Redefining Asian American race rebels

Throughout my semester in “Asian American Race Rebels”, I received the idea that most “race rebels” in history received negative connotations. Whether they were the No-No boys or revolutionaries to social change, Asian Americans race rebels were often seen as individuals who caused trouble for the Asian American community and created more harm than good.

As the semester progressed and we learned about the later Asian American race rebels, such as those in the 20th or 21st century, I have concluded that being a race rebel is not at all about negative influence; rather, society is simply redefining what it means to be a race rebel.

I believe in the 21st century, a race rebel is defined as someone who stands out against the traditional stereotypes of one’s race and ethnicity. The Side B narrative, rather, restructures the connotation of a race rebel. Today, with the rise of YouTube and the Internet as outlets for individualism, it is easier for one to speak out against what he or she believes; thus, a race rebel in the modern age is not one who is shunned or spited – he/she is, rather, symbolic of social change. With today’s media and Internet, it is easier for a race rebel to go against the stereotypes put on by society; hence, the so-called, Side B narrative, which is not conforming to the standards of the Model Minority.

The Side B narrative, I believe, is just another way of looking at a race rebel. It promotes individuals to be true to him/herself and highlights the ways in which an individual should address others who believe in the Side A – the Model Minority Myth. It has come to my attention that the 21st century race rebel falls not just within the realm of the media, but also in the health, political, business, and educational sectors. There are countless individuals I would consider are working to create more opportunities for Asian Americans and to improve the standards that confine Asian Americans.

I do not think a race rebel ought to be blamed for his/her actions toward facilitating social change for the Asian American community as history indicates; rather, I believe he/she should be held accountable for the shift in ideologies of today’s generation of Asian Americans. Without race rebels, Asian Americans would still be bound to the stereotypes of the Model Minority Myth, and they would continue to stay silent against the social injustices surrounding their communities. The Asian American community needs race rebels who can advocate for more individuality and the Side B narrative; so all individuals can work toward improving the standards to which Asian Americans are held socially, politically, and economically.


Multimedia Journalism was challenging yet rewarding

Every journalism course presents me with its challenges and has its strengths and weaknesses. As a third-year student, I have definitely endured the hardest and most challenging journalism course this semester.

Multimedia Journalism is a course every first-year and second-year journalism student dreads hearing about from an upperclassmen, not because of the professor, but because of the challenging nature of the course.

While the course certainly presented difficulties and obstacles, it was also rewarding. Some of the early challenges of the course included working on articles with a new partner each week, writing stories every week with a Sunday afternoon deadline and exploring various beats I have never imagined I would cover.

With each Monday being publishing day, partners worked effortlessly throughout the week to pitch stories, collect interviews from sources and work with each other to produce different multimedia elements to compliment the writing.

To accomplish our goal of publishing articles each week, I learned two important lessons it is worthwhile for a journalist to note: 1) always be thinking of story ideas and 2) have multiple back-up plans.

I found it helpful to constantly have story ideas in the back of my mind because of the short turn around time for each article. With only two days between when the articles were due to when we pitched stories to the class, each of us had to think one week ahead. Sometimes, I would be working on two story ideas — one for the current week and one for the week ahead. It was always easier to have next week’s story ideas ahead of time so you can reach out to sources early on and make good timing for the next article. Multimedia Journalism showed me how a journalist should be thinking.

For me, Multimedia Journalism taught me the importance of having back-up plans, no matter what week it is or what story you were pursuing. In certain weeks throughout the semester, my partner and I found ourselves stuck with a slowly progressing story because sources would not respond until the day before deadline or there would be no opportunities for capturing video or taking photos for our multimedia element. In circumstances such as these, it was best to pursue multiple stories simultaneously. There were weeks when I had to work on two stories at once in order to see which one best panned out before deadline. Another time, my partner and I had to pursue story idea number six because the other five did not work out the way we would have liked. As a journalist, you never know when stories are going to fall through or provide you with obstacles you had not foreseen; thus, always, always, always have a back-up plan. The more story ideas, the better.

As I sit here on my last day of Multimedia Journalism, I can see how rewarding the course has been in improving my skills as a journalist and allowing me to produce content across all platforms. As a result of the course, I have become a stronger journalist who has the ability to produce content with audio, video and data elements. I have had the opportunity to explore beats I had never imagined covering, like sports. And most importantly, Multimedia Journalism has taught me what it means to be a true journalist, and to that, I am grateful for the experience I have had in this course.

Our final project was created as a class. We produced various content on the local food economy in Ithaca. These stories are published on our website, FoodiEconomy.

A letter to my 18-year-old self as a journalist

Dear 18-year-old self,

It’s hard to believe you’re already in your first-year of college. It feels like high school graduation was yesterday. Oh, and you want to be a journalist? As you begin your journey to becoming a professional journalist, you should know that journalism requires more than just communications skills, according to Mashable’s list of must-have traits for journalists. Let me advise you on the true meaning of journalism and show you what kind of journalist you should be as you embark on this new experience.

First off, I should congratulate you on a job well-done for choosing a field as dynamic as journalism. It’s a crazy industry with long hours, busy days, low pay and little opportunity for starting a family. Don’t let these traits discourage you from stepping into the journalism world, instead, let them encourage you to become that much better in your field. Learn early in your career to balance your time well and manage your daily schedule so that it is bearable.

Here is why you should pursue a degree in journalism, an industry you have selected since you were in middle school. According to the Houston Chronicle, with a journalism degree comes opportunities to travel, constant learning and versatile skills. These are all factors that you need to take into account as you learn the ropes of the journalism industry.

Being a journalist lends itself to an infinite amount of travel experiences and opportunities. No matter what beat you decide to pursue or the type of outlet you hope to work, know that travel is expected, even if it’s across the country, and each one will be its own experience. Travel is a major component of The Poynter Institute’s The Pyramid of Journalism Competence because it emphasizes the ability for a journalist to use language fluidly in order to tell a story. Most importantly, it commands that journalists should have cultural literacy, or the ability to be sensitive and knowledgable toward cultural differences, diversity and multi-culturalism.

Journalism also allows you to constantly learn. Although it is a fact that you are always learning about new topics and subjects, journalism also pushes you to become critical and analytical. Through constructive journalism, you learn to become a better reporter by telling stories that engage the audience and present a narrative that is both accurate and truthful. Eventually, you will become a well-rounded journalist with the ability to pursue any story and possess general knowledge in a variety of subjects.

Lastly, receiving a journalism degree presents you with versatile skills and prepares you for jobs in other fields outside of the journalism industry. With knowledge in photography, data analysis, social media, audio-visual techniques and the ability to speak with anyone, a journalism degree lends itself to employment in other sectors, including business, public relations, law and health. It is okay if you do not pursue journalism after college graduation; for, you will find a job in another industry if you find journalism is not right for you.

I will leave you with one last note. I’m sure people tell you all the time that journalism is a dying field or that you will never get a decent paying job. They constantly remind you how you will be struggling to pay the bills and how unstable your rate of employment will be. I want you to know that journalism is not a dying field; it is a growing industry that is being revolutionized each and every day. In the age of the Internet and digital media, it is important to understand how to market yourself for work in online media and digital journalism. I will tell you this: know that the journalism industry is changing, and the more skills you can learn, the more successful you will be in your chosen career.


21-year-old self

This post was published on Storify. Check out the extended version with additional content at “A Love Letter to Journalism.”