More Than 400 Journalists And Well Wishers From Around The Globe Attend NAM’s 40th Anniversary Party

RUBY ANNIVERSARY WAS A JEWEL OF A NIGHT
NOVEMBER 12 AT CITY VIEW IN SAN FRANCISCO
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Over 400 people attended the Anniversary Reunion Party of Pacific News Service/New America Media to honor four decades of alumni of PNS and NAM and their youth programs. The party, marking a coming together of old and new -- a "media fusion" as one guest called it -- as journalists from the first two decades heard about and embraced those from the last two decades, was held on November 12 at Metreon’s City View in San Francisco.

Dining on a buffet of six cuisines from local ethnic restaurants, journalists and guests from many points on the globe mingled amongst the elegant backdrop of The City’s skyline. Running the length of the first hall was an interactive timeline featuring much of the award-winning news service’s history. Light projections and a jazz trio added to the evening’s ambiance.

"Journalism is about trespassing borders, and that’s both the legacy and the future of PNS and NAM,” commented noted author Richard Rodriguez (Hunger of Memory) who delivered the evening's keynote.

“Seeing so many alumni come together to celebrate what we were and what we’ve become—it inspires us for another 40 years,” said Sandy Close, the organization’s executive director.

The evening was MC’d by feisty journalist, author and former-NAM TV show host Emil Guillermo. State Senator Mark Leno presented a proclamation of appreciation from the State of California, noting, to the delight of the audience, that although the Golden State was running of out of funds, they “would always have money to provide for the frames that encase (their) proclamations.” Gavin Newsom, The City’s mayor, sent over a declaration of his own, proclaiming November 12 as New America Media day.

Reminiscences, some hilarious and some sentimental, spanning the breadth of PNS’ forty years were offered by a dozen alumni (including Renee Montagne, Clark Norton, Frank Viviano, Mary Jo McConahay, Louis Freedberg, Joan Walsh, Ruben Martinez, Charles Jones, Stanley Joseph, and Dori Maynard). Thuy Vu, a founder of Little Saigon Radio, came from Houston to speak as a representative of NAM’s ethnic media partners. Also offered was a song by NAM’s longtime receptionist Sister Teresa Anne Coronas. The trip down memory lane culminated in a short video of looking at the NAM of today, with greetings from the current staff.

The evening ended with a tribute to NAM’s late co-founder Franz Schurmann by his former student, Ted Alden, a scholar-journalist now with the Council on Foreign Relations, and a moving love-song “Wang Bu Liao” sung by Taiwan radio celebrity Kay Hsin-lien Leventhal (NAM's current marketing director).

Pacific News Service was founded in 1970 by two UC Berkeley professors, Franz Schurmann and Orville Schell, with the idea of bringing alternative perspectives about the US war in Vietnam to the American news media. Four years later, former China Editor for the Far Eastern Economic Review and founder of The Flatlands newspaper, a voice of inner-city Oakland, Sandy Close became Executive Editor broadening the original mandate to tell the stories and amplify the voices of people and communities from South East Asia to South Central Los Angeles.

Over the years, Pacific News Service has been an incubator for a new generation of reporters, writers, artists, photographers and researchers, giving them a sharper sense of where to look and how to see beyond the corridors of power to the margins of society.

In 1996, PNS founded New America Media, the nation’s first and largest network of ethnic news service, to create an inter-ethnic news exchange between and among African-, Asian-, South Asian-, Caribbean-, Indigenous-, Middle Eastern-, and Latino-American communities as well as with “new” and “old” media portals. More info at newamericamedia.org.

The 40th Anniversary Reunion is supported by the generosity of The Westin St. Francis, Comcast, PG&E, The California Wellness Foundation, Jan Masaoka, East Bay Regional Parks District, The Tides Foundation (at the recommendation of Vincent McGee) and the Werner-Kohstamm Family Giving Fund. The evening was produced by Winslow & Associates.

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