We have three candidates who are running for AAJA-Asia presidency.
- K. Oanh Ha (Read Oanh’s letter)
- Elaine Ramirez (Read Elaine’s letter)
- Mike Raomanachai (Read Mike’s letter)
As Angie is resigning mid-term, the new president will be serving the rest of her term until January 2019.
Please find the candidacy letters below (in alphabetical order of candidates’ last names). Election will take place from January 27 to January 30.
For any questions, email Eunji and Gavin, AAJA-Asia special election chairs, at eunjikim678[at]gmail.com and gavin.a.huang[at]gmail.com.
K. Oanh Ha (Hong Kong)
AAJA Asia has been my family for the past four years since I joined the board. It’s been an amazing journey that we’ve all been on together, and I am very grateful to work closely with so many dedicated and passionate journalists and media professionals. I ask for your support and the opportunity to serve you as the next AAJA Asia president.
We have accomplished a lot together in these few years. Our chapter is the fastest-growing within AAJA, and we continue to add members across Asia Pacific. We are building a vibrant student community, and helping to train an increasing number of upcoming journalists. We have built strong relationships with newsrooms across the region and forged strong partnerships, and I’m glad to have contributed to that.
I’m excited to help organize our 8th N3 conference as an executive committee member, and want to work with our leaders to make this an impactful conference and empower members with skills and ideas they can bring back to their newsrooms and workplaces.
This is an exciting time for the AAJA Asia chapter. We have made great strides in the past few years, and there’s so much to be proud of. I would be grateful for the chance to work with all of you to enhance our professional development and leadership programs, expand our student outreach as well as programming for our professional members, and strengthen AAJA Asia’s voice as a champion for diversity and media access.
Thank you for your support.
Elaine Ramirez (Seoul)
AAJA-Asia is an organization to be proud of. Thanks to ambitious leadership over the years, we have two recent Chapter of the Year awards, and we are the second-largest AAJA chapter and one of the fastest growing. As we work toward the eighth edition of N3Con in May, we are securing new sponsors and developing new initiatives such as newsroom tours, university programs and year-long mentoring to attract a richer, more diverse attendance.
But we can still do better. Behind these successes is a chapter with little synergy across subchapters the rest of the year, a low membership renewal rate and poor recognition compared to many fellow media associations.
Many journalists, including myself, have questioned the value a membership to this organization. Here in Asia, so far from the mother hub, we do not gain from the instant, fluid networks in the U.S., and it is difficult for us to participate in leadership programs or training overseas. We are not necessarily Asian or American, we are spread apart, we have different priorities than our U.S. brethren, and we bear the additional challenges of language, culture, censorship and sometimes temporariness or instability.
But we have unique strengths by virtue of our vantage point as international journalists that define our membership and identity, which we should communicate with media partners and potential new members. We must recognize our strengths and continuously leverage them to enhance both our community and our brand.
We are not just a job center — we are a lifelong community. We give back and we pay it forward. The value of this organization is worth only as much as we put in — not just financially, but based on the efforts and experiences that we share.
We are a network.
Following the example set by former vice president Taehoon Lee and the strong, decentralized team he built to generate the Seoul subchapter’s current momentum, we need your involvement to expand the activities of not only each subchapter but the chapter as a whole. We should not stop at four subchapters and mindfully continue to tap new geographies to empower journalists across the continent as Asia emerges as the new focal point of commerce, culture and society on the world stage. We should also collaborate with other media organizations across the region for the well-being of our industry.
As president, I would work with our national board to help organize our members in Europe, Australia and elsewhere to grow their local communities. Together we can bridge AAJA across the world as the founding members of AAJA International, a global network that will give us leverage and adaptability amid the globalization of jobs in our industry.
We are a ladder.
Our data tells us we at AAJA-Asia are more diverse, more millennial, more independent, more entrepreneurial and more digital than ever before, and our identity should reflect this new reality. Our programs should extend beyond three days at N3Con to deliver a holistic experience that nurtures our demographic year-round. These include the panels and workshops that our subchapters have already successfully been carrying out. Meanwhile, our localized version of AAJA Mentoring Match, a year-long program that we aim to launch this year and showcase at N3Con, will play a major part in creating full-circle synergy. We should also add virtual seminars to our activities to deliver lessons and insights across borders.
In addition, I propose adding membership, sponsorship, communications, student relations and global outreach directors to our chapter leadership with specific goals to help us expand strategically.
In line with this vision for more thoughtful growth, we must continue to raise our image both online and offline. Along with chapter secretary Carina Lee and others, I have led the redesign of n3con.com and aaja-asia.org to introduce a fresher, sleeker brand. We should continue to build that brand through relationships with media organizations and more collaboration with sister journalist organizations so they know they can count on our membership for talent. As suggested by Southeast Asia subchapter leaders, we should create an honorary board of advisers to showcase the influential figures within our ranks.
As we nurture our partnerships with local and global media organizations across Asia to increase employment opportunities for our members, we should also reexamine our career services by communicating more with you about your needs. Using simple technologies, we can develop a more tailored and sophisticated job board based on your preferences, skills and geography, while we make ourselves more accessible to employers.
We are a community.
AAJA’s foundation is in promoting fair coverage of our community and pulling each other up in the newsroom. Despite the distance and differences with our sister chapters in the U.S., our community values remain the same. Our differences should not distance us but instead create a colorful synergy that adds value to each group. We should more aggressively engage and collaborate with AAJA National by encouraging and supporting our members to attend workshops in the U.S. When that is not an option, we can think creatively about how to localize the programs or use technology to bring us together. We will continue to share best practices on how to run a more integrated global organization, starting with our conferences, workshops and mentoring programs.
We should strengthen our bonds not only with the national chapter, but with each other. I founded and directed the first two issues of N3 Magazine with the vision of bringing the key issues in Asia into one publication, giving us a reminder of the lessons learned at N3Con to bring home. In the same spirit, we should connect across borders on a more regular basis, sharing our successes, tips and local news with each other. I propose a quarterly newsletter that will allow each subchapter to share their progress, highlight important issues in the region, showcase the exceptional works of our members, share career opportunities and create a more cohesive community. We would also increase our social media and online presence to make our community more accessible and known.
This vision is simply a continuation of the mission carried out by previous leaders including Angie Lau, Ramy Inocencio and many others over the years. My pledges scratch the surface of AAJA-Asia’s potential and will not stop here. But this is your organization, and it will take work from all of us to make them happen. I merely propose to lay out the direction for us to keep building the AAJA-Asia we deserve.
Mike Raomanachai (SE Asia)
My name is Mike Raomanachai, technology journalist and media entrepreneur. I have been AAJA member since 2011. Back then I joined the organization as a student member. AAJA has been alongside my career path every step of the way. In 2013, I joined AAJA Asia Chapter and later became Vice President of the Chapter, serving Bangkok and Southeast Asia.
I truly believe in AAJA missions in promoting diversity in the newsroom and help journalists advance in their career. I am here today as a professional broadcast journalist and media entrepreneur because of AAJA, and I would love to give back all I can to the community.
What makes AAJA-Asia great is the energy of our members across the region, especially members in their mid and early career. We can keep this momentum going by creating programs for youth and future journalists. Give them chances to network with our members and come up with mentor-mentee program. This program proves to be successful in the US and I believe AAJA-Asia members in all ages will benefit from this a lot.
Here is a little bit about my contributions to AAJA:
2011 – Joined AAJA as a student member, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
2013 – Joined AAJA Asia Chapter
2015 – Became AAJA Asia Chapter Vice President for Bangkok (Later became SEA Subchapter)
2016 – Programming Co-Chair and Moderator of N3Con in Seoul, South Korea.
2017 – Programming Co-Chair, Speaker, and Moderator of N3Con in Hong Kong.
2018 – Executive Committee Member and Social Media Coordinator for N3Con 2018.
Here is my career timeline:
2012 Production Assistant for Republican and Democratic National Conventions, Thai PBS
Foreign Correspondent, Voice TV
2013 – 2014 Lifestyle Anchor, Voice TV
2014 – 2017 Technology Anchor and Senior Business Correspondent, Voice TV
2017 – today Contributor, tech360.tv
Co-Founder of a media startup company (Launching Soon).