By Yoon S. Park
Northwest Asian Weekly
Back in the fall of 2005, my then-boyfriend (now husband) encouraged me to submit an article. I wrote about a cartoonist, Stan Sakai, and submitted it to the Northwest Asian Weekly (NWAW).
Much to my surprise, the editor at the time, Carol Vu, accepted it for publication. Fast forward to 2017, and it’s hard to believe that I have written articles for the NWAW for over a decade.
In many ways, writing has been somewhat of a creative outlet for me, even though much of it is based on facts and real interviews. Transforming my pages of scribbled notes or tapes from interviews and research to actual articles has allowed me to really put my writing skills to the test.
I have interviewed heads of companies, scientific researchers, artists, political figures, entertainers, famous athletes, and educators, just to name a few. I cannot think of any other context where I could meet such a diverse range of people, like former Olympian Apolo Ohno, when he was on a promotional tour with Dancing with the Stars. What a joy to be able to put my curiosity and love of words to good use!
Over the years, with the support of NWAW editors, I have expanded my writing from profile pieces to travel articles, topical issues like immigration, and all the way to astrology. As the eldest child of immigrants, and as an immigrant myself, I didn’t know a single word of English until I was 5 years old. What a journey it has been to take my experiences growing up as an Asian American, and transforming that perspective within the wide range of topics and issues that the NWAW covers.
The opportunities I have been offered as a result of writing for the NWAW has been nothing but positive. It has allowed me to springboard to writing for other local and national publications. I could hardly have imagined over a decade ago that a story on a lecture at a local library would turn into the portfolio of articles I have been able to publish since then. I can see now that sometimes, it really is worth it to see where the road will take you, no matter how it meanders or detours.
With each new editor, a different focus and style has shaped the NWAW over the years. All have combined to add a richness and depth to the stories that are covered. They have consistently breathed life into the pages of the paper with their passion and drive for new stories and coverage of important issues facing the Asian American community. That is evident by the long history and variety of articles that the NWAW has to offer.
I remember many years ago, when I was covering the annual NWAW scholarship dinner, I first met publisher Assunta Ng in person. You could tell even from a distance who she was by her level of engagement and interest of those in attendance. As I approached her nervously, she encouraged me to talk to the recipients and find out their individual stories and try to show why they were being honored with a scholarship. Of course, that’s just what I did! A civic leader in her own right, it was clear to me that this publisher meant business and really cared about promoting and supporting the future leaders in the local community.
The past decade has seen such a huge change in how Americans consume news. No longer do they rely only on the big three networks or the dominant local paper. Now, the huge world of online news sources, cable news, and others can be overwhelming and oftentimes contradictory. I have come to rely on the fair and honest reporting of the NWAW to cover stories that are often overlooked by the local and national media. The mission to inform and educate, as well as entertain, is an important one — to do just that consistently and credibly, as the NWAW has done over 35 years, is nothing short of phenomenal.
Yoon can be reached at email@example.com.