Comcast Decisionto shut down AZN TV Upsets AAJA

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) has expressed disappointment at the decision by Comcast to shut down AZN Television in April this year, calling it a big loss of yet another important venue through which the American public can learn more about Asians and Pacific Islanders through community-specific news and entertainment.

While understanding that this was primarily a business decision, AAJA lamented the fact that the demise of AZN is the second big blow to the AAPI community in less than six months. In October last year, KQED in San Francisco discontinued its nationally syndicated public radio program, “Pacific Time,” developed to provide news about Asia, Asian American communities and connections across the Pacific Ocean. Like “Pacific Time,” AZN offered broad education through broadcast and online media.

In many ways, “AZN is to the Asian American community just like Univision is to the Latino and BET is to the African American communities, respectively,” said Rene Astudillo, AAJA executive director. He added that AAJA “has partnered with AZN in many ways to ensure that more Asian Americans are given the opportunity to use their journalism and new media skills to enhance the delivery of news and information to the American public.” AAJA’s most recent partnership with AZN involved internship opportunities for students to post journalism-style news and editorial commentary on the network’s Web site.

Astudillo said that AAJA is happy and ready to offer its resources to Comcast and other broadcast networks to develop major programming specifically addressing issues and stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. “At the same time, we urge advertisers to step up to support such programming, because studies and surveys have consistently pointed to a significant marketing potential in the Asian American community which is the fastest growing population in the U.S., next to the Latino community,” he said.

The Asian American Journalists Association is a non-profit professional and educational organization with approximately 2,000 members across the United States and in Asia. Founded in 1981, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry. AAJA’s mission is to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to enter the ranks of journalism, to work for fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs, and to increase the number of AAPI journalists and news managers in the industry. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists of Color, along with the Native American Journalists Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and National Association of Black Journalists.

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