Q&A: Five minutes with National Convention co-chair Leezel Tanglao

Q&A: Five minutes with National Convention co-chair Leezel Tanglao
ABOVE: From L-R Convention co-chairs Trang Ho and Leezel Tanglao and AAJA-LA Chapter President Jinah Kim

“I’d like to first acknowledge the AAJA founders who were able to attend because without them, there would be no AAJA. Secondly our emcee Ben Fong-Torres left a lasting impression on not just me but I believe everyone there – he provided the bridge to the generations through his humor and smooth delivery.”

– Leezel Tanglao, overnight home page editor for ABCNews.com

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ABCNews.com’s Leezel Tanglao, a National Convention co-chair alongside Investor’s Business Daily’s Trang Ho, talks about meeting former Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres, offers some words of advice for the Michigan Chapter co-chairs who will be coordinating the convention in Detroit next year, and talks about planning the convention while completing her master’s thesis and working a full-time graveyard shift at KCBS/KCAL.

AAJA: You were attending to graduate studies and working full-time for KCBS/KCAL in Los Angeles while planning the convention — where did you find the time?  Talk about pulling this national convention together in retrospect, given everything that was happening in your life?

TANGLAO: It was a crazy and whirlwind train ride – which I feel like I’m still on these days! But as one of my professors told me as I filed my thesis, ‘if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person’ – meaning that there’s no time to mess around and you have to get the task completed.

AAJA: How many national conventions have you attended, and how did this AAJA national convention distinguish itself from one’s you’ve attended in the past?

TANGLAO: I’ve attended every convention since 2002 – so that would make it a total of 9. This year is different from the rest because it was in my hometown and I participated in the planning of it.

AAJA: What was the most memorable moment of the national convention for you?

TANGLAO: By far the most memorable moment was at the opening reception, where different generations of journalists came together to see where we’ve come and look ahead to where we are going.

AAJA: Of the Asian American Journalism pioneers you were able to meet and mingle with before the Opening Reception, who left a lasting impression on you and why?

TANGLAO: I’d like to first acknowledge the founders who were able to attend because without them, there would be no AAJA. Secondly, our emcee Ben Fong-Torres left a lasting impression on not just me but I believe everyone there – he provided the bridge to the generations through his humor and smooth delivery. I’d also like to acknowledge (AAJA members) Suzanne Kai and Chris Chow who put together an opening reception to remember for many years to come – their dedication to honor those who came before us and opened doors for future generations is truly inspirational.

AAJA: Was there some advice — or something from a workshop — you pulled from this convention you would like to share?

TANGLAO: The convention’s opportunities don’t just end when the convention ends – don’t wait for next year to get involved..  Continue to network and look ahead for the next opportunity to innovate.

AAJA: Do you have some philosophical words of advice for the Michigan Chapter co-chairmen as they plan for next year’s National Convention in Detroit?

TANGLAO: Be prepared for anything and have fun.

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Leezel Tanglao is the overnight home page editor for ABCNews.com in New York City. Prior to making the move to New York, she was an online news producer at KCBS/KCAL in Los Angeles. She also worked as a multimedia/mobile journalist at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif. Tanglao recently just completed her graduate studies at UCLA’s Asian American Studies MA program. She created a multimedia website to serve Filipino Americans in Southern California as part of her research/creative thesis – which she will launch into a hyperlocal online resource.

Tanglao has also been an active member of the Asian American Journalists Association since 2002. She currently serves as local and a national advisory board member for AAJA. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a bachelor’s degree in English and minor in Asian Pacific American Studies.

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