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Asian American Journalists Association honors editor of nation's largest Vietnamese-language newspaper with Lifetime Achievement Award.

News Editors/Media Writers


Organization also pays tribute to first minority president of the

Society of Professional Journalists; and posthumously to publishers

who opposed Japanese American internment

The Asian American Journalists Association today awarded Yen Do, founder of the nation's largest Vietnamese-language newspaper, with its Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to an Asian American who has demonstrated courage and commitment to the principles of journalism over the course of a life's work.

AAJA will present the award to Do, the editor of Nguoi Viet Daily News in Westminster, Calif., during a gala banquet this evening at the organization's 14th annual national convention at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero.

Do, a combat correspondent during the Vietnam War, started the newspaper in his garage in 1978. He was editor, publisher, printer and circulation manager. In the first edition, Do laid out every story and inked accent marks over each accented word by hand. Going door to door, he distributed 2,000 copies of what would become the most influential Vietnamese-language newspaper in the United States.

Nguoi Viet, which means "Vietnamese people," has grown to an 18,000 daily circulation and a 70-member staff. The paper has an English section that attracts American-born readers, as well as a Web site. It is distributed in Vietnamese communities across the United States and as far away as Australia and France. Copies also reach Vietnam, China, and the Soviet Union.

More than the commercial success of Nguoi Viet, AAJA honors Do for his courage and perseverance under the threat from immigrants who do not respect the freedom of the press.

Since 1981, right-wing extremists have murdered five Vietnamese immigrant journalists in the United States. Attacks against Vietnamese journalists, including Do, have created a climate of fear in the refugee community.

Despite such conditions, Do has mentored many scholars and mainstream journalists who have covered the Vietnamese community, including Rick Pullen, dean of the college of communications at California State University, Fullerton, and Seth Mydans, an Asia-based correspondent for The New York Times.

Do has made a major contribution to Asian American journalism by building a community-based newspaper under the most trying conditions. He came from a country with no history of freedom of the press, but now stands as one who embodies its principles.

Special Recognition Award to Walt and Milly Woodward

AAJA also posthumously awarded its Special Recognition Award to Walt and Milly Woodward, whose Bainbridge Review courageously opposed the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. The Special Recognition Award honors a person or persons -- regardless of ethnicity, race or profession -- who has helped to advance AAJA's goals.

As owners of the The Bainbridge Review during the 1940s, the Woodwards never forgot the Constitution when others did. They opposed the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, a stand that cost them popular support and advertising dollars.

They appointed four "Camp Correspondents" -- Paul Ohtaki, Sa Nakata, Tony Koura and Sada Omoto to write articles about life at internment camps in Minidoka, Idaho, and Manzanar, Calif. The Woodwards printed the articles faithfully, so that their neighbors of Japanese ancestry would not be forgotten.

After the war, the Woodwards continued to be a strong voice in the community, leading campaigns for a new library, schools, and a commuter bridge. In the late 1940s, the Woodwards took leave from the paper and moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the National Republican Party.

Walt Woodward stepped down as editor in 1963 and sold the Review in 1988. He later worked on the editorial board of The Seattle Times and wrote columns as well as two books on boating. He was also appointed by Washington State Gov. Dan Evans as chairman of the State Shorelines Hearing Board in the 1970s. Milly returned to teaching high school and died in 1989. Walt died March 13 at the age of 91. A Bainbridge Island middle school in their community bears their name.

Leadership in Diversity Award

AAJA presented its Leadership in Diversity Award to Knight Ridder corporate recruiting consultant Reginald Stuart.

In a career spanning more than three decades as reporter, editor and corporate recruiter, the recurring theme in Stuart's work has been that of advancing diversity in the news industry. Stuart began his career at the Nashville Tennessean, spent more than a dozen years at the New York Times and nearly a decade at Knight Ridder.

As corporate recruiter since 1997, he works with Knight Ridder's 32 newspapers, supporting all newspaper and online operations. He has been the connection between Knight Ridder and minority journalists organizations, including AAJA.

But that only tells a portion of the story. He was the first journalist of color elected to national president of the 14,000-member Society of Professional Journalists in 1994 -- the first minority journalist to hold an elected office in that national organization. He was also the first minority appointed to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board of trustees after many years of service on several SPJ taskforces, including as national chair of the Minority Affairs Committee.

He carries a journalist's passion for the truth and freedom of information -- and a conviction that a sense of community is forged by promotion of both. Communities -- and the participation of people of color in them -- has been a integral part of Stuart's motivation to his work in diversity.

He has worked shoulder to shoulder with AAJA professionals, mentoring young Asian Pacific American journalists in Voices, the convention training newspaper, and he was among the first journalists to study the gap between whites and non-whites in computer and Internet use.

As contributing editor to Emerge magazine in 1996, Stuart brought to light the plight of Kemba Smith, a young African American woman whose poor choice of a boyfriend led to a 24-year prison term dictated by mandatory drug sentencing laws. Other columnists and news media followed the story, and it sparked the Legal Defense Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to take up her case. She was pardoned by President Clinton in one of the last acts of his presidency.

About AAJA

AAJA is a non-profit educational association based in San Francisco and devoted to training and developing Asian American journalists. It has 1,700 members in 18 chapters across the United States and Asia. Lisa Chung, San Francisco columnist for San Jose Mercury News, and Matt Dunn, freelance director, are the convention co-chairs.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Aug 3, 2001
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