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Big names, small world: Day 2 of my trip to UNITY in Chicago

I’ve decided that I’ve got issues and those of you who read me on a somewhat regular basis (hi Wynn!), probably agree. It is taking way too long to finish with my recaps of Chicago. So, I’m going to go over the last two and a half days of my trip in not-too-much detail. At this point, the way I see it, most people probably won’t even care anyway and those who would, I’ve probably already talked to in person. But, here we go:

Day 2, Friday July 25, 2008

Today was another convention day for me. It was my workshop/session day. I attended three sessions. One was about being a freelance writer–not an assassin, an occupation I often associate the word with for some unknown reason–and how you can actually make a living by being a freelancer as opposed to just freelancing on the side of your staff reporter position (always good to know). Another was about being a columnist, which is something I’ve never done before, but find intriguing since I’ve started my blog. The last one was about entering the magazine industry, which–for those of you who don’t know me–is my dream job. All sessions were extremely helpful and the panelists had a lot of interesting things to say and unlike in class, I took notes and actually plan on looking over them again later.

I also attended a lunch sponsored by ABC News about meeting the news challenges for the twenty-first century. To be honest, at the time, I found it pretty interesting, but now, I don’t really remember what was discussed. I mostly just remember the food and the fact that it was pretty good food. I know that makes me sound pretty horrible and so not like a journalist (just as this sentence does, I’m sure), but what can I say? Food’s a big deal for me.

Friday night was also the nght of the AAJA Gala Scholarship and Awards Banquet. I sat with my roommate Anusha and more or less, the rest of the Seattle gang (I feel like we should have had matching t-shirts or something when I say that). I sat next to Frank Blethen, the publisher and CEO of the Seattle Times. Yeah…that wasn’t intimidating at all. I also met Lori Masukawa from KING 5 and her husband Larry, who works at Nortwest Cable News. They were all really nice and it was great to meet them. I also met Assunta Ng, publisher of Northwest Asian Weekly–for whom I’m starting to freelance for. I’d like to say that I networked better here than I did the night before at Crimson, but it was also because the people I was talking with made it much easier.

Pran's son and wife accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on his behalf.

Pran's son and wife accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on his behalf.

Martin Bashir was the keynote speaker that night and let me just say that he is not as politically correct as you think. Personally, I didn’t take offense to any of it and thought it was great (for the most part, it takes a lot to offend me). After that, they announced the recipients of different awards. I didn’t really look in the program that was placed on my chair when I arrived, so I was surprised to find that the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award–Dith Pran–was not only Cambodian, but also was the subject both the book and film versions of The Killing Fields; later that night, when I called and talked with my parents, I learned that Pran was also the ex-father-in-law of the mother of one of the little girls my mom baby-sits and that Pran’s son, who accepted the award on his behalf (Pran passed away this past March of pancreatic cancer), was the mother’s ex-husband! Pretty insane, huh?

I would say that the final highlight of the night was when they auctioned off Bashir’s tie–which I guess is a tradition at this event that they stopped for awhile but decided to pick up again. Bashir modeled the tie and explaining its versatility (“It could be tied in a straight knot as you see here, or in a Windsor knot…You can drape it around your lover’s neck, I’d like to drape it around your lover’s neck…”). It was said that past keynote speaker, Peter Jennings‘s tie went for $2,000. Bashir didn’t want to get shown up by Jennings so after awhile, he started bidding on the tie himself all the way to $2,050 before stopping. Only an Asian person would bid in that small of an increment to beat somebody. In the end, I think it was the president of the AAJA Hong Kong chapter who got the tie (for $2,200, I think).

Bashir describes his tie's versitality.

Bashir describes his tie's versatility.

Alright, so that took longer and appears to be in more detail that I’d realized and expected so I’m going to just post this and say that Saturday and Sunday are coming soon in (a) separate post(s). I’ve got a little over three hours left at work today, so I’ve got the time, but I just need a break.

Plus, I’ve got to do some actual work now.


One comment on “Big names, small world: Day 2 of my trip to UNITY in Chicago

  1. I guess assassins do freelancing too. I don’t blame you for seeing it that way. However, I do blame you for making me see it that way now.

    You should probably call yourself an assassin instead of a freelancer. You get more street cred that way… not to mention a few raised eyebrows. It’ll make you seem much more intriguing, mysterious, and dangerous.

    That’s just the way I see it. =]

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