…but winning would be awesome.
I was thrilled to hear that “Asian American Life”, a show I host and produce for CUNY-TV was nominated for an New York News Emmy for Best Public Affairs Programming. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into that premiere show. Okay, no blood, but definitely tears and also sweat, since we were putting the final touches on the premiere episode during the hot summer months.
First, I’d like to thank the powers-that-be at CUNY-TV for wanting to produce a show that focuses on the fastest growing immigrant community in the Northeast. I did not hesitate when they asked me to host and produce this new show last January. No matter how busy my life was, I was going to make time for this one. But this was a new venture for me. I had never produced a show from scratch.
And it was much harder than I thought it would be! (To all the producers I have worked with, I’d just like to give you all a big hug right now.) As a reporter, my only concern for many years was my assigned story. I only had to worry about the elements in my story (the interviews, the b-roll, the script) for a 2 to 6 minutes segment. I never had to worry about how my story would tie in with the rest of the show. I never had to worry about opening credits, music, lower thirds, graphics, timing, transitions, managing others and the list goes on. (And New York’s four distinct seasons proved to be an issue. What does one do when you shoot your segments during in early Spring, when there are no leaves on the trees and your show airs in the the middle of the summer!) I have to give credit to my senior producers, Gail Yancosek and Susan Iger for all their guidance. But I’m sure they saw the look of fear on my face every time we met, with the deadline fast approaching. There is a saying “not seeing the forest for the trees” — that was me, I had a hard time stepping back and seeing the bigger picture, having been trained for many years to concentrate only on the details of a assigned story.
But we did it. And there really was no option. The show was heavily promoted, so there was no turning back. And while there are definitely many things I would change and redo, I’m quite happy with the first show. And that’s what makes this nomination extra special for me. I had to step out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot about myself and more importantly, I learned how important teamwork is when producing a show. The senior editor assigned to help with the first show, Jiayi (her first show too) made the process, no matter how grueling more fun. We screened this first episode so many times before it aired. I joked that she probably heard the theme music in her dreams at night. The show premiered in June 2013 — with me as host and my former colleague Kyung Yoon as a correspondent. Thankfully, we have expanded the team and also hired a more seasoned producer.
I and CUNY-TV are fortunate to have a great team of folks now involved with Asian American Life — Maria Yip Lord, who worked as a producer for NBC’s Today Show, of course, Kyung Yoon, a veteran broadcaster who worked with me at FOX-5, Paul Lin, a veteran broadcaster who worked for Bloomberg and an enthusiastic production assistant, Paul Lee. I know with a strong team, and the continued guidance from Gail, Susan and support from CUNY-TV, we will be able to tell more amazing stories from the community and hopefully earn ourselves more nominations and maybe even a golden man.
So check out our first episode which features an an overview of the Asian American community, a feature story on Manhattan’s Chinatown, profiles on photographer Corky Lee and physicist Michio Kaku, a roundtable discussion with influential Asian American community organizers, Vanessa Leung, CACF; Sayu Bojwhani, New American Leaders Project; Larry Lee, Asian American Women’s Center and Kyung Yoon, Korean American Community Foundation. I also learn what makes the perfect Chinese dumpling.
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