A ‘front seat’ to Chicago for AAJA summer intern

281344_10150336794421823_769601822_9602380_5247255_nBY HAILEY LEE

There is no doubt that I have become a better journalist thanks to my reporting internship at Crain’s Chicago Business. And it is all because the Crain’s family treated me as a professional, fully contributing member of the newsroom.

In the ten weeks there, I wrote more than 45 breaking news and enterprise stories and independently produced three videos. I was not stuck doing background research and fact-checking for other reporters. Rather, I joined the newsroom as a principal investigator, responsible for my own stories and taking ownership for my reporting. 

My coverage of Chicago’s incredible food scene connected me with executive chefs and restaurant owners at the hottest joints in town. Breaking the news about Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s record-breaking donations landed me an interview with Yo-Yo Ma, world-renowned cellist, who insisted I call him Yo-Yo. My investigation on Divvy rental bikes’ effect on local bike shops was picked up by Chicago Magazine as one of the ’10 Best Stories Chicagoans Should Read This Week.’ 

(Ironically, a few weeks later, I was run over by a Divvy bike on my walk to work!)

The most formative, eye-opening story I covered this summer was also the most difficult. Chiro One had been one of Chicago’s fastest growing companies, but suddenly it was auctioning off nearly all of its assets. I was tasked to figure out what went wrong – but the company refused to speak to me. I worked one-on-one with Managing Editor Steve Reiss for three weeks to uncover this story. 

The highlight of my internship was spearheading the production of three videos for Crain’s Deconstructing Dining series. I researched and wrote the scripts, produced the videos on-site with a videographer, narrated the videos and helped edit the stories post-production.

In one video, Rob Levitt, one of Chicago’s first whole-hog butchers, led me into the world of gourmet beef and pork jerky. Then Goose Island’s master brewers took me behind the scenes in the makings of their Sour Sisters beer collection, aged in wine barrels. I even helped fill some of the barrels with sour cherries for the Madame Rose vintage! The final video, which airs in early September, features the daring snout-to-tail creations at The Purple Pig, such as fried pig’s ears.

Each story opened my eyes to a new facet of Chicago, providing a front-seat to the city’s history in the making and making me fall more deeply in love with the city I called home for three months. I plan on returning.

Lee completed a summer internship with Crain’s Chicago Business as AAJA Chicago’s 2014 David Ibata print internship winner.

AAJA Chicago’s Chapter Happy Hour at convention

Catch up with fellow Chicago attendees! Join the Chicago Chapter for Happy Hour during the AAJA National Convention this week. We’ll provide appetizers and the first round of drinks.

Date: Thursday, August 14
Time: 5:30 – 7 pm
Location: Cuba Libre, 801 9th St. NW, Washington D.C.

Please let us know if you’ll be coming so we can get a rough headcount and look for you at the bar. Thanks and wishing everyone safe travels to Washington!

Radio news opening in Topeka

WIBW Radio in Topeka, the Kansas capital, is looking for a news reporter/anchor to join our team — the largest radio news department in the state!


There are a lot of exciting things happening here. Both our stations, WIBW 580 AM and The Big 94.5 Country, are market leaders in radio. We also operate the Kansas Information and Agriculture Networks for more than 40 affiliates throughout the state.


Plus, we’re in the process of acquiring a third station that’s already housed in our facility, which is just 12 years old.


But this Kansas radio giant’s not just radio — you can’t be to compete in media today. Our website‘s packed with text, audio and video.


WIBW’s director of digital media’s created for the Discovery Channel and other major companies, and he’s leading a drive to take our digital production to the next level. Our staff’s equipped with iPhones and iPads with more equipment on the way. 


We need someone who can write shorter, sharper and stronger, just like Mervin Block. Candidates should be social media savvy and driven to create web packages of text, audio and video. 


A strong on-air presence is mandatory. Candidates without such won’t be considered. You must be a self-starter and have professional experience.


We are NOT seeking sports journalists. We need a dedicated newsperson. If that’s you, send your resume, audio sample/aircheck, writing samples and any video work to bruce.harrison@radionetworks.com. If you have a website or blog, please send links to those. 

AAJA Trivia Bowl 2014 on Nov. 15

 Chicago Now celebratesStart gathering your teams for AAJA’s annual Trivia Bowl!

The Chicago media’s most favorite competition will be on Saturday, Nov. 15 at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, 820 N. Michigan Ave.

There will be food, drinks, raffle prizes and the chance to beat last year’s champs, Crain’s Chicago Business.

The event raises money for AAJA Chicago’s scholarship fund.

More details to come. We hope you’ll join us!

Q&A with Linda Yu at AAJA Chicago’s Summer Mixer

LindaYu_160x200Chicago icon and veteran ABC7 anchorwoman Linda Yu will join AAJA Chicago at its annual summer mixer for a Q&A session. Yu, a founder of the chapter, will share her experiences in the world of Chicago news over the last three decades in a conversation moderated by Susanna Song, AAJA Chicago co-president and CBS2 reporter.

Come mix and mingle with food and drinks as we also celebrate our summer scholarship/internship winners and catch up with fellow AAJA members ahead of the national Convention in August. The event is free for AAJA members and $10 for non-members.

Date: July 11

Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: CBS 2 Broadcast Center, 22 West Washington in Chicago (across from Daley Plaza)

RSVP: chicagoaaja@gmail.com with subject “SUMMER” by July 7.



RSVP for AAJA Chicago’s Summer Mixer

J. Crocker/Wikimedia Commons

Come mix and mingle with food and drinks at AAJA Chicago’s annual summer mixer! We’re celebrating our summer scholarship/internship winners and catching up with fellow AAJA members ahead of the Convention in August.

Date: July 11

Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: CBS 2 Broadcast Center, 22 West Washington in Chicago (across from Daley Plaza)

RSVP: chicagoaaja@gmail.com with subject “SUMMER” by July 7.

The event is free for AAJA members and $10 for non-members.

AAJA Happy Hour with South Asian Journalists Association

Join us for drinks (cash bar) and free appetizers at a happy hour mixer with members of the South Asian Journalists Association.

When: 6:00-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 20
Where: Howells & Hood, 435 N Michigan Ave. in Chicago
RSVP: Email chicagoaaja@gmail.com with the subject line: SAJA MIXER


Save the Date: AAJA Chicago’s Annual Summer Mixer

Save the date for AAJA Chicago’s annual summer mixer!

The event will be held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on July 11 at CBS 2 Broadcast Center, 22 West Washington in Chicago (across from Daley Plaza).

Come mingle with food and drinks at our annual summer gathering with AAJA members ahead of the Convention in August! Register here: http://www.aaja.org/dc2014/

The event will also celebrate:

Hailey Lee, who will be working in the Crain’s Chicago Business newsroom as the 2014 David Ibata Print intern

Neel Thakkar, who is spending the summer on the metro desk at WBEZ Chicago as this year’s Linda Yu Broadcast intern

Raul Espana, a student at Lane Technical College Preparatory High School who is headed to AAJA’s 14th annual JCamp

More details to come!

70 attended Chicago’s Media Access Workshop


The Chicago chapter’s Media Access Workshop was a huge success with more than 70 attendees who learned about social media, media literacy, Op-Eds and pitching to print and TV newsrooms. The event was presented by the Chicago chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and WBEZ.

Workshop presentations are available here:

Mastering Social Media with Tracy Schmidt of Crain’s Chicago Business

How to Write an Op-Ed with Sharon Pian Chan of Seattle Times

Welcome 2014 AAJA Chicago scholarship winners!

AAJA Chicago is proud to announce our Summer 2014 scholarship winners!


281344_10150336794421823_769601822_9602380_5247255_nHailey Lee, a senior at Wellesley College, is joining the Crain’s Chicago Business newsroom as the David Ibata Print intern. Previous journalism experiences include a collegiate reporting gig at USA Today, an internship at Money Magazine, and a production fellowship at CNBC. At Crain’s, she will cover breaking news as well as enterprise stories on healthcare, economics and Chicago’s amazing food scene.


P1000318 (1)Neel Thakkar, a senior at Stanford University, will be spending the summer working as a reporter on the Metro Desk at WBEZ Chicago as the Linda Yu Broadcast intern. His previous journalistic experience includes an internship with the St. Louis Beacon as well as reporting for The Stanford Daily. At WBEZ, he will report breaking and enterprise news stories for both broadcast and the web.