Ying Chan, the founder and director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre, has won the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Asian-American Journalists Association. The award honors an Asian-American or Pacific Islander “who has demonstrated courage and commitment to the principles of journalism over the course of a life’s work.”
The award was presented at the AAJA’s national convention in August in New York City, where Chan spent 23 years as a working journalist before returning to found the JMSC at The University of Hong Kong in 1999.
The award cited her history with the JMSC, and also noted that she is founding dean of the School of Journalism and Communications at Shantou University, in China. “Through journalism programs at both universities she is raising a new generation of questioning, curious and fair journalists right on the doorstep of mainland China,” the award citation said in part.
Chan is also a founding member of the AAJA’s New York chapter, and was vice president of the Asia chapter from 2001 to 2003. Her previous honors include a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University, a Polk Award for reporting on the human smuggling trade in China, and an International Press Freedom Award for her fight against a criminal libel suit in Taiwan.
In her acceptance remarks, Chan thanked friends, colleagues, fellow journalists and students for being part of her life and all she has done so far. But “I am a bit embarrassed in receiving the award,” she said, “since I am far from done. I still have a lot of work to do.”
She told the 500-strong audience, which included many young journalists: “Don’t be shy. Ask your boss to send you to Asia, where there are many great stories waiting to be told. If you need fixers, interpreters or co-conspirators, we (Chan and the JMSC) are only one e-mail away.” She said the AAJA’s Asian chapter, which has grown to more than 200 members and was recognized at the convention as Chapter of the Year for the second year, is also ready to help.