By Josh Tolentino
The Asian American Journalists Association is proud to announce Eric He as the fourth recipient of the Al Young Sports Journalism Scholarship.
“Eric was locked in on a sports journalism career at an early age, starting in high school with his launch of a local Bay Area sports website that drew 2.8 million hits its first year,” said Young, an executive member of AAJA’s Sports Task Force. “His commitment and dedication to that pursuit continued to grow as managing editor of Southern Cal’s Daily Trojan, along with prestigious internships at USA TODAY, NBC Sports and MLB.com., covering all levels of sports.
“I’m delighted this scholarship will help him move a step closer to achieving his lifelong dream.”
He, a senior a Southern California, first became involved with sports reporting during his sophomore year of high school, when he created his own blog. He recalled not having a large audience, but he had aspirations of becoming a storyteller. He covered local sports teams close to home around the Bay Area.
“No one really read it, just my parents,” He said. “I blogged everyday. Eventually, I got better at it and realized it was something I could see myself doing in the future. It set me on the right path.”
By the end of his high school career, He was covering the San Jose Sharks for a local media outlet, SF Bay. He also covered local high school football. His passion for storytelling followed him to USC, where he is currently finishing his bachelors degree in journalism.
“Like the athletes he covers, Eric has shown his early drive and passion for journalism,” said AAJA Sports Task Force co-chair Victoria Lim. “We’re honored he is part of the AAJA Sports Task Force, and we look forward to watching him turn pro.”
Upon graduation in May, He will intern at the Los Angeles Daily News, as part of this year’s Sports Journalism Institute.
“Knowing who Al Young is and the role he played in paving the path for Asian American sports journalists, I’m very grateful,” He said. “There are people like him out there, who come back and contribute.”
He attended his first AAJA convention in 2017 in Philadelphia. Following the convention, he returned to USC for his junior year and became more involved with his local AAJA chapter.
“I’ve become a better journalist because of AAJA,” He said. “It’s a unique experience to not only be part of the organization but also lead our student chapter and watch it grow.”
When He was informed he was recipient of the 2019 Al Young Sports Journalism Scholarship, he spoke with Young over the phone. He said their conversation was inspiring, and he plans to meet Young for the first time at this year’s AAJA convention in Atlanta.
The Al Young Scholarship is dedicated to Young, the first Asian American sports writers to work for a metro daily newspaper. Young worked for several outlets, including the New York Daily News, Boston Globe and USA TODAY before retiring in 2012.
“It was really empowering to speak with him and have him give me advice and confidence that I can continue down this path with things like the scholarship,” He said. “I know I’m on the right path.”