Our friends at the Asian American Journalists Association–who just finished up their annual convention in Detroit–have a great fundraiser that highlights the lack of Asian American men in broadcast (tv, radio, and webcast). The AAJA Men’s Calendar, on sale here, features the top vote-getters in a poll and the guys then get splashed in a calendar. It’s a great way to highlight the lack of visibility for Asian American men while also having a little fun.
Julie Tam, who chairs the committee that oversees the fundraiser, says “the calendar has a good representation of men from various Asian and mixed ethnic backgrounds, on-air talent (news, sports, technology) and behind-the-scenes folks (writer/producers, news director), in different career stages (from small market to national level, from younger guys to veteran journalists), and from cities across the U.S.”
What I love about this fundraiser is that it puts the spotlight on an area that is also a concern for LGBT journalists–especially lesbians–which is the lack of visibility in broadcast journalism.
While there have been some strides on the national level in the anchor chair and as reporters, there is still a significant gender gap with the small number of openly gay men far outnumbering the number of openly lesbians who appear on television or are heard on radio either nationally or in local markets. Of course, transgender broadcasters are largely non-existent. The ranks of producers and behind-the-scenes staff is larger, but there is still a visibility gap.
I wonder whether we could even fill a calendar of lesbians in broadcast, for instance?
When people ask why NLGJA is important–and why minority journalism groups like AAJA are important–I think that increasing visibility and making it easier for people to be out in the workplace (and on-air) is a good example of why our work is still needed. If we couldn’t even fill a calendar of lesbians in broadcast, our work is definitely cut out for us.