Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

The Seattle Times Names Sharon Pian Chan as New Director of Journalism Initiatives

Sharon Pian Chan

Sharon Pian Chan

Congrats to Sharon Pian Chan who has been named director of journalism initiatives for The Seattle Times.

“This new role builds on our success at developing new funding sources to expand our storytelling, commentary and community engagement beyond what we could otherwise afford,” said Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen. “As one of the country’s last independent metro dailies, we are fiercely committed to our journalism/public service mission. Anything we can do to grow nontraditional revenue to expand our journalism is of significant benefit to our community.

“As an experienced and highly regarded journalist, Sharon is the ideal fit for this new role. She already has extensive experience in the nonprofit journalism community.”

Chan will focus on funding journalism by building partnerships between The Seattle Times, nonprofits and philanthropy. This special assignment reports to the publisher. Chan will begin in October.

“This is an incredible opportunity to create new pathways for high-impact journalism,” said Chan. “I’m honored to have the chance to do that at The Seattle Times. In an era of aggregated commodity news, cat photos and what-state-are-you quizzes, this news media company is investing in journalism that matters and building the partnerships to deliver it.”

The new position builds on Chan’s community engagement work for Education Lab in 2013-14. Education Lab is a year-long partnership with the nonprofit Solutions Journalism Network, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Knight Foundation and highlights promising approaches to education’s greatest challenges. It showcases community voices online and in print, convenes community events in partnership with nonprofit groups and creates regular forums for online dialogue through live chats and Google+ Hangouts.

In creating this position, The Seattle Times is formalizing its successful efforts to develop nontraditional funding for quality, independent journalism. Examples of recent and ongoing projects that have received foundation funding include reporting on the environment – the “Sea Change” series in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, reporting on the rollout and impact of the Affordable Care Act -funded by the Kaiser Family Foundation, international reporting and commentary funded by the Seattle International Foundation, as well as the innovative Education Lab.

Currently, Chan is associate opinions editor/digital for The Seattle Times. She is responsible for guest column submissions, and oversees The Times’ innovative Education Lab opinions, newsletter and engagement efforts. She led development of The Times robust digital opinion blog, which along with the popular letters to the editor blog, Northwest Voices, has become among The Times’ most popular blogs. Chan serves as deputy editor of the editorial page and as a member of the editorial board.

Chan served as national president of the Asian American Journalists Association from 2009 to 2010, where she worked with foundations to create journalism projects to engage the Asian American community. She served as vice president of UNITY: Journalists for Diversity alliance from 2011 to 2012.

Prior to joining the Times editorial board, Chan was a senior producer for The Seattle Times home page and mobile platforms. Chan has extensive experience as a Times news reporter, most recently covering Microsoft for the business section. She has also covered Seattle City Hall, King County and the University of Washington.

She grew up in Southern California and received her bachelor’s degree in literature from Pomona College. She lives in Seattle with her husband Danny O’Neil, an on-air radio host for 710 ESPN Seattle, formerly a Seattle Times sports reporter.

The Seattle Times serves the Northwest with thoughtful, independent, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism. As the region’s most trusted news media companies, The Seattle Times provides clarity above the information clutter, engaging readers across print and digital platforms with news, information and entertainment when and how they want it. Founded in 1896 by Alden J. Blethen and now led by the Blethen family’s fourth and fifth generations, The Seattle Times also owns and operates the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, the Yakima Herald-Republic, the Issaquah Press, the Newcastle News, the Sammamish Review and the SnoValley Star.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Sept. 17: Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang Talks with A Chinaman’s Chance’s Author Eric Liu at 92nd Street Y
Aug. 16: Hiroshima & Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble Perform Benefit Concerts for Palo Alto Buddhist Temple 100th Anniversary
Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, President Bill Clinton and More Remember Meshach Taylor
Photos: Meshach Taylor Celebrates 67th Birthday with Arlene and Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Jean Smart, Dennis Franz, Ernie Hudson, John Heard, Keith Szarabajka, Stuart Gordon, Shadoe Stevens and More
Dinner with André De Shields at Chez Josephine
Late Night Singing with Garth Kravits at 54 Below with The Skivvies, at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland and Michael Raye’s Soul Gathering
Aug. 17: David Henry Hwang, Adriane Lenox, Chuck Cooper, Kevin Carolan, Stephanie J. Block, Caissie Levy & More will Sleep on the Streets for Covenant House’s Sleep Out: Broadway Edition
Two-time Tony Nominee and Emmy Winner André De Shields Performs FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory and Speaks on The Wisdome of The Ancient Art of Storytelling at AFP 2014: Change Through Stories, Sept. 8-9, 2014
Photos: Maxine Hong Kingston, Billie Tsien, Bill T. Jones, Linda Ronstadt, John Kander, Julia Alvarez, Jeffrey Katzenberg Receive 2013 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama 
Golden Globe Winner James Shigeta, Veteran of Film and TV, Dies at 85; Excerpts of 2007 A/P/A Institute Q & A with Sukhdev Sandhu
Photos: Artist Arlan Huang, One Brush Stroke at a Time
Photos and Video: Ben Vereen Performs at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Photos and Video: Obba Babatunde and cast members from the original cast of Dreamgirls perform at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Photos & Video: The Wiz’s André De Shields Sang “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard” in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall
Ruby Dee, Actress and Activist, 1922 – 2014
Bryan Cranston, Audra McDonald, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessie Mueller, Lena Hall, Sophie Okonedo, Kenny Leon, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, All The Way, A Raisin in the Sun, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and More Take Home 2014 Tony Awards
Signature Theatre to Be Honored with the 2014 Regional Theatre Tony Award
Remembering Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama, 1921-2014
Branden Jacob-Jenkins’ Appropriate, Lisa Kron’s Fun Home, Sonya Tayeh, Emmanuel Brown, Mia Katigbak, K. Todd Freeman, John Earl Jelks Among 2014 OBIE Award Winners
Lucille Lortel Awards for Here Lies Love, Fun Home, The Open House, Good Person of Szechwan 
David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage Appointed to the Playwriting Faculty of Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program
Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang Receives $275,000 Doris Duke Artist Award
Signature’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, starring Cole Horibe, Phoebe Strole and Francis Jue, extends through April 6, 2014 
Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu 
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards 
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre 
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party 
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 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


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