Aryanna Prasad selected for 2022 Michael Kim Broadcast Journalism Fellowship

The Asian American Journalists Association’s Sports Task Force is proud to announce Aryanna Prasad as the recipient of the 2022 Michael Kim Broadcast Journalism Fellowship.

Prasad, a graduate of Louisiana State University, is the second recipient of the $2,000 grant, which is intended to support an early career sports broadcast journalist.

“Aryanna’s passion and dedication was visible across her application,” STF chairman Josh Tolentino said. “Michael Kim created opportunities for so many of us, and Aryanna has made it clear she embodies AAJA STF’s mission of ensuring there’s equal and fair AAPI representation in all newsrooms.”

When Prasad first came across the fellowship, she recommended young journalists apply, suggesting it would be a good opportunity for them to advance their careers. Prasad soon realized she was eligible herself, having redirected her career to sports media during the pandemic.

“It’s a blessing, and it’s really inspiring,” said Prasad on receiving the fellowship. “I saw myself as a non-traditional applicant…[but] I still have so much to learn, and I could learn from someone like Michael Kim.”

Kim is a groundbreaking sports anchor who opened doors for the Asian community at the Worldwide Leader. Kim served as an anchor at ESPN’s SportsCenter for 17 years and was one of the original anchors who helped launch ESPNNews. Now working at 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.

“Aryanna’s perseverance and determination are precisely the qualities that this fellowship is set up to reward and support,” said Kim, a founding STF board member. “How can you not be moved and inspired by her story? Congratulations Aryanna!”

Prasad, an Associate Editor at Fansided, said she plans to use the scholarship funds to invest in camera equipment and further her broadcast career. She studied political communications and international studies at LSU. Prasad is also an alumnus of AAJA’s distinguished VOICES program.

Her passions include reporting on the intersection between sports, politics and culture. Women’s representation and opportunity in sports media are issues Prasad cares about deeply.

“There are always these moments in sports where it can feel isolating to be an Asian American woman,” Prasad said. “And now I will always have this to say, that someone supports me and believes in me and the stories that I’m telling.”

For additional information regarding AAJA’s scholarship/fellowship opportunities, please visit: www.aaja.org/news-and-resources/scholarships-internships/

STF announces recipients of 2022 Jimmie and Suey Fong Yee Fellowship

The Asian American Journalists Association’s Sports Task Force is pleased to announce Amna Subhan and Nathan Han as the recipients of the 2022 Jimmie & Suey Fong Yee Fellowship, generously funded by prominent sports agent Don Yee.

The $2,000 grants will go toward registration for the 2022 AAJA national convention, which is scheduled to be held this summer in Los Angeles, and also fund expenses associated with reporting a story about Asians or Asian Americans in sports that the two recipients pitched as part of their applications. Han and Subhan are the 12th and 13th overall recipients of the fellowship. 

“Amna and Nathan emerged from a strong pool of applicants,” STF chairman Josh Tolentino said. “The Sports Task Force is so grateful for Don Yee’s support of diversity in sports journalism. His contributions will help Amna and Nathan take further steps in accomplishing their dreams and goals.”

Subhan is a senior studying sports journalism at Arizona State University. She grew up in a small town in Arizona and struggled to find her place as a Pakistani-American, but found a sense of belonging in sports, and is dedicated to cementing a place for South Asian women in the industry, she said.

Subhan currently works for NCAA Digital with Turner Sports’ editorial team. This upcoming summer, she’s set to intern with Sports Illustrated as an Association for Women in Sports Media scholarship recipient. 

Through the Jimmie & Suey Fong Yee Fellowship, Subahn will collaborate with AAJA to produce a story on the growth of women’s cricket breaking cultural barriers in South Asia. 

Han is a junior studying journalism and social work at the University of Texas at Austin. Born and raised in Dallas, he found his passion for sports journalism as an intern for the Dallas Morning News. Han covers football, basketball and baseball for the Daily Texan, the student newspaper at UT, and is the president of the AAJA-UT student chapter. 

Han’s story pitch for the Jimmie & Suey Fong Yee Fellowship revolves around the role ping-pong has played in the lives of many Chinese immigrants and Asian Americans by looking back at the history of ping-pong in China and ping-pong diplomacy.

Subhan and Han are both members of the distinguished Sports Journalism Institute, whose mission is to increase diversity in the nation’s sports media. As a 2021 graduate of SJI, Subhan interned with the Southern California Newsgroup covering the Los Angeles Sparks for 11 different newspapers around the area including the Orange County Register and LA Daily News. Upon completion of his spring semester, Han will intern at the Kansas City Star, as part of this year’s SJI class.

Over the course of a decorated 34-year career, Yee has represented many of the country’s most accomplished football players and coaches, as well as athletes from a wide range of Olympic and action sports. His clientele includes Tom Brady, Jimmy Garappolo, Julian Edelman and Sean Payton. Yee, who also founded HUB Football, is a longtime supporter of AAJA’s Sports Task Force; this year, he generously doubled his contribution for the Fellowship, which is named in honor of Yee’s parents.

Yee said he was very impressed by Subhan and Han’s background and story pitches.

“The sports world now is much more globally connected, and I want to do what I can to provide more opportunity to a wider range of storytellers that may bring a more global perspective,” Yee said. “The worldwide Asian population is enormous, and there are so many undiscovered stories that would be exciting to hear.”

Jimmie and Suey Fong Yee illustration by Sally Deng

For additional information regarding AAJA’s scholarship/fellowship opportunities, please visit: www.aaja.org/news-and-resources/scholarships-internships/

Tami Nguyen of Boston University Wins Coveted STF’s ESPN Internship

By Josh Tolentino

The Asian American Journalists Association Sports Task Force is proud to announce Tami Nguyen as the second winner of its ESPN internship.

Nguyen is graduating this month from Boston University. 

She was recently named winner of the 2018 Al Young Sports Journalist Scholarship. Nguyen is the first female recipient of both the scholarship and internship.

“I’m really proud of all that Tami has accomplished,” said Howard Chen, STF’s chairman. “There were many worthy applicants, and through a very thorough judging and vetting process. Tami was ultimately chosen as the best fit for this ESPN internship. We are extremely thankful to Disney and ESPN for helping to make this opportunity possible through AAJA’s Sports Task Force.”

Nguyen’s passion for journalism has grown through her current internship with the control room at TD Garden, home of the Boston Celtics and Bruins. She’s spent the past season covering various athletes, including Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Zdeno Chara and others.

She hopes to continue her sports journalism career after college in Boston and work in live sports coverage.

Nguyen joined AAJA in high school. However, she didn’t attend her first event until a few months ago when she decide to stop by an event hosted by AAJA New England, where she met Al Young and other Boston-based journalists.

She instantly found a home. 

“AAJA is very family oriented,” Nguyen said. “I’m beyond thankful both of these opportunities were given to me this year. I wasn’t involved much before, but AAJA and the Sports Task Force has helped open so many doors.”

When Nguyen found out she won the internship, she was quick to make a first request.

“I wanted to make sure I could attend AAJA in Houston,” she said.

Nguyen plans on attending her first AAJA national convention this summer in Houston, and increasing her involvement with the AAJA Sports Task Force.

“Winning this scholarship and internship has re-assured me I chose the right path,” Nguyen said. “The Sports Task Force has done so much and the success I enjoy is a direct benefit of the support I receive.”

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Sports Task Force has named Jackson Safon the inaugural winner of its ESPN internship.

Safon is graduating with a degree from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. 

“The process to find one that was most worthy of this ESPN/AAJA Sports Task Force internship wasn’t easy, with so many strong candidates,” said Howard Chen, STF’s chairman. “Special thanks to our judging panel for going through all the entries and selecting USC’s Jackson Safon, our inaugural winner of this incredible opportunity. Think about it: this is a paid internship with furnished housing covered! Thank you to ESPN and Disney for continuing to champion diversity with this internship.”

There were over 43 applicants for the ESPN/ AAJA Sports Task Force internship, but Jackson distinguished himself with his grades and his extensive work as in digital and broadcast media.

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.

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