From left, KMGH Denver's Kim Nguyen and KUSA anchor Adele Arakawa listen to KCNC CBS4's Gloria Neal talk during the Women of Color in Broadcast Journalism panel on March 20 at the 9News Community Room in Denver. The event was hosted by the Asian American Journalists Association Denver and the Colorado Association of Black Journalists. (Photo by Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com)
Women of color discuss state of broadcast journalism
AAJA and CABJ's hosts panel entitled 'Women of Color in Broadcast Journalism'
By AsiaXpress.com staff reports
March 24, 2010
DENVER – The news industry is in a state of change according to panelists at the Women of Color in Broadcast Journalism panel on March 20 at the 9News Community Room.
The two-hour discussion – hosted by Asian American Journalists Association Denver and the Colorado Association of Black Journalists – featured 9News' Adele Arakawa, CBS4's Gloria Neal and The Denver Channel's Kim Nguyen. They talked about their experiences as women of color in the industry, and the challenges presented to broadcast journalists today by the rapid growth in technology and the industry's struggle to produce revenue.
"The business continues to change, evolve and progress," Arakawa said. "While that's kind of the worst part about the business, it's the best part about the business because if you don't change in this industry right now, you won't survive."
With the ever-growing presence of the Internet, Neal said, many people are using faster methods to get their news rather than waiting for the evening broadcasts.
"They care about it (the news), but they want it how they want it," Neal said. "People are not waiting until five or six o' clock to get their news at that time only."
To compete with other news outlets, she said her station focuses on covering news happening locally.
"You have to be hyperlocal," she said. "What sets local news apart from every other news outlet is, it is about Denver, it's about Front Range, it's about Colorado, it's about Rocky Mountain west. It has to be about the neighborhood in which people live and it has to be on-demand."
Nguyen said the younger generations are finding their news on a more social level.
"I think about my nieces and nephews and how they get their news," Nguyen said. " ... They get it from Facebook, they get it from their friends talking about something as opposed to they went home and they turned on the TV to news at six o' clock."
At the same time, newsrooms are scaling back their operations, Arakawa said. With smaller staffs, other journalists have to take on increasing duties.
"We're doing a whole lot more with a whole lot less and taking on these job positions that are no more," she said. "Somebody's got to take up the slack. And we're undergoing paycuts in the process."
But putting on multiple hats is something she said she had to do early on when embarked on her career in journalism.
"It's come full circle," she said.
Arakawa said when she started, it wasn't her ethnicity that was a barrier, but her gender.
"Throughout my entire career in this industry, my gender mattered more than anything else," Arakawa said. "I was hired by a general manager at this radio station who said he would never hire a woman to go on the air. ... It wasn't so much my Asian ethnicity as it was my gender."
Discrimination against women has subsided since her early days in the '70s, she said, but there are other obstacles that need to be conquered.
"We still have to break the color barrier, we still have to break the sexual orientation barrier," Arakawa said. "There's still many barriers that we need to overcome as far as diversity goes."
For more information about Asian American Journalists Association Denver, go to www.aajadenver.org. For more information about the Colorado Association for Black Journalists, go to www.cabj-denver.org.