The Los Angeles Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association

HONOR ROLL LIST: Pioneers, past and present


Asian American Journalists Association Honor Roll



A pioneer is one who opens up an area or prepares a way.  A pioneer is somebody who does something for the first time or is one of the first to reach a goal, a territory, create a genre, who breaks through a barrier, blazes a trail, or helps open the doors for others to go through where no one of their kind has gone before.

The following Asian Pacific Americans listed here, whose heritage includes the continents of Asia, America and the islands of the Pacific Ocean, are pioneers in journalism.

They are first of their kind to practice journalism professionally for a U.S. news organization or create a journalistic vehicle using the English language in the so-called mainstream news media field, addressing ethnic communities or as a conscious counter or alternative to the mainstream.

The pioneers here are writers, reporters, photographers, photojournalists, filmmakers, motion picture and television camera people, film and video editors, radio-television community and public affairs producers or on-air hosts, editorial cartoonists, producers, directors, copy editors, make-up editors, assignment editors, columnists, war correspondents, foreign correspondents, senior editors, managing editors, executive editors, tape editors, press operators, broadcast engineers, network correspondents, on-air broadcast news anchors, news directors, publishers, media owners.

They are leaders in their field. They break through barriers of discrimination. They tell true stories about people and places. They strive to uphold the principles of truth, justice and freedom.

Additionally, the AAJA Honor Roll includes those who were outspoken advocates and active agents for change in the newsrooms and products of U.S. media organizations.


AAJA’s Honor Roll of Asian American Pioneers in Journalism is not definitive or complete. It is a living, working, breathing document.

The categories are Asian American Pioneers in U.S. Journalism (1925-1975); the Change Agents who fought for our rights to become working journalists in America; Pioneers in Asian Community Media, and Pioneers in Asian American Media.

We expect to know and hear of more pioneers as we continue to explore, discover and learn about our colleagues and the communities we share.

The AAJA Honor Roll represents what we know at this moment in time, with the understanding and expectation that there are more pioneers to be discovered and recognized, including those from earlier as well as later eras, that this list will grow and endure as more pioneers are found, as witnesses come forth or documentation is unearthed.


Lest we forget those who came before us, let us now recognize, praise, honor and cherish these Asian American pioneers in journalism, sung and unsung, for their courage, vision and wisdom.

– Written by Christopher Chow. Reprinted from AAJA’s 2010 Convention Book.

The ASIAN AMERICAN PIONEERS PROJECT is researched, edited and compiled
by Christopher Chow and Suzanne Joe Kai.

Editors’ Note: We regret any errors or omissions contained herein. Corrections and additions will be made with subsequent updates or editions online and in print. This ongoing project will be housed at Please submit candidates to Annabelle Udo-O’Malley c/o


1. Gobind Behari Lal*
SF Examiner, Universal Service, Pulitzer for Science Writing 1937, Science Editor Emeritus-Hearst  Newspapers
2. Louise Leung Larson*
LA Record, Chicago Daily Times, LA Times Sunday Magazine, Santa Monica Evening Outlook
3. Larry Tajiri*
Pacific Citizen Editor, Denver Post Literary & Arts Critic
4. Ah Jook Leung Ku*
Honolulu Star-Bulletin – 1st Asian American reporter in Hawaii
5. Hai Sheng “Newsreel” Wong*
Hearst Metrotone News of the Day – 1st Asian American motion picture newsreel cameraman
6. Mayday Lo Walden
Paradise of the Pacific – 1st Asian American woman magazine writer in Hawaii, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
7. Norman Soong*
NY Times Photojournalist – One of 1st Asian American photojournalists & war correspondent with major daily
8. Ella Chun*
Honolulu Advertiser – 1st Asian American woman to write for the Honolulu Advertiser
9. Charles Leong*
The Stars & Stripes, SF Chronicle – One of 1st Asian American writers for Army and San Francisco daily
10. Larry Nakatsuka*
Honolulu Star Bulletin – 1st Japanese American reporter in Hawaii; covered Pearl Harbor Attack; AAJA Award
11.  Howard Yuen
KSFO, KPIX – 1st Asian American Radio-TV engineer who helped launch 1st TV station in SF (KPIX)
12. William Hosokawa*
Japanese American Courier, Denver Post – 1st Asian American senior editor on major U.S. daily
13. James M. Omura*
Current Life, Rocky Shimpo
14. Carlos Bulosan*
Saturday Evening Post – 1st Asian American to write for a major general circulation magazine
15. William Gee*
Honolulu Star Bulletin – 1st Asian American sports writer and editor on major U.S. daily
16.  Dr. Herb Wong
KJAZ-FM – 1st Asian American jazz journalist, music producer and among 1st Asian American radio announcers
17. Jen-Chung Chang*
World War II Correspondent, President of Foreign Press Club, Tokyo, Japan
18.  Tomi Kaizawa Knaefler
Honolulu Star Bulletin – 1st Japanese American woman reporter Hawaii, covered ‘60s national civil rights stories
19.  Harriet Mun Gee
Honolulu Star Bulletin – One of 1st Asian American women to move from society to general news
20. Shurei Hirozawa*
Honolulu Star Bulletin – 1st Asian American business and labor editor
21. Morgan Li Kung Jin*
Newspaper Guild of NY Times, won $1.5 million class action discrimination suit resulting in affirmative action
22. Kenneth Cyril Wong*
Chinese World Daily, SF Examiner 1980-86 – 1st Asian American news columnist in a San Francisco daily
23. Brij Lal*
Voice of America (White House); ABC Radio News writer/editor – One of 1st Asian American broadcast journalists
24.  Vincent Tajiri
Playboy Magazine Photo Editor
25. William T. Kong*
Des Moines Register, SF Examiner – 1st Asian American recipient of SPJ’s Wells Memorial Key Award
26.  Henry Moritsugu
Northern Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday – One of 1st Asian American editors,  AAJA Award
27.  George Lum
KPIX TV – 1st Chinese American TV Producer & Director of daily and evening newscasts and variety programs
28.  Dorothy Ing Russell
United Press, Washington Post – 1st Asian American woman editor & 2nd woman editor hired by the Post
29. Sarah Park*
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Korean War correspondent, Newseum Journalists Memorial Wall
30. Jack Matsumoto*
One of 1st Asian American press photographers at Honolulu Star Bulletin
31.  Kyung Won Lee
Charleston Gazette, Sacramento Union. Launched English edition of The Korea Times, as Editor.  AAJA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. Newseum History Gallery inductee for investigative journalism.
32. Sam Chu Lin*
WJPR, KOOL, CBS News, KTTV – 1st Asian American radio anchor; one of 1st Asian American network news reporters
33. William F. Woo*
Kansas City Times, St. Louis Dispatch – 1st Asian American chief editor of a major daily
34. Ernie Flores*
Arizona Republic – 1st Filipino American reporter in major U.S. daily
35.  Jon Wing Lum
CBS 20th Century with Walter Cronkite – 1st Asian American network cameramen, catalytic cinema pioneer
36.  Jack Ong
Mesa Arizona Daily Tribune – One of 1st Asian American reporters in Arizona and the Southwest
37. Bill Kwon*
Honolulu Star-Bulletin – One of 1st Asian American sports columnists in U.S.
38. Chinn Ho*
Star Bulletin & Pacific Daily News – 1st Asian American Owner of U.S. daily, Chairman, Gannett-Pacific Corp.
39. Henry Lorren Au*
Sacramento Union – 1st Asian American press photographer in Sacramento, covering California capitol
40.  Kyoichi Sawada
UPI – Photographer, Pulitzer Prize Winner for Vietnam War woman & children fleeing across river (1966)
41.   David Chan
Playboy Magazine – One of 1st Asian American major magazine photographers
42.  William Wong
SF Chronicle – 1st Asian American staff writer at Wall Street Journal, regional commentator on PBS  Newshour
43.  Gene Oishi
Associated Press, Baltimore Sun – 1st Asian American reporter covering nation’s capitol for the Baltimore Sun
44.  Min S. Yee
Newsweek, Ramparts – 1st Asian American major news magazine reporter (Newsweek) and editor (Ramparts
45.  K. Connie Kang
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, LA Times – 1st Korean American woman reporter on U.S. mainland daily
46.  David Kishiyama
Morro Bay Sun, LA Times,  AAJA Founder – One of 1st Asian American staff writers for LA Times
47.  Frank Ching
New York Times, Wall Street Journal – One of 1st Asian American editors at New York Times
48.  Huynh (Nick) Cong Ut
Associated Press – Photographer, Pulitzer Prize for Napalm Girl 1973
49.  Frank Chin
KING Screen Productions, WNET PBS, Writer-Host 1st national Asian American special, Chinaman Chance
50.  Mario Machado
KHJ, KNXT CBS Sports – 1st Asian American Radio-TV reporter-anchor; sportscaster, consumer affairs reporter.
51.  Ben Fong-Torres
KFOG, Rolling Stone, KTVU – 1st Asian American editor at the executive level of a national magazine (Senior Editor of Rolling Stone);
52. Beulah Quo*
KCOP, KNBC – One of 1st Asian American television public affairs producers in the country
53. Victor Wong*
KQED Newsroom – Originated news photo-essay genre on pioneering daily news program of public broadcasting
54.  Susan Almazol
San Francisco Examiner – 1st Filipina and first Asian American woman reporter.
55.  Emiko Omori
KQED Newsroom – 1st woman TV news cameraperson in SF, Filmmaker, Emmy Award for Rabbit in the Moon.
56.  John Wing
WNBC TV – one of 1st Asian American TV news cinematographers in New York
57.  David Louie
NBC News, KGO – One of 1st Asian American TV news reporters; 1st Asian American TV reporter in Midwest
58. Stanford Chen*
Portland Oregonian – 1st Asian American editor at The Portland Oregonian; AAJA Lifetime Award.
59. Loni Ding, Ph.D.*
KPIX, KQED, PBS – 1st bilingual Chinese-English TV series in US; Filmmaker, founded Independent Television Service
60.  Gimmy Park Li
KNBR Radio – 1st Asian American radio public affairs producer in San Francisco
61. Lloyd LaCuesta
KTVU – 1st Filipino American TV news reporter in San Francisco, 1st National President of Unity ’94.
62.  Ken Kashiwahara
KHVH, KABC, ABC News – 1st Asian American network TV news anchor & war correspondent (Vietnam)
63.  Suzanne Joe (Kai)
KCBS SF, KRON TV, KTVU, KGO, KGUN, documentary filmmaker, StudioLA.TV  – 1st Asian American female TV news reporter/host in San Francisco & Arizona
64.  Connie Chung
WTTG, CBS News – 1st Asian American & and 2nd woman network evening news anchor
65.  Christopher Chow
WMAQ, KPIX, KCET – 1st Asian American TV news reporter in SF, his hire triggered rush for AA TV reporters
66.  Vic Lee
UPI, NY Times, KRON, KGO – One of 1st Asian American managing editors in San Francisco, general news TV reporter, w/ an Asian affairs beat.
67.  Charles Lee Moriwaki
KQED, KGO, Seattle Times – One of 1st AA TV news writer-producers & assignment editor in SF
68. Francisco “Corky” Trinidad*
Honolulu Star Bulletin – 1st Asian American nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist.
69.  Tritia Toyota, Ph.D
KNX, KNBC, KCBS TV – 1st Asian American woman reporter & evening news anchor in Los Angeles, AAJA Founder
70. Willie Kee*
KTVU – 1st Asian American TV news cameraman in the SF Bay Area.
71.  Barbara Tanabe
KOMO, KHON TV -1st Asian American woman TV reporter on West Coast,  1st AA woman Hawaii TV anchor
72.  Al Young
Bridgeport Post-Telegram, Boston Globe – 1st Asian American mainland sports writer, editor and columnist
73.  Margarett Loke
Ingenue, Cosmopolitan, NY Times Magazine – One of the 1st Asian American editors for national magazines
74.  George Takei
KNBC Expressions East West – Host-Producer, One of 1st Asian American public affairs hosts
75.  Rosy Chu
KTVU – one of 1st Asian American public affairs producer-hosts and managers in television
76.  Rose Pak
SF Chronicle – 1st Asian American woman staff reporter at San Francisco Chronicle
77.  Marilynn K. Yee
St. Louis-Dispatch, NY Times – 1st woman and among 1st Asian American photographers at NY Times
78.  Sandi Eng
KGO Radio, One of 1st Asian American radio news producers in San Francisco
78. Dith Pran*
New York Times – One of 1st AA photographers at NY Times, Survivor of Cambodia “killing fields” Subject of the Academy Award-winning film The Killing Fields
79.  Linda Shen
WNET, KPIX – 1st Asian American woman television news reporter in New York
80.  Sumi Sevilla Haru
KTLA – 1st Filipino TV regular in Los Angeles as host-producer of The Gallery, 70’s Woman and 80’s Woman
81.  Frank Kwan
KCOP TV, KNBC – One of 1st Asian American public affairs host-producers,  AAJA Founder
82.  Nancy Yoshihara
LA Times – One of 1st Asian American women reporters at Los Angeles Times, AAJA Founder.
83.  Joann Lee, Ph.D
KOVR, WLS, WCAU, CNN – 1st Asian American woman TV news reporter-anchor in 3 markets & cable network
84.  Joanne Ishimine
KABC TV – 1st Asian American woman reporter-anchor at KABC Los Angeles
85.  Bruce Koon
KQED News Director, Pioneering online editor established Knight-Ridder Digital Center as Exec. News Editor
86.  Curtiss Kim
KNBR Radio, KFTY TV – 1st Asian American Radio Reporter in San Francisco;
87.  Felicia Lowe
KNBC, KGO TV – One of 1st female Asian American TV reporters & public affairs hosts in SF, documentary Filmmaker
88.  Robert Handa
KNTV, KTEH, KTVU – News reporter. Integrated Silicon Valley newsrooms in print & broadcast
89.  Dwight Chuman
Rafu Shimpo – Editor, KCET – One of 1st Asian American writer-producers at KCET. AAJA Founder
90.  Peter Bhatia
The Oregonian – Editor. – 1st Asian American President of American Society of Newspaper Editors; 7 Pulitzers won by newsrooms he has helped lead.
91.  Paul Sakuma
Associated Press – One of 1st Asian American press photographers in SF; Pulitzer Prize Finalist (1975)
92.  Emil Guillermo
KLOL, KRON, NPR – 1st Asian American male and first Filipino American  to host a national news program
93.  Linda Yee
KRON TV, KPIX TV, News reporter – One of 1st Asian American public affairs producer-writers to cross over to news.
94.  Ronald C. Patel*
Philadelphia Inquirer – 1st Asian American Sunday Editor & president of Newspaper Features Council
95.   Kaity Tong
KPIX, WABC TV – 1st Asian American Evening News Anchor New York
96. Ginny Poon Yamate*
KPIX, KGO TV – One of the 1st Asian American public affairs producers & managers in Radio-TV in SF
97.  Pamela Young
KPIX, KQED – 1st Asian American staff reporter on KQED Newsroom; Anchor KITV Hawaii
98.  Corky Lee
Freelance Photojournalist – Time, New York Times, AP, Village Voice, with a focus on Asian America
99.  Alan Fong
KCBS Radio – 1st Asian American radio commentator in San Francisco
100. Linda Yu
KATU, WLS -1st Asian American TV news reporter in Oregon,  one of 1st Asian American anchors in Chicago
101. Jon Funabiki
San Diego Union – 1st Asian American editorial page editor of San Diego Union
102. Ted Shen*
Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine – 1st Asian American critic in Chicago.
103. Judge Julie Tang
KRON TV – Wah Kue – 1st Chinese American bilingual host of weekly public affairs program
104. Jan Yanehiro
KFRC, KPIX Evening Magazine – One of the 1st journalists to introduce the magazine format to television
105. Serena Chen
KTVU Asians Now, co-host and co-producer – 1st weekly multilingual Asian American public affairs program
106. Annie Nakao
Coast Magazine, SF Examiner, LA Herald Examiner, innovator of civic journalism, AAJA Award
107.  Bill Sing
Los Angeles Times business editor, economics editor, AAJA Founder


Pioneers Who Advocated for the Hiring and Promotion of
Asian Americans in Mainstream Media

1. Dr. L. Ling-chi Wang 1968 Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley, Asian American Studies Scholar and Activist, Dr. Wang co-founded the Asian American civil rights organization, Chinese for Affirmative Action. Dr. Wang fought for equal employment opportunities in many industries, including desegregating the all-male, all-white mainstream newsrooms of San Francisco in the late 1960s and early 70s. Once the first Asian Americans broke the barriers to be hired to work as journalists on-camera in San Francisco’s TV news, stations nationwide began hiring Asian Americans.
2. Justice Harry W. Low 1968 Presiding Justice, California Appellate Court (Ret)/JAMS; Civil Rights Advocate & Documentary Exec. Producer, Separate Lives, Broken Dreams. During the 1967-1972 period when most SF television and radio newsrooms did not employ Asian Americans, he would become one of the “bridges” between the broadcast stations in SF and the Chinese American community.
3. Hon. Lim P. Lee* 1966 1st Asian American Postmaster of SF, Co-Founder of the Chinese American Democratic Club, Civil Rights Advocate.
4. Sumi Sevilla Haru 1972 Co-Founder & former national chair of the SAG Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee; SAG national board member since 1974 & AFTRA national board member since 1976.


1. Ng Poon Chew 1899 Chung Sai Yat Po (Chinese Daily)
2.  Victorio A. Velasco* 1924 Philippine Seattle Colonist, Philippine American Review, The Filipino Forum
3. Walter U. Lum* 1924 Chinese Times, Young China
4.  James Sakamoto* 1928 Japanese American Courier
5.  Misao Sakamoto* 1928 Japanese American Courier
6.  Larry Tajiri* 1931 Pacific Citizen, Denver Post
7. Tsuguyo (Marion) Tajiri* 1931 Pacific Citizen
8.  James M. Omura* 1935 Current Life, Rocky Shimpo, was in a debate about post-war/camp Japanese America on KLZ Radio in 1947
9.  Togo Tanaka* 1935 Rafu Shimpo
10. China Daily News* 1940 Members of the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance of New York
10. Gilbert Woo* 1946 Chinese Pacific Weekly
11. Ernie Flores* 1957 Arizona Republic, San Diego Union, Filipino Press
12. John Fang* 1952 Chinese Daily Post, SF Independent, AsianWeek
13. Michi Onuma* 1960 Nichi Bei Times, Hokubei Mainichi
14. Alex Esclamado 1961 The Philippine News
15. Harry Honda 1962 Pacific Citizen
16. Gordon Lew 1966 East West Journal
17. Yen Ngoc Do* 1978 Nguoi Viet Daily News
18.Kyung Won (K.W.) Lee 1979 Koreatown Weekly, Korea Times


1. Gidra 1969 UCLA student Founders, Dinora Gil, Laura Ho, Mike Murase, Tracy Okida, Colin Watanabe, Bruce Iwasaki, Seigo Hayashi, Steve Tatsukawa, Candace Ota, Mike Nakayama, & Dean Toji.
2. San Francisco Journal 1970 Maurice Chuck Founder, Publisher; Min S. Yee, Katheryn M. Fong, Russell Lowe, Jane Gorai, Rita Yee, Forrest Gok, Eddie Foronda.
3. Amerasia Journal 1970 UCLA Dir. & Prof. Asian American Studies Center Don T. Nakanishi, was Founding Publisher with fellow Yale   student Lowell Chun-Hoon, Founding Editor.  A scholarly journal & current events. Became part of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center from 1972 to the present.
4. Bridge 1971 Peter Chow, Frank Ching, Margarett Loke, Danny N.T. Yung.
5. Chinese Youth Voice 1973 Him Mark Lai*, Judy Poon, weekly public affairs program on KPFA Pacific Radio
6. AmAsia TV 1973 Prof. Leo Chen*, first owned & operated Asian American TV
7. International Examiner 1974 Gerald Yuasa, Larry Imamura Founding Publishers, Sold to Alaskan Cannery Workers Assn, Publishers Nemesio & Silme Domingo.
8. Dupont Guy 1974 Katheryn M. Fong, Russell Lowe, Christopher Chow, Curtis Choy, Connie Young Yu. Weekly news, dramatic satire,  interviews.
9. OCTV News 1975 Franklin Wu, First regular newscast for overseas Chinese Americans in San Francisco.
10. Balitaan 1975 Royal F. Morales*, Social Worker, UCLA Filipino American studies lecturer.

*Asterisk indicates Passed away




CREDITS: Individuals and organizations that assisted in the production of the Opening Reception can be seen here

PIONEER GROUP PHOTO:  To see an enlarged version of the photo including all 36 Pioneers, click here.

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

TWITTER: The AAJA National Convention in 140 characters

SLIDESHOW: Time machine back to the AAJA National Convention with “Joz”