By Yvonne Leow
Hurried whispers reverberate through the auditorium while pencils furiously scribble away.
Time flies as hundreds of people rack their minds over every conceivable topic. The competition is fierce, but the experience is priceless.
And as swiftly as it began, the moment ends. ABC 7 Evening News Anchor David Ono announces that the time is up and the room erupts into conversation and laughter.
Jokes are thrown around, friendships are made, and points are tallied. Yet, that is only the beginning. Without any hesitation, the teams are ready for more.
This is AAJA-LA’s annual Trivial Bowl, and it is time for round two.
What began as a humble idea has grown into AAJA-LA’s largest annual fundraiser in Southern California.
On Oct. 17, teams from various journalism and community organizations will come together to not only answer random trivia, but to also raise money for student scholarships and stipends.
In a news industry that is in need of a fresh revival, fostering future journalists is an important element of AAJA’s mission. Everyone can help support Trivia Bowl’s worthy cause, but in the end, only one company can bear the title of being the most trivia-savvy, or ‘smartest’, team of the event.
“The idea that people are trying to match wits and do this trivia contest on a grand scale is very appealing. I think it’s a brilliant idea, and the fact that it’s so successful is proof of that,” said Ono, who is also the master of eremonies at Trivia Bowl.
This year, the AAJA event will again feature a live auction, a silent auction, and a raffle for attendees. Yet, competitors can expect a few changes in the program. In an effort to make the competition more interactive, some of the questions may be read off a screen or presented by the M.C.
In past years, the enormous event has been hosted at the Japanese-American National Museum in Little Tokyo. However, due to Trivia Bowl’s growing publicity and attendance, the fundraiser will again be held in ABC 7’s Glendale studios this year. The last time ABC 7 hosted Trivia Bowl was the year of AAJA’s 25th anniversary in 2006.
“We’ve been an ongoing sponsor for Trivia Bowl since it started,” said Diane Medina, the diversity and community relations officer at ABC 7. “It’s a great opportunity for us because we have a great relationship with AAJA, and this is just one way for us to support AAJA’s mission.”
ABC 7 is not the only official sponsor of Trivia Bowl. For the past five years, Wahoo’s Tacos has also been a loyal supporter by providing a full Mexican dinner and drinks for attendees to enjoy.
They plan to cater again this year, and without the generosity of these sponsors combined with the efforts of many volunteers, AAJA’s Trivia Bowl would not be the amazing and successful event it is today according to event organizers.
“So many factors go into why Trivia bowl is such a success but simply put, it’s the AAJA volunteers and coordinators who spend literally months of their lives putting the event together,” describes Jinah Kim, president of the AAJA-Los Angeles chapter. “And then it’s the sponsors and players who can’t imagine a year going by without participating in such a fun event.”
Some of the major media organizations who continue to attend annually are the Los Angeles Times, KABC 7, KNBC 4 and CBS 2/KCAL 9.
Other professional organizations, such as the Japanese-American Bar Association, and last year’s winner, the Law Offices of Fung and Chun, are also expected to make an appearance and to defend their title.
The united community effort has been vital to the success of Trivia Bowl over the years, and without their contributions, the event would not be possible.
Yvonne Leow is currently an AAJA-LA student representative at UCLA.