Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

AAJA & MOCA Nov. 4 Panel & Town Hall on covering Chinatown: “CHINATOWN, UNCOVERED”

On November 4, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is presenting an expert panel discussion and interactive Town Hall meeting exploring what’s working, and what’s not in mainstream media coverage of Manhattan’s Chinatown — the oldest ethnic Chinese enclave on the East Coast, and the largest community of Chinese in the Western hemisphere — and how ethnic, online and alternative media outlets have stepped up to fill the holes. The Museum of Chinese in America is located at 215 Centre Street in New York. FREE to the public, plus free all-day museum admission and complimentary refreshments courtesy of Starbucks from 6-7 pm. The panel discussion, which runs from 7-9, will be moderated by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning reporter Ti-Hua Chang, Fox 5 WNYW.

What stories go unreported in New York’s biggest immigrant ethnic enclave — and why? Join leading mainstream and ethnic journalists who cover Chinatown and Lower Manhattan for a roundtable discussion exploring the coverage of the news, culture, arts and politics of this dynamic and rapidly changing community.

Following the panel, AAJA — which has received funding for a journalism innovation pilot project via the McCormick and Ford Foundations — will lead a discussion on proposed solutions to help address these coverage gaps for feedback from the audience.

Confirmed Panelists include, John Bayles, associate editor, Downtown Express, Tony DeStefano, reporter, New York Newsday, Ed Litvak, editor of The Lo-Down, Cindy Liu, former reporter, Sing Tao Daily, Kirk Semple, reporter, The New York Times.

Ti-Hua Chang joined WNYW/Fox 5 in 2009 as a general assignment reporter from sister station WWOR/My9, where he had served as a general assignment and investigative reporter since 2008. Previously, Chang worked at WCBS-TV, WNBC, and WNYC, where he was host of his own talk show, New York Hotline. Before he began his on-air career, he was an investigative producer at ABC News. Among his awards and honors is the Peabody Award, a New York Press Club award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and five Emmys. He has advocated for greater coverage of Chinatown and Asian American communities throughout his career and as a former New York chapter and national board member of AAJA.

John Bayles is the associate editor of the Downtown Express, with primary responsibility for assigning and editing articles for Lower Manhattan’s largest community newspaper. He came to the Express from Long Island’s Sag Harbor Express, and before that, from New Orleans, where he lived for four years, only leaving after the city experienced the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Tony DeStefano is a staff reporter covering New York City legal affairs and criminal justice for Newsday newspaper. He was part of a team of New York Newsday reporters who won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for spot news while covering the crash of a subway train at Union Square. Tony has covered a wide range of legal related subjects, specializing in organized crime, white collar crime and immigration. He is the author of numerous books, including King of The Godfathers (Citadel Press, 2008) and The War On Human Trafficking: U.S. Policy Assessed (Rutgers University Press, 2008).

Ed Litvak is editor of The Lo-Down, a news and arts web site covering the Lower East Side and Chinatown. He was executive producer of CNN’s American Morning and supervising producer at NBC’s Today Show. Ed has worked in broadcast/online journalism for more than 20 years.

Cindy Liu is a reporter for the Mandarin-language TV health and sustainable living program Better Body and Soul. Her experience with ethnic media started at the Sing Tao Daily, where she worked as a crime reporter; as a television correspondent, she has also covered sports for the Central China TV Station Sports Channel. She has also worked at USA Today’s Beijing bureau as a news assistant, covering Chinese domestic immigration, the drug trade, AIDS, education and finance.

Kirk Semple joined The New York Times in the spring of 2003; he has been a reporter on the paper’s foreign desk as a reporter in the Baghdad bureau, and for the past two years has covered the Metro desk’s immigration beat. Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Semple was a foreign correspondent reporting from Bogotá, Colombia, a general assignment reporter for the Durham Morning Herald, a reporter for the Associated Press, and a staff writer for the Miami New Times.

November 4, from 6 pm to 9 pm
(6-7 pm light refreshments; 7-9 pm roundtable)
Where: The Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

Admission: Free! (November 4 is Target First Thursday, with complimentary museum admission all day.

RSVP REQUIRED; please email:
Co-presented by the Asian American Journalists Association, this program is held in conjunction with MOCA’s Archeology of Change Project.

Museum of Chinese in America’s Archeology of Change Project explores issues of urban renewal facing Chinatowns across the country. Working with public artist Tomie Arai and writer/cultural worker Lena Sze in 2007, MOCA collected interviews with nearly 30 individuals of different ethnicities, occupations, ages, generations, and relationships to Chinatown. Their memories and perspectives provided an on-the-ground view of “Chinatown” and its role as a vibrant part of the city’s economic and cultural life.

In 2010, MOCA continues the conversation through a series of public programs, in collaboration with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s Open City, that invite community members, experts and leaders to tackle issues revealed through the oral history project, and to give the local a larger societal, environmental and political context.

In conjunction with the program series, Arai will explore the potential of the web as a public art space with Chinatown Re-Map — an online, interactive portal to “places that matter” in Chinatown. Mapped sites will be presented through the lens of neighborhood stakeholders through mixed media formats such as podcast videos, historical images, and soundscapes; and will offer alternative views of a community often naively consumed and stereotyped as an exotic, foreign, and sometimes criminal marketplace. The site can also serve as a place for shared dialogue on the changing physical and cultural landscapes of Chinatowns across the United States.

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All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

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

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. 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.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space will become part of newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

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,,,,,, 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 She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

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