by Lia Chang
AsAmNews Arts and Entertainment Reporter
Congratulations to multiple award-winning journalist Ti-Hua Chang, a freelance correspondent for CBS News, who was honored with the 2015 AAJA Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual Scholarship & Awards Gala of the Asian American Journalists Association.
An enthusiastic crowd of 900 people greeted Chang with a standing ovation as he walked to the podium to accept his award.
Chang has won some of the journalism profession’s most prestigious awards including a Peabody, a Murrow, five Emmys and dozens of other awards. He was one of the few Asian American television reporters in the 1980s and was among even fewer Asian American male reporters. He recalled an incident early in his career.
“I was laid off because I was one of the first Asian American male reporters on TV, prompting one news manager to tell me ‘seeing my face made his stomach queasy.'” recalled Chang
Chang is an aggressive reporter who believes objectivity does not necessarily mean neutrality.
“There were not two sides to Nazis and 6 million Holocaust victims. There were not two sides when in 1963 Mississippi unarmed civil rights leader Medgar Evers was shot in the back 200 feet away by an avowed racist.”
Very active in Asian American community affairs, Chang was both a national and local New York Board member of the Asian American Journalists Association and has been a beloved and invaluable mentor to many. Chang was joined at the dinner by his wife, Elaine Huie Chang and their two children.
Also amidst the crowd were many of the mentees Chang has assisted throughout his career. One of his mentees interrupted Chang’s speech with a scream of “Ti! ” Someone quickly yelled “Hua” from the other side of the room and the crowd soon repeated the chant numerous times before allowing Ti-Hua to continue his speech.
The AAJA Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated courage and commitment to the principles of journalism over the course of a life’s work, as well as dedication to issues important to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Chang was most recently a general assignment reporter for WNYW/Fox 5, and prior to that he worked for sister station WWOR/My9, where he served as a general assignment and investigative reporter since 2008. Chang has also worked at WCBS-TV where he served in the same capacity. On 9/11, he was the first reporter to inform the public on the number of casualties that day quoting Mayor Giuliani and city officials. Chang joined WNBC from WNYC-TV, where he was the host of his own talk show, New York Hotline. Before he began his on-air career, he was an investigative producer at ABC News.
Chang is the recipient of numerous awards. In 1996, he won the prestigious Peabody Award for a series of reports he filed on accused drug-dealing murders. In 2004, he won a New York Press Club award for his reports on a shooting at City Hall. He received an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2005 for a piece exposing police officers using a helicopter and high tech infrared equipment to spy on police citizens. Chang is especially proud of discovering the four witnesses to the 1963 murder of Medgar Evers, which let to the reopening of that famous case.
Chang has also won five Emmys; the Philadelphia, Denver and Detroit Press Association awards; and the Associated Press and United Press International awards. Very active in Asian American community affairs, Chang was both a national and local New York Board member of the Asian American Journalists Association. Chang also has been published in a number of magazines, including the Sunday New York Times and The Detroit News.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Chang was named by Columbia in 2004 as one of the 10 most influential Columbia alumni in New York City, where he resides with his family.
“As journalists we have the ability, privilege and responsibility to be a balance to the government, a voice of the people especially those who have no voice. I include Asian Americans because few beside us will speak for us,” implored Chang. “The majority of our stories are done so quickly we have time only to tell both sides. But in a few rare cases where we have researched thoroughly and know what is truly occurring we must tell the truth by taking a position.Take positions against racism, sexism, gay bias, crime, corruption. Google Edward R Murrow and Joe Mccarthy.”
Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and FebOne1960.com Blog.