Josh Tolentino of Illinois State wins Jimmie and Suey Fong Yee Scholarship

Josh Tolentino, a senior at Illinois State University, is the inaugural winner of the The Jimmie & Suey Fong Yee Scholarship.

Don Yee
Don Yee

Don Yee, a founder and partner of Yee & Dubin Sports, created the scholarship to honor his parents and encourage a current college student to attend the 2016 AAJA convention in Las Vegas in August by helping to cover travel expenses.

“My parents really emphasized helping others,” Yee said in announcing the scholarship in March. ” The other inspiration is what journalists do every day in trying to communicate stories of importance – it’s important to me that we have good and strong journalists in society.

“I support the AAJA Sports Task Force because there are a lot of good people I’ve met who’ve overcome a lot to get where they are and because those same people are enthusiastic about telling a wider range of stories.”

Tolentino, the sports editor at his university’s newspaper, is now a sports intern at the Chicago Sun-Times. When informed of his selection by Justin Seiter of AAJA, Tolentino said he was encouraged and overjoyed.

I would also like to thank the selection committee for their consideration and vote of confidence in me. I promise to carry out and promote our mission to journalists around the country. I am deeply committed to my education and sports journalism career, and am one step closer to my goal with this scholarship.

I was nervous when I attended my first AAJA convention last year in San Francisco. Looking back, I laugh at how hesitant I was before the convention. I met so many motivational professionals and students alike at AAJA.

I appreciate the endless support of my many mentors and the AAJA Sports Task Force as I continue my studies at Illinois State University and my journey as an aspiring journalist. Carolyn Hong, Michael Huang, Sean Jensen, Leighton Ginn, Cary Chow and Howard Chen are just few of the many inspiring professionals who have helped me reach this point. I’m blessed to not only call them my mentors but also very good friends.

While writing a recent story on White Sox 2B Brett Lawrie, I discovered he had a very close relationship with his sister, Danielle, who is a softball analyst for PAC-12 Network and ESPN. I was able to use Hong as a resource in securing an interview with Danielle. Hong connected me with Danielle’s ESPN publicist, mentioning our AAJA relationship and I was able to successfully interview Lawrie.

Jensen has also been an awesome mentor and teacher. I was lucky enough to cover parts of the 2016 NFL Draft through my connection with Jensen, who put in a good word for me with NFL media relations. In Chicago, I conducted interviews with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the second overall pick, Carson Wentz. My attendance at the draft along with Jensen’s promotion of my stories helped boost my readership and brand.

Mr. Ginn continues to put forth immeasurable efforts in promoting all AAJA Sports Task Force members stories. Because of Ginn, many of my stories receive an increased amount of clicks and views from all over the world. I don’t think Ginn gets nearly the amount of recognition he deserves.

Huang’s relationship with me dates back to several months before my first AAJA convention. Until now, Huang and I maintain one of the best relationships I have with AAJA. Most recently, as I have begun my internship at the Sun-Times, Huang was promoted to become a lead editor for ESPN’s production in China. Huang, Chow and Chen have racked up many air flight miles throughout the past month covering the NBA playoffs. Despite his busy schedule, Huang has been able to still give me helpful tips and pointers during my internship. Huang’s well-developed career began in Chicago where he still has many connections within the city’s media outlets.

Justin Seiter has also been one of the most helpful individuals at AAJA. Seiter is always keeping me in the loop about AAJA scholarships, grant opportunities and whereabouts.

Being awarded the Don Yee Scholarship couldn’t have come at a better time. This summer, I am working as an unpaid sports intern at the Sun-Times.

Before the summer began, I had a competing internship offer, which was a full-time paid position, though the position was in page design and not sports. I chose to follow my heart and stick with my passion for sports. The experience has been invaluable and humbling but also a bit of a financial burden.

I am incredibly thankful for another opportunity to attend AAJA this August in Las Vegas, where I hope to build new networks and continue to develop the strong relationships I already have within AAJA.

In addition to working at the Sun-Times, I also serve as sports editor for The Vidette, ISU’s student-run newspaper. My involvement with The Vidette, Sun-Times and AAJA has all helped me become who I am today. My educational and professional pursuits would not be possible without generous support from individuals like Don Yee and the AAJA Sports Task Force.

As I enter my senior year, it is exciting knowing I’ll be able to attend another AAJA convention the week before school begins. I look to make the most of every opportunity and am proud to be a member of the AAJA Sports Task Force.

Sports Task Force chair Carolyn Hong of ESPN noted that Tolentino was among an “impressive pool of applicants.”

“The Sports Task Force is very pleased to offer Josh this opportunity,” Hong said. His drive and passion for sports journalism made him stand out.

“Thanks to Don Yee’s generosity, the STF is able to offer Josh this fantastic experience. I hope more students take advantage of the programs and networking that AAJA and the STF can offer to help them build a career in journalism.”

Prominent agent Don Yee provides STF scholarship

Don Yee is not one to boast of his impact and influence in sports.

A founder and partner of Yee & Dubin Sports, Yee’s clients include New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, among many others. He’s also a notable speaker and writer.

Yee Brady
Don Yee (right) with his client Tom Brady

But he’s stepped forward to establish a special AAJA Sports Task Force scholarship.

“It is very humbling to even be in a position to honor my parents,” Yee told STF. “I was very lucky to be their son. I want to express how I feel about them and the values they imparted, and I hope to continue to do more.”

The Jimmie & Suey Fong Yee Scholarship provides up to $1,000 to a current college student interested in sports journalism help in covering expenses related to travel and accommodations for the 2016 AAJA convention in Las Vegas in August.

“We’re so honored that Mr. Yee chose the STF to present this wonderful opportunity,” said STF chair Carolyn Hong, a coordinating producer at ESPN. “With this generous gift, Mr. Yee shows how committed he is to paying it forward to the Asian American community.”

The AAJA convention provides students an opportunity to learn, network and grow but cost can be prohibitive.

STF chair Carolyn Hong

“Every penny counts to most students,” Hong said, “and they’re beyond excited about this opportunity to perhaps attend the AAJA national conference for the first time! Many say they’re spreading the word about this opportunity and about the Sports Task Force.”

Jimmie and Suey Fong Yee immigrated to the U.S. when China fell under Communist rule, and they settled in Sacramento. They endured many hardships as they created a new life for themselves and their family.

But Jimmie and Suey Fong instilled in their children the importance of kindness.

That was one of the two key motivations for Don Yee in founding this scholarship.

“My parents really emphasized helping others,” Yee said. ” The other inspiration is what journalists do every day in trying to communicate stories of importance – it’s important to me that we have good and strong journalists in society.

“I support the AAJA Sports Task Force because there are a lot of good people I’ve met who’ve overcome a lot to get where they are and because those same people are enthusiastic about telling a wider range of stories.”

For details and the application, click here.

The deadline to apply is Sunday, May 15.

Photo credit: New York Daily News

Brady Wakayama wins inaugural AAJA Sports Task Force scholarship

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Sports Task Force has named Brady Wakayama the first ever recipient of the Al Young Sports Journalism Scholarship.

Wakayama, a senior at Washington State University, is a communications major with an emphasis on broadcast journalism and a minor in sports management.  He is currently developing his skills as a member of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication’s Murrow News 8 team, where he has done everything from reporting, writing and producing to anchoring newscasts.Brady Wakayama

“As the namesake of this award, I’m extremely delighted and proud to congratulate Brady on being the inaugural winner of the AAJA Sports Task Force Journalism Scholarship. This is not only a testament to the hard work and dedication he has already shown early on but, hopefully, this will be another stepping stone toward achieving his sports journalism career dreams,” said Al Young, a retired sports journalist and current advisor to the Quincy College (Mass.) student newspaper.

Currently a student member of AAJA, Wakayama has also shown his support in the Asian American community, volunteering since 2009 at Seattle’s Asian Counseling and Referral Service.

“Brady was among a number of strong applicants for our first scholarship,” said Sports Task Force chairperson Carolyn Hong.  “His passion, attitude and commitment to sports impressed all of us on the selection committee.  He is a great representative of the nation’s up-and-coming Asian American sports journalists, and we hope there are many more who will follow in his footsteps.”

Award-winning sports journalist Al Young

Wakayama is expected to graduate in May 2016.

“I certainly appreciate the ongoing support and mentorship (of the AAJA Sports Task Force) as I pursue a broadcast journalism career in the sports media industry,” Wakayama said. “The Al Young Sports Journalism scholarship is an unbelievable honor, and has further inspired and motivated me to do great things in this industry.”

The Al Young Sports Journalism scholarship is named after an award-winning journalist whose career spanned more than three decades.  Young was the nation’s first Asian American sportswriter at a metro daily.

He was a writer and editor at various publications including the Boston Globe, USA Today and the New York Daily News before he retired in 2014.

Parking Made Easy

The AAJA convention was a huge success and it was a pleasure seeing you all there!

During the convention, Sports Task Force recommended ZIRX for your parking needs. If you didn’t have the chance to use it, you’re still in luck! The on-demand parking service may be in a city near you, or somewhere you travel to. Currently the service is based in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Washington D.C, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.

Parking in downtown in these cities is incredibly difficult. This service diminishes the stress of city parking. As mentioned in our previous blog, ZIRX is a local service that will pick up your vehicle at your feet. Download the application on your mobile device, request for an agent to pick up your vehicle, await their arrival, and you’re on your way! ZIRX stores your vehicle in a secure, close-by, garage. When you are ready for your vehicle, get on the app and request an agent to bring it to you.

As journalists or media professionals within this industry, being in these downtown areas is quite prevalent. ZIRX offers monthly passes and you can use your pass in ANY of the cities listed above. Other services are also offered in the application such as car washes and oil changes.

How to start:

> Download the mobile application: ZIRX

> Enter in your information

> Drop the blue arrow pin to where you want your vehicle picked up (within the ZIRX Zone)

> Await an agent

> Upon arrival, they will tell you a secure code (this will match the code on your phone)

> Make sure you have all of your belongings and you’re ready to go!


How to receive your vehicle:

> Open the ZIRX app

> Click ‘Set-up delivery’

> Drop the blue arrow pin to where you want the agent to bring your vehicle

> Await the arrival – just a few minutes

> Provide your agent with the security code on your phone

> And you’re set!

Sports Task Force highly recommends this service for all of your downtown endeavors!

For more information, please visit


Reggie Ho humbly shares his inspiring story with Sports Task Force

By Alysha Tsuji

Reggie Ho inconspicuously walked into the tail-end of an AAJA Sports Task Force meeting to say a few words prior to a screening of an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary based off of his time as kicker for Notre Dame football.

I had watched the short film prior to the screening, so I knew what to expect from it: a riveting story about a man who fought his way onto a competitive football team while also studying to be a doctor — and who then succeeded at both.

Ho could have said a lot of things to us as he stood up. He could have harped on his personal accomplishments, or he could have given us a light preview of his documentary. Instead, he simply thanked the Sports Task Force for having him and sat down. The brevity surprised me, especially since it was revealed that he had cut his family’s Hawaiian vacation time short to be at the AAJA convention with us.

But after the screening, as ESPN anchor Kevin Negandhi conducted a Q&A with Ho, I understood.

Every question Negandhi asked, Ho answered respectfully, with pure class and humility. Negandhi even joked about how, at one point, Ho provided a room full of journalists with the classic canned “It wasn’t me, it was the team” answer.

It quickly became evident that it wasn’t a canned answer. It was just Reggie Ho being Reggie Ho.

The hard work, the discipline, the humility — it propelled Ho to success. He’s now a cardiologist who will forever have his fond memories of kicking for Notre Dame football and winning a title in 1988.

A key moment that resonated with me was when Ho recalled how Coach Lou Holtz addressed the team after the championship win. Holtz told them — in the midst of a national championship victory — to remember there was more to life than football. Ho said he was touched that Holtz took a moment to acknowledge that football was just a sport, and that family, God and friends mattered more.

That perspective can speak to people in all walks of life, and it was inspiring to hear from Dr. Ho himself. Here are some social media highlights of the “Student/Athlete” screening and post-film interview:

With legendary Notre Dame kicker Dr. Reggie Ho and morning ESPN SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi #AAJA15 #SportsTaskForce

A photo posted by Josh Canlas Tolentino (@jctsports) on

zirx logo

Parking Options for the Convention

The day has come and Sports Task Force is looking forward to seeing all of you! San Francisco is known for difficult parking and STF is offering FREE parking through ZIRX, an on-demand parking service.

ZIRX is a local service that will pick up your car right at your feet. All you have to do is get on the application, request for an agent to pick up your vehicle, await their arrival, and you are on your way! They store your vehicle in a secure, close-by, covered garage. Once you’re ready for your car, request delivery and they will bring it back!

How to start:

> Download the mobile application: ZIRX

> Enter in your information

> Apply this FREE coupon code: PARKSTF (your account will now have 2 credits)

> Drop the blue arrow pin to where you want your vehicle picked up

> Await for an agent

> Upon arrival, they will tell you a secure code (this will match the code on your phone)

> Make sure you have all of your belongings and you’re ready to go!


How to receive your vehicle :

> Open the Zirx app

> Click ‘Set-up delivery’

> Drop the blue arrow pin to where you want the agent to bring your vehicle

> Await the arrival – just a few minutes

> Provide your agent with your pick-up code


And just like that, you’re ready for your next destination!
For more information, visit

Join Us at the 25th Annual AAJA Convention!

The Sports Task Force will make its organizational debut with members taking part in some exciting events this week! The 25th annual AAJA convention kicks off Wednesday, August 12. Joining the convention will be more than 900 journalists, news executives, media researches and community leaders.

After last year’s organizational meeting, STF members have dedicated time and support to channel events that would connect to sports media professionals and students. We are looking forward to providing ways to show that sports news can appeal to a broader audience.

The Sports Task Force encourages all to attend the general membership meeting on Friday, August 14, 2015 11:00am – 12:00pm in Grand Ballroom A. The meeting is open to anyone interested in getting involved and connecting with other sports media professionals. This will be a supportive platform where you can share your creative and strategic ideas for STF moving forward as a group.

Follow the 2015 Conference Events here:  










Students! Scholarship Opportunity!

The Al Young Sports Journalism Scholarship

Sports Task Force is incredibly honored to offer college students the Al Young Sports Journalism Scholarship! The scholarship offers up to $2,500 to currently enrolled students who are pursuing sports journalism/media as a career!

The Sports Task Force mission is to elevate the voice of Asian Americans in the sports journalism industry across multiple media platforms through programs, mentorship, and scholarship opportunities.

Sports are becoming increasingly essential in our lives. Beyond providing entertainment, sports have made headlines and led newscasts across traditional news outlets. There’s a growing need for diverse voices — including Asian Americans in sports media, and the Al Young scholarship is dedicated to support and drive that growth.

Scholarship honoree, Al Young is an award-winning journalist who continues to influence many people within the community. He has fostered an interactive dynamic for Asian Americans within the sports journalism field. Across four decades, Mr. Young has been an influential writer and editor at some of the nation’s top news outlets including the Boston Globe, USA Today and New York Daily News.

He is also a dedicated past president of the Asian American Journalists Association Washington, D.C. chapter. In 2010, AAJA named Young to its inaugural honor roll as an “Asian American Pioneer in U.S. journalism.” Now retired from the Boston Globe, Young is currently the advisor to the student newspaper at Quincy College (MA).

The Al Young Scholarship seeks to support students who embody the values and dedication our honoree has offered the journalism community and media industry for decades.

Deadline to apply is October 30, 2016. Once applications are reviewed, a candidate will be selected on the basis of academic achievement, demonstrated journalistic ability, financial need, and commitment to the field of sports journalism.

Please email your completed application to:

You will find the scholarship eligibility and requirement details below:


  1. AAJA student membership is required for the selected scholarship recipients. For membership application, please apply online at
  2. Applicants must demonstrate journalistic excellence and a strong interest in pursuing sports journalism as a career. Selected scholarship recipients must commit to a minimum of five hours of volunteer work for the AAJA Sports Task Force.
  3. Applicants must be an undergraduate enrolled with at least 12 credit units per semester at a junior college/university within the United States. Applicants must be enrolled in or on track to take journalism courses.


  1. Current resume
  2. Cover letter explaining journalism experience, academic accomplishments, career goals, community involvement, and financial need (500-800 words)
  3. Essay describing why you are interested in pursuing a sports journalism career, and what role sports has played in your life (1,000-2,000 words)
  4. 3.0 GPA requirement
  5. Three Professional/Academic references (name and contact information)

Al Young’s Story

Al Young is an award-winning journalist who blazed many trails for Asian American sports journalists. He was the nation’s first Asian American sportswriter at a metro daily in the U.S. mainland. He was also the first Asian American to cover the NFL as a beat writer for the New York Giants and Jets. While with the New Haven (CT) Register, he wrote a weekly column that was the first in the country to focus on national and local personalities and trends in women’s sports.

Young’s career spanned more than four decades.  He was a writer and editor at the Boston Globe, USA Today, the New York Daily News, the New Haven Register and Bridgeport Post-Telegram. 

In 2010, AAJA named Young to its inaugural honor roll as an “Asian American Pioneer in U.S. journalism.”  He is a past president of AAJA’s Washington, D.C. chapter.  Retiring in 2013 from the Boston Globe, Young taught Foundations of Journalism at Emerson College.


By Al Young

In October 1976, the New York Giants opened the original Giant Stadium at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. At the time, I was covering the NFL for the New Haven Register, the second-largest metropolitan daily newspaper in Connecticut. A few days before the inaugural game against the Dallas Cowboys, all the local beat writers gathered to take a photo on Media Day. There were 11 of us. Nobody gave it a second thought that I was the only Asian. In fact, nobody even noticed or cared there were no women, African Americans, Latinos or anyone else of color in the photo. Back then, I was THE exception rather than the rule. Forget Asians in mainstream newsrooms or professional press boxes. There weren’t any notable Asians doing anything in sports when I was a kid.

Al Ray LeonardI grew up in Westchester County, a suburb of New York, less than 20 minutes from Yankee Stadium. My parents owned the only Chinese restaurant in a town that was predominantly white. Like many traditional Asian families, my parents wanted me to go to a good college and get a good, respectable job. They were hoping that one day I would be a) a doctor b) a lawyer c) an engineer… but I chose d) none of the above. You’ve probably heard when it comes to education, studies have shown that 4 out of 5 Asian kids excel in math and science in school. Well, I was that 5th kid. Math and science were Greek to me. Instead, I developed an interest in sports. After school, I would bide my time at my parents’ restaurant, reading the sports sections of the New York Daily News and the now defunct New York Daily Mirror. I especially loved reading about the Yankees.

While there were no Asian sports role models when I was growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, I had an uncle – the late Archie Haw – who was a big sports fan and bachelor who’d come over to our house on Saturdays during baseball season to watch the Yankees on TV and enjoy one of my mom’s home-cooked meals. In fact, it was Uncle Archie, who took me to my first Yankee game when I was 9 or 10.

I was smitten.

My uncle took me to more games, including the New York football Giants, and the seed was planted. By the time I got to high school, where I played three sports (soccer, basketball and baseball) and was the sports editor of the school newspaper, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, even if I didn’t know or see anybody else who looked like me doing it.

I wanted to be a sportswriter.

I eventually went to journalism school in Connecticut at the University of Bridgeport, was the sports editor of the school paper, interned in the school’s Sports Information Department, and wound up getting my first sportswriting job at the Bridgeport Post-Telegram after graduation. That was the start of a daily newspaper career that spanned more than four decades as an editor and writer at five publications, including USA Today, the New York Daily News and the Boston Globe.


The sports journalism landscape has come a long way since that photo at Giants Stadium in ’76 and when I stGiants Writersarted in the business, where newspapers, magazines, TV and radio were the ONLY media outlets. Computers, the Internet and smartphones were still light years away.

And it’s all changed for the better.

That was never more evident than last August, when I attended the initial AAJA Sports Task Force workshop at AAJA’s National Convention in Washington, D.C. As I looked around the crowded SRO room, I was amazed and elated to see so many Asian American faces I recognized who held prominent roles in sports journalism today. Among them were a slew of colleagues from ESPN: producer Carolyn Hong, news editor Brian Wong, NBA writer Ohm Youngmisuk and SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi. There was also Michael Kim, former ESPN anchor and now host of online venture 120 Sports; Michelle Yu, TV sportscaster; Leighton Ginn, Desert Sun sportswriter; and Sean Jensen, author and former NFL beat writer.

The mission of the newly formed Task Force is to continue to elevate the voice of Asian Americans in sports and increase the ranks of Asian American sports journalists across multimedia platforms. I encourage all of you aspiring sports journalists to take advantage of the opportunities, resources and professional contacts the Sports Task Force offers in providing a network and support system to enhance your career.

Al Jet campBesides mentorship, I am humbled and proud the AAJA Sports Task Force will be offering a sports journalism scholarship in my name to current Asian American/ Pacific Islander college students looking to pursue sports journalism/ media as a career. I often tell young people: “When opportunity knocks, at least open the door and see what’s on the other side. If you don’t like what you see, then close the door. Just don’t let the opportunity pass you by.”

Looking back, I wish these kind of opportunities came knocking when I was starting out. I would’ve tried to take advantage of each and every one. But now is the chance to make the most of yours.

Don’t waste it.


Kevin Negandhi – Do You Need an Agent?

Love or hate them, an agent may be instrumental in helping you find the next “perfect job” or negotiate your salary. Do you need an agent to reach your career goals as talent? 

There are different reasons for getting an agent. For some, it may be to land that million-dollar contract with a large broadcast network. 

Some may have a goal to reach a specific mid-level market. 

Others may want to stay right where they are and negotiate a solid contract in their favorite DMA and local news network. In all these cases, an agent may be helpful… or not.

There are many factors you need to consider when contemplating representation:

  • You’ll be handing over a percentage of your salary to get the attention he offers you and get you in front of your dream job
  • She may represent several clients and many of you, may be part of the same pitch for one position. Your competition may be her other clients!
  • Some agents will only get you in front of IMG_3060the potential jobs and do very little if nothing to negotiate your salary
  • If your agent negotiate and does everything for your contract, you may be forking over more of your salary.
  • Your agent needs to know your fullest potential and skill set intimately to best represent you
  • Depending on your experience, you may not be worth the time investment for an agent. 
  • You really should like you agent… and they should like you. To sell you, they need to believe in you!

So how much of your salary do you sign over to an agent? Should they be negotiating your salary? What do you look for or ask for when considering agents? When should you consider an agent and will it be worth it for you? 

Learn and hear from veteran sports broadcaster,  Kevin Negandhi of ESPN, as he shares his own experiences and offers his expertise regarding agents. 

Don’t miss the Sports Task Force live webinar series, “3 in 30: Do You Need an Agent?” with Kevin Negandhi. Join us on June 4th at 9AM PST 12Noon EST and sign up here to be first and learn more about how to access this free webinar series! Kevin will share three important tips critical to determining if you need an agent, what you need to know about the process and make himself available to sure your questions! 


3 in 30 Live Webinar Series
“Do You Need an Agent?” with Kevin Negandhi.
June 4th
9A PST / 12N EST
For more information or questions, contact us here!