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Ethnic Media Nominate 2010 Top Newsmakers

New America Media Staff

 SAN FRANCISCO - In a decade dominated by names like Barack Obama, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Osama bin Laden, as well as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2006 – You – who do ethnic media consider to the biggest newsmaker in their communities? From a beauty queen to a sheriff, a journalist to a city comptroller, here are ethnic media’s picks for newsmakers of the last decade.

The Newsmakers

Manny Pacquiao is always a big newsmaker. Any news about him is a big draw, not only to the Fil-Am community, but the mainstream community as well.
-Dymphna Calica-La Putt, Editor, The Asian Journal, Las Vegas, Nev.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who is now one of the most influential Republican Party leaders in the U.S.
-Richard Springer, Reporter, India West, San Leandro, Calif.

Charles Kuen Kao (the 2009 Nobel Physics Prize winner, who is now suffering from Alzheimer's disease). Also a few Chinese Americans who entered Obama’s core administration, such as Steve Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy, and Gary Locke, U.S. Secretary of Commerce. But these figures do not necessarily benefit the Chinese community. In fact, Gary Locke is fighting a trade war with China now, which is bad news for many Chinese-American businesses.
-Joseph Leung, Editor in Chief, Sing Tao Daily, San Francisco, Calif.

John Liu, who was elected New York City Comptroller in 2009 and became the first Asian American to be elected to a city-wide office in New York City. It marked a milestone for Chinese in politics, serving in a higher-ranking public position. 
-Won Taisheng, Editor in Chief, World Journal, New York, N.Y.

Quang Nguyen (founder of the Washington Vietnamese-American Chamber of Commerce)--not so much because he's making news, but he's standing up for the Vietnamese on important issues that are taking place in Seattle, and especially in Little Saigon. 
-Julie Pham, Managing Editor, Người Việt Tây Bắc/Northwest Vietnamese News

Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, who in the last few years went from being an ally of the Hispanic community to becoming its staunch enemy.
-Maritza Lizeth Felix, Reporter, Prensa Hispana, Phoenix, Ariz.

Assemblymember Juan Arámbula, who stepped down from the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to successfully run for the state assembly. A Democrat-turned-Independent, the son of farm worker parents and a Harvard graduate, he has expressed his frustration with extreme liberals and extreme conservatives who do not take the San Joaquín Valley into consideration. 
-Juan Esparza, Executive Editor, Vida en el Valle, Fresno, Calif.

Former mayor and current City Councilman Marion Barry is top newsmaker because Barry, though known as a champion of the city’s poorest wards, has called for a five-year lifetime limit on welfare benefits, a mandate that many states have already enacted.
-Dorothy Rowley, Reporter, The Washington Afro-American, Washington, D.C.

The District's mayor, Adrian Fenty, alongside D.C. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee remained major newsmakers.
-Shantella Sherman, Managing Editor, The Washington Informer, Washington, D.C.

The Hoopa Tribe’s Self-Governance Officer, Daniel Jordan. He is the wind beneath Hoopa’s wings. He is the reason why the Hoopa is looked upon as pioneers in self-governance, as well as in the matters of environmental safety and fishing regulations. 
-Lorencita Lavine, Managing Editor, Two Rivers Tribune, Hoopa, Calif.

The Hoopa High School group of girls who organized the first conference about the 2001 Fish Kill on the Klamath River. They also organized the first Salmon Relay/Run which has been maintained as an annual event. The two leaders of the first event, Kayla Carpenter and Erica Chase, were awarded the Brower Youth Awards.
-Joe Orozco, Station Manager, KIDE-FM, Humboldt County, Calif.

The recently passed HB 4118, also known as the “Amer Act,” (which requires foster children to be first placed with relatives, if possible) is named after Ahmed and Rehab Amer who pushed for the legislation. The Amers lost two children to foster care in 1985 when Rehab was charged with negligence in the death of her two-year-old son Samier, who died from injuries from a fall in the bathtub. They’re immigrants and they fought for over two decades, and never gave up. Even though they couldn’t get their kids back, they kept working. 
-Osama Siblani, Publisher, The Arab American News, Dearborn, Mich.

Helen Thomas was already one of the most notable Arab Americans and the recent events have made her a living "icon" in the Arab American community. Also Rima Fakih as Miss USA. Just like Obama broke a barrier, Rima's win sent a message that Arab Americans are people, not terrorists, and are as much a part of the American fabric as anyone else.
-Warren David, Publisher, Arab Detroit, Dearborn, Mich.

There wasn’t one particular newsmaker. But in the New York-New Jersey area such figures included Debbie Almontaser, the founding principal of New York City’s first Arabic-language school, who was ousted from her job after a smear campaign in the New York Post sought to link her to ‘terrorism’; Imam Qatanani, a popular imam in Paterson, New Jersey, who faced deportation after Israeli authorities accused him of being involved with Hamas; and Imam Faisal Rauf, the Egyptian imam behind the controversial ‘Ground Zero mosque.’ There was also Sami Merhi, whose candidacy for local office in Paterson, New Jersey, was derailed after terrorism smears.
-Antoine Faisal, Publisher, Aramica Newspaper, New York, N.Y.

Postscript: An Ethnic Media Story That Made a Difference

It may not have been the biggest story, but the most memorable story we did was two years ago, when a father kidnapped his daughter from New Zealand and fled to Atlanta after killing his wife. World Journal covered the story and through its edition in Atlanta, Chinese readers in the area were able to provide tips to the police, which led to the daughter’s rescue and the father’s arrest.
-Won Taisheng, Editor in Chief, World Journal, New York, N.Y.



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