Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Dinah Eng, founder and director of the Executive Leadership Program (ELP) for the Asian American Journalists Association, will step down in August

Dinah Eng, columnist for Scripps Howard News Service, received the 2009 AAJA Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2009 AAJA Gala Scholarship and Awards banquet, held at the Seaport World Trade Center, Commonwealth Complex in Boston on July 29, 2009. Photo by Lia Chang

Dinah Eng, columnist for Scripps Howard News Service, received the 2009 AAJA Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2009 AAJA Gala Scholarship and Awards banquet, held at the Seaport World Trade Center, Commonwealth Complex in Boston on July 29, 2009. Photo by Lia Chang

Dinah Eng, founder and director of the Executive Leadership Program (ELP) for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), will step down in August.

With 15 years at the helm of AAJA’s marquee leadership program under her belt, Dinah’s founding of ELP has developed more than 400 Asian American and Pacific Islander newsroom leaders. She has tirelessly worked to promote diversity by training, mentoring and encouraging promotions of journalists to reach their highest potential. Thanks to Dinah and Ron Brown, I had the opportunity to take part in the ELP program in San Diego in 2000. The experience made a difference in my career and life. I will be forever indebted.

Dinah has served as AAJA National President, AAJA convention chair and is a past president of UNITY: Journalists of Color. In 2009, Dinah was named the recipient of AAJA’s 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I am grateful to the boards, the national presidents, the executive directors, and staff I have worked with over the years, who have supported the vision of ELP,” Eng said. “My deepest appreciation goes to the training team and facilitators who have worked hand-in-hand with me on a true labor of love. What I am proudest of is hearing that we not only helped to advance careers, we changed people’s lives…for the better.”

2009 AAJA Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Dinah Eng, columnist for Scripps Howard News Service, with AAJA National President Sharon Chan, at the 2009 AAJA Gala Scholarship and Awards banquet, held at the Seaport World Trade Center, Commonwealth Complex in Boston on July 29, 2009. Photo by Lia Chang

2009 AAJA Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Dinah Eng, columnist for Scripps Howard News Service, with AAJA National President Sharon Chan, at the 2009 AAJA Gala Scholarship and Awards banquet, held at the Seaport World Trade Center, Commonwealth Complex in Boston on July 29, 2009. Photo by Lia Chang


Dinah is the first Asian-American columnist whose commentary is available nationwide. Her weekly column, BETWEEN US, is distributed through Scripps Howard News Service. A freelance writer based in Los Angeles, Dinah has received numerous awards, including being named one of the semi-finalists in the Journalist-in-Space Project, and was winner of the 1997 Columbia University Distinguished Service to Journalism Award and the 2006 National Association of Minority Media Executives Lawrence Young Breakthrough Award. Her work appears in publications like the Los Angeles Times, Presstime, and Television Week magazine. She was also a field producer and contributor to the Hallmark Channel “New Morning” show. She has served on the National Advisory Board of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland and the University of Southern California, and volunteers for The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

In honor of Dinah’s work, AAJA is setting up a Dinah Eng Leadership Development Fellowship fund to support leadership training for AAJA members.

“We’re sad but excited for Dinah’s next adventure. Her stamp on AAJA and journalism is indelible. She has changed the lives of so many Asian-American journalists, serving as a leader, mentor, and fundraiser who never stopped pushing AAJA to greater heights,” said Sharon Chan, AAJA National President. “She has led, and more importantly, inspired others to lead. ELP is a signature AAJA program — one our members need more than ever — and one that will continue innovating to lead the industry and our membership.”

Dinah’s last day will be Aug. 4, at the ELP 15th Anniversary Leadership Summit at the AAJA National Convention in Hollywood. This year, ELP launched Media Demonstration Projects in Chicago, Detroit and New York focusing on ethnic media, students and mobile technology. Mae Cheng, a former AAJA National President and executive editor of amNewYork, will serve as director of the projects until the board chooses Dinah’s replacement.

About AAJA
The Asian American Journalists Association is a non-profit professional and educational organization with approximately 1,200 members across the United States and in Asia. Founded in 1981, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry. AAJA’s mission is to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to enter the ranks of journalism, to work for fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs, and to increase the number of AAPI journalists and news managers in the industry. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists of Color, along with the Native American Journalists Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and National Association of Black Journalists. For more information, visit www.aaja.org.

Click here for Dinah Eng’s Column.

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Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia is frequently tapped to collaborate with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, VIBE, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog. In August, selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space will become part of THE LIA CHANG THEATER PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

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