Category Archives: journalism

Emil Guillermo: Why I do what I do as an Asian American journalist

young picture

I was young when I knew I would be a writer, or somehow be in the media. At five, I was already practicing my standups.

So is it a surprise I’m still a member of AAJA?

At the 15th Asian American Journalists Association convention being held in San Francisco:

I saw a woman I met at a previous AAJA who told me she was taking a leave to have a baby. With her female partner.

I saw a person with his wife and two young kids, making it a family vacation. Last I heard, he was not regularly employed.

I saw old friends who  were recently laid off or forcibly retired.

I saw a guy who could have been my boss had he taken a job ten years ago, but who is now happy as a stay-at-home-dad.

I saw an old agent, who is now a “producer.”

I saw a former colleague still trying to make the transition to digital.

And then there was a guy who showed me his gold watch after 25 years in one place. And another guy who told me his company didn’t give out gold watches. Not even after close to 40 years.  The paycheck was enough.

Lots of stories at AAJA about the evolution of the media and the media worker.

And as tough as some tales were, there were signs of hope too.

Young guys still climbing the market ladder getting air-time coming up to me saying they saw an old tape of mine, thanking me for showing the way. Another guy getting a national shot as a fill-in on a big time show.

We’re all still there because  AAJA always felt like a safe place to gather once a year and reassess why we still do what we do.

It’s a smaller gathering these days. Many have left the business, burned out, bitter, bummed. Or becoming lawyers. Involved in some other way with life.

But many of us,  after all these years are still here. Because the paycheck alone never defined us.

This is what we do.

See my piece on “Why I Write…” on the blog of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

 

Emil Guillermo: ICYMI…some stories I’ve done for NBCNews.com/news/Asian-America

To First Time Visitors:

I also write for NBCnews.com/news/Asian-America.

Some good stories here.

Thanks for visiting the site.

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Emil Guillermo: My vote for best joke at White House Correspondents Dinner 2015

I like a little danger. And that means the best jokes are the ones where people feel uncomfortable laughing.  You’ve struck a nerve. Comic gold? Forget that, you’ve found truth. That’s better.

strongandobama

Before I get to the line, let me say, the president will always be funnier. Always.

He’s the president. And he’s usually not so loose enough to talk about things like  not having a “bucket list” but having, “something that rhymes with bucket list.”

Big laugh.

“Take executive action on immigration?  Bucket.”

The president will always be funny because the president is always usually serious.

He always wins.

So if you’re a comedian, you might as well say, “Bucket.”

I think Cecily Strong is a good young sketch comic.  She usually hides behind a character. That’s her thing. When you’re yourself, no one has a sense of your persona.  It’s just instant karma. They like you or not.  She’s pretty. At least, that helps if you bomb.

She didn’t. But she was reading her jokes as if doing a roast. And that took away from things, for me, at least.

But I still say she had the best line of the night. It’s the kind of line that touches a truth, but is too real to get a real big guffaw.

Instead it  gets a gurgling, rumbling reaction. Like you’ve poked the giant in the groin.

That’s what a satirist is supposed to do.

And she did that when she said:

“But seriously, the Washington Hilton is great, and I bet that when the president walked in and saw those bell hops, he thought, ‘Finally some decent security!'”

5 seconds of not laughs. But much higher than a groan. This is the Washington elite reacting.

“Nah, I’m just kidding, because let’s give it up for the Secret Service. yeah. (Clapping)”

Just the transition  to the real punch.

“I don’t want to be too hard on those guys. You know, they’re the only law enforcement agency in the country that will get in trouble if a black man gets shot.”

“Are you saying boo, or are you saying true?” Strong added, as she got at least :12 seconds of rumble/grumble/Washington reaction.

That’s a lot of something from a wonky crowd that doesn’t laugh easily.

Bucket. It’s my vote for line of the night. And I even like her more.

I haven’t been to a WHCD since my Washington days in the 80s and 90s.

I remember when the White House Correspondents Dinner was not very Hollywood. In the ’80s, one of the performers I remember was the comic, Sinbad.

Yes, Sinbad.

He was funny. But he mostly did his act.

Now it seems Washington wants to be Justin Bieber at his roast.

The president usually has help (the Anger translation bit was funny). And there’s usually videos now (the Aaron Schock bit was too long). But the infusion of good looks isn’t a bad thing.

To me,  though, it only seems worthwhile  if it all provides the cover for the night’s jester to strike a  nerve, or two.

 

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Emil Guillermo:Britt McHenry’s video displayed how “Media Privilege” is more intoxicating than “White Privilege.”

BrittMcHenry

Still talking about that “ugly” Britt McHenry video?

Kudos to her employer for getting it right.

No matter what anybody says, her words and tone on that video were indefensible.

A suspension is light by comparison.  I explain why in this column you can click on here.

Every person who has been on TV for a living knows this is the dual edge of “media fame.” You can cross the line and think you are “above it all.”

You’re not.

 

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