JACL’s Pacific Citizen newspaper looking for new editor, assistant editor

Pacific Citizen Extraordinary APAs issueHere’s a column I wrote for the latest issue of JACL’s Pacific Citizen newspaper, which is undergoing a crisis with the loss of both its executive editor and assistant editors. The paper is also looking for a fulltime business manager.

I’m on the search committee, so if any of my readers is interested in applying, you should send me an email. I can send you the official job announcement as well as the requirements, which includes the salary ranges.

It’s a tough, demanding position but one with real potential for greatness.

The PC is at a crossroads

As a writer and editor, I’m not supposed to rely on clichés. But the current situation of the Pacific Citizen is best described by a cliché, that the Chinese character for “crisis” also means “opportunity.”

When I served as the PC Editorial Board’s chair for seven years, I defended the newspaper and its staff vigorously at national JACL board meetings. Because it’s expensive to run a news organization, even a super-lean one like this, the PC has always been an easy target when budgets tighten and money is scarce.

But I warned the national board every time someone didn’t understand the importance of the PC to the general membership, or the value it represented for its cost to the organization’s bottom line. I also warned that the staff, including Executive Editor Caroline Aoyagi and Assistant Editor Lynda Lin, were precariously underpaid and were working their butts off doing an excellent job primarily out of passion for their mission and pride in the quality of the PC.

I cautioned that both these fine journalists might flee for other media jobs. Finally, that’s what happened with Caroline, who was wooed away for another job. Lynda is moving because her husband was suddenly transferred overseas by his company.
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The Pacific Citizen’s impact reaches far and runs deep


I was honored to give a presentation and moderate a panel discussion in April at the Japanese American National Museum, “From Newsprint to New Media: The Evolving Role of Nikkei Newspapers” about the history of newspapers in the Japanese American community. During the event, I was reminded of the impact the Pacific Citizen newspaper — which is sent bi-monthly to every JACL member as well as subscribers — has had over the decades, and the role it has played as a lifeline of news and information not just to JACL members but to anyone interested in news about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. (JACL, the Japanese American Citizens League, is the oldest Asian civil rights organization in the U.S.)

The first reflection of the PC’s impact were the panelists: Gwen Muranaka, English editor of the Rafu Shimpo in LA, Kenji Taguma, editor of the Nichi Bei Weekly in San Francisco, Shigeharu Higashi who runs the Cultural News website and monthly newspaper in LA, and George Johnston, a Rafu columnist who has launched a news website called Nikkei Nation. Of these four, Muranaka and Johnston both worked for the Pacific Citizen. Harry Honda, the walking encyclopedia of Japanese America, JACL and the PC, was in the audience. Many of the audience members have been reading the PC all their lives.

The PC is, after all – especially for people who live away from the West Coast and don’t have easy access to the Rafu, Nichei Bei or other papers – the only national news source about us. For members, it’s often the most visible connection to JACL and a regular reminder of our support for this important organization.
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