By Sandeep Chandok
The Asian American Journalists Association’s Sports Task Force is proud to announce Paulina Jeng as the inaugural winner of the 2021 Michael Kim Broadcast Fellowship.
Jeng, a 2020 University of California Berkeley graduate, is the first-ever recipient of the $2,000 award, intended to support an early career sports broadcast journalist.
“I am thrilled with the judging committee’s choice of Paulina as the inaugural recipient of this fellowship,” Kim said. “She represents everything this award is and should be. I can’t wait to see where her career takes her.”
“Paulina emerged from a very strong pool of candidates,” STF president Josh Tolentino said. “Our 2021 scholarship/fellowship recipient pool drew the most applicants since STF began offering financial opportunities more than six years ago – a testament to the group’s rapid growth and also to our commitment in helping develop the next generation of AAPI sports journalists.
“Michael Kim is a legend in our industry and we are so excited to introduce Paulina as the inaugural recipient of the Michael Kim Broadcast Fellowship.”
Jeng – also a past recipient of the STF’s ESPN internship (2019) – received the news that she had won the Michael Kim Fellowship STF scholarship while she was in her native Taiwan.
“It took me a minute to process when Josh told me,” Jeng said. “I was kind of still in shock and wasn’t expecting it. But I was very happy and my mom is here with me in Taiwan so I was very excited to tell her and share the news with the rest of my family.”
Jeng said she felt the Kim fellowship resonated with her background because of her passion for digital broadcast.
“I felt that this one was aligned with what I’ve been wanting to do and what I hope to do in the future,” Jeng said. “And of course Michael Kim being Michael Kim, I was very excited to apply for something that was in his honor. He’s been a role model for a lot of journalists so being able to do something with his support meant a lot.”
Jeng said it’s powerful to not only see other people who look like her in the industry, but also Asian American athletes making strides and becoming more prominent figures as well.
“It means a lot to be in this space in a time where people are a lot more cognizant of how different experiences are for women in pretty much any industry and celebrating that,” Jeng said. “For women to get that support from allies is really important and I’m excited to see more women come in this industry.”
Kim is a groundbreaking anchor who opened doors for the Asian community at the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Kim was an anchor at ESPN’s SportsCenter for 17 years and was one of the original anchors who launched the innovative ESPNNews. Now working as the anchor of The Stadium on Marquee Sports Network, Kim has been a proud member of AAJA for decades and is a Sports Task Force legend who has supported the group from its inception.
Jeng said joining the Asian American Journalists Association has been instrumental to her career.
“Being a part of AAJA has been one of the best investments of my time professionally,” Jeng said. “It’s very powerful to be amongst people who understand your struggles in a very detailed way.
“It builds a lot of confidence and a lot of community as well. It’s an honor, really, to be in a community of outstanding journalists who not only have your back, but also believe you have what it takes to succeed.”
2021 Michael Kim Broadcast Fellowship judging panel
– Tommy Tran, CBS Sports HQ
– Lily Zhao, FOX6 Milwaukee
– Melissa Kim, WBAL 1090
– Michele Steele, ESPN
– Cameron Kim, NBC Sports