Hong Kong begins to reopen, I hope to serve as vice president, Hong Kong, and restart some of the in-person events which have helped build our community. As vice president, I hope to focus on two main initiatives:
- Strengthen our community through regular social events
- Expand our workshop offerings by leveraging the expertise of our members and partner organizations
I have experience with doing this in Seoul, having planned several mixers and workshops with our subchapter members. This two-pronged model of engagement helped grow our membership, and I hope to replicate it in Hong Kong.
Juliana Liu and Holly Chik, candidates for Hong Kong co-Vice Presidents
My name is Juliana, and I am the Asia editor at CNN Business. Previously, I had worked at Forkast News, Inkstone, BBC News and Reuters. I’m a proud mom.
I first joined AAJA when I was an undergraduate in California, helping to organize pizza nights for fellow students to learn from and mix with established journalists. I remain fiercely dedicated to the mission of AAJA: to advocate for our members and increase diversity and inclusion in newsrooms.
Holly and I are very much looking forward to serving as your co-Vice Presidents over the next term.
Hi AAJA family, it’s Holly here. I’m a reporter covering science for the South China Morning Post. Since I joined AAJA as a student, the organization has helped me grow professionally. And I would love to give back to the community. I’ve had two fruitful years serving as the co-Vice President of AAJA-Asia in Hong Kong.
Organizing and joining the first in-person N3Con since the start of the pandemic was truly the highlight of this year. It was my pleasure to meet you all again and welcome new faces across Asia to our chapter. I’d like to take this chance to thank my partner in crime Kari who was the HK co-VP for the past two years. It will be my honor to continue to serve in this role with Juliana.
In the coming two years, we will lead the growth of the Hong Kong chapter by working on the following areas:
1. Grow membership
Asia has always been one of AAJA’s most vibrant chapters. However, recruitment efforts over the past three years have been affected by the ever changing covid restrictions. Now, as life begins to return to a state of normal for many, we hope to take this opportunity to engage with potential members and show them the many benefits of joining AAJA.
2. Organize N3Con and N3 salons
Juliana chaired the programming committee of AAJA-Asia’s flagship event New.Now.Next Media Conference for two years, while Holly had been supporting the production, coordinating the logistics and organizing newsroom tours in the past five years. We will continue to contribute to and drive the success of our most important annual event.
While N3Con remains our biggest gathering of the chapter each year, we believe workshops and panels on the latest industry trends and tools are key to supporting our members’ career advancement. We will work with VPs leading other chapters in Asia to present regular online events.
3. Support programming of the Asia chapter
The AAJA-Asia Training Network and Google News Initiative (GNI) have been training
journalists across the region to deliver workshops on digital tools and fact-checking in different Asian languages. The Advancing News Diversity in Asia (ANDA) Training of Trainers program is also due to begin in November. We will support trainers in these programs and help localize training materials for local journalists.
4. Host social events for Hong Kong-based members
We hope to bring back in-person social events as Covid-19 restrictions ease in the city. Movie nights, hikes and gatherings over dinner and drinks have brought our members together.
We look forward to meeting you all again soon.
Singapore / SEA co Vice-Presidents
Mike Raomanachai and Tom Benner, candidates for Singapore co VPs
Hello, I’m Mike Raomanachai, AAJA-Asia member in Bangkok, Thailand. I am currently a Teaching Fellow for Google News Initiative. I teach journalists across Thailand how to verify misinformation and digital tools that help with their news reporting. I previously served as the AAJA-Asia VP for Southeast Asia between 2016 – 2018, and a board member of Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand between 2017 – 2018.
With my previous experience as your AAJA-Asia board member, plus my love of this organization, it would be an honor for me to serve you as your vice president for Southeast Asia again. I can bring my leadership skills in organizing N3Con, together with my professional experience to help grow our Southeast Asia subchapter, and engage with our young members more.
Hello, this is Tom Benner. I’d like to serve for another term as vice president for the Singapore/SE Asia subchapter. I strongly value the role the AAJA plays in many of our lives and careers. From professional training, holding events and workshops, meeting colleagues and making friends, AAJA is an important and valuable network for journalists.
And we are slowly able to hold more in-person events, for which I am grateful, now that the pandemic has slowed down considerably. Our AAJA events are always well-attended and enriching.
Singapore’s role in the AAJA Asia chapter is increasingly central to our organization, such as hosting N3Conference earlier this year. I’d like to encourage everyone in our subchapter to be active and involved as we move ahead with the AAJA mission.
Tokyo co Vice-President
Kantaro Komiya, candidate for Tokyo co Vice-President
Since I took over my precedent Tokyo Co-VP in February, I have led multiple projects important for our sub-chapter members and the AAJA’s presence in Japan, together with my counterpart Erica Yokoyama. The events we organized this year include two community meetups that each attracted about 30 participants, as well as a panel discussion on news diversity co-hosted with the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. While meetups significantly expanded our membership base, the press event at the FCCJ — and our recap article on its monthly publication No.1 Shimbun — raised local awareness of the “Advancing News Diversity in Asia” project. I played a particularly crucial role in drafting such articles and PR materials. I would like to extend my Tokyo Co-VP term one more year, as Yokoyama and I plan to introduce a mini-board system to increase the number of events and AAJA-Tokyo’s community engagement in the coming months.
Seoul Vice-President or co Vice-Presidents
Haeryun Kang, candidate for Seoul Vice President
My journalism career in Seoul has flourished thanks to the connections I made through AAJA. Since 2015, I have worked for NPR, managed startups like Korea Exposé and documentary media InterV, and freelanced for a variety of outlets from the Washington Post to Rolling Stone. I have closely seen AAJA’s Seoul chapter evolve over the years; since 2019, as a board member, organizing and spearheading events and workshops. The past two years have been particularly challenging — AAJA Seoul’s board has been resilient, resuming regular programs in 2022 and streamlining the management structure. As the vice president of the Seoul chapter, I believe I am well-equipped to lead the next phase of the team. I’m familiar not just with the mediascape in Korea, but also with the workings of the Seoul team. My vision is to stabilize what the pandemic has disrupted, and expand AAJA Seoul’s presence by actively engaging younger journalists.
Hieun Shin and Grace Moon, candidates for Seoul co Vice-Presidents
Our names are Hieun Shin and Grace Moon. We’ve both been a part of AAJA since the beginning of our journalism careers and are truly passionate about this community. As Seoul becomes an epicenter for international news, AAJA Seoul will play a crucial role in leading inclusive discussions that confront pressing and sensitive issues in the industry. Change is necessary in order to do so, and we vow to foster a safe and inclusive space that brings the community together, especially during difficult times. With our prior experience organizing with both AAJA National and Asia, we promise to ensure that our members have access to all broader AAJA resources (from scholarships to grants and training) and that voices in Seoul are heard. Lastly, we hope to serve as a bridge, connecting our community with local media and student networks here, and finding ways to lift each other up.
Hieun (pronounced Hee-eun) Shin is a journalist at The Economist and has been working at the Seoul Bureau since 2018. She is currently on the board of AAJA Seoul and has been a member of the Seoul Foreign Correspondents Club since 2018. Before joining The Economist, Hieun was a translator and English teacher in Seoul.
Grace Moon is the global audience editor at The Washington Post’s Seoul hub. She has previously served on the boards of AAJA New York & Seoul and is also currently the co-director of AAJA’s affinity group for early-career and student journalists, yung AAJA. Before joining The Post, Grace was a freelance journalist in Seoul for two years.
At-large Board Member
Kari Lindberg, candidate for at-large board member
Hi all, My name is Kari Lindberg, a Bloomberg politics reporter based in Hong Kong and a proud AAJA member. For the last several years, I’ve had the privilege and honour of being the co-vice president of the AAJA Hong Kong chapter. It has given me the chance to connect to new and old friends, while organising events to help bring our community together.
Now, its time for me to step aside and let someone else take up the mantel.
It is on this note that I’m seeking to run for the member-at-large position. I believe my wealth of experience as a co-vice president well positions me to take on this new
If elected, I look forward to working closely with all members throughout Asia and actively brainstorming new workshops, evening socials and fun gatherings that can bring us closer together while expanding our network.
At-large Board Member
Regina Hing, candidate for at-large board member
There are numerous journalism organizations in the Philippines, but hardly any that connect members to their peers in the region and globally. It’s something I’ve tried to improve upon in my past two years as a board member – and while there has been progress, much remains to be done. This is why I’m running again.
If elected, my focus will be simple: raise the banner of AAJA-Asia in the country and work to help upskill the next generation of journalists. We can do this by facilitating more events and in-person workshops, particularly under the banner of the Google News Initiative, through which I remain a trainer. In this next term, I would also endeavor to do more one-on-one outreach within specific journalist groups so as to raise awareness about the many great initiatives of AAJA-Asia.
National Advisory Board Representative
Jenny Hsu, candidate for National Advisory Board Representative
My name is Jenny Hsu and I am writing to ask for your consideration for the role of AAJA Asia National Representative.
AAJA has been a pivotal part of my career since my first participation in 2011 as an attendee at N3Con held in Hong Kong. From 2015 to 2018, I had the honor of serving as the Vice President for the Hong Kong chapter. During that period, I oversaw several events such as the Quiz bowls, student newsroom visits, and two junk trips with the Hong Kong dolphin association to learn about the worsening marine ecology in Hong Kong. I remained an active AAJA member after I left journalism in 2018 and continued to be closely involved in N3Con planning. Currently, I am working with AAJA Asia leadership on starting an AAJA Taiwan chapter.
AAJA Asia is one of the most influential journalism organizations in shaping the future of journalism in Asia. Many journalism students look to AAJA for guidance and directions as they set their foot in the world of news and reporting. Here, they can meet seasoned journalists who can provide mentorship and career advice. AAJA is also the premier source for networking and connections for working journalists who are looking for extra supportto amplify their stories and outreach.
If elected as the National Representative, I would do my best to the voice for the members in Asia and serve as bridge between regional and national. Thank you for your consideration.
Yehoon Ahn, candidate for Student Representative
I am an undergraduate student at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, and I came to be affiliated with AAJA through a summer internship in 2022. As an editorial intern for Tom Benner, Editor-in-Chief of N3Magazine, I helped manage the production of the magazine. I also wrote stories, produced podcasts, and managed the magazine website. I helped put together 2022 N3Con, mainly organizing N3ConU, for which I was the moderator.
Although my internship has ended, I would love to keep serving the AAJA board. While working as an intern, I was inspired by the board members, who organized the conference with impressive efficiency and competence. I also appreciated AAJA’s mission. Supporting journalists and students, promoting diversity, and advocating for fair media access are all values that I want to keep working for. As a student aspiring to work in journalism, the mission of supporting students especially resonates with me. If elected to the board, I will help AAJA support students in the region by organizing student events, forging partnerships with schools, and increasing student presence at the conference. Thank you for considering me as a candidate