VRP Fellows Receive AAJA Awards

Nick Ut, AAJA Lifetime Achievement Award

Nick Ut receiving AAJA's Lifetime Achievement Award at the AAJA Gala Awards Banquet in Detroit on Aug. 13, 2011. (Photo by Paul Sakuma)

Three Vietnam Reporting Project Fellows received journalism awards from the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) at its 2011 convention in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday, August 13.

AP Photographer Nick Ut received AAJA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, its highest honor, given to an individual “who has demonstrated courage and commitment to the principles of journalism over the course of a life’s work. “

In presenting the award to Ut, banquet co-emcee Ti-Hua Chang, a reporter with WNYW FOX 5/New York, said Ut’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, Napalm Girl, “not only symbolized the devastation of the Vietnam War, but of war itself.”

Ut received a standing ovation from the large crowd at AAJA’s gala scholarship and awards banquet. “I’m very honored to receive this award for doing what I’ve loved for 45 years,” Ut said. He recalled that dreadful day in 1972 when he took the iconic photograph of 9-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc running naked and badly burned from a napalm attack on her village. After snapping the photo, Ut dropped his camera and poured water from his water bottle over the girl’s burned back as she screamed in pain and fear. He then rushed her to the hospital for life-saving care. “I didn’t want her to die,” Ut said.

Ut acknowledged and thanked the Vietnam Reporting Project, urging the audience to show compassion for the many children in Vietnam who are suffering from the adverse effects of Agent Orange. “These children need your help,” he said.

Thuy Vu

Thuy Vu

VRP Fellow Thuy Vu won an AAJA National Journalism Award in the Asian American/Pacific Islander Issues Television category for her 30-minute CBS 5 Special Report on Agent Orange, “Vietnam Revised.” The documentary, unprecedented in-depth coverage of this issue on a San Francisco Bay Area TV station, aired several times in January 2011. In addition to the AAJA award, Vu has received numerous other awards for “Vietnam Revisited,” including two first prizes from the Associated Press Television-Radio Association’s Annual Mark Twain Awards (“Best News Writing” and “Best Special Program”); two first prizes from the Edward R. Murrow Regional Awards (“News” and “Documentary); and first place and “best of show” honors from National Headliner Awards.

K. Oanh Ha

K. Oanh Ha

VRP Fellow K. Oanh Ha received the AAJA National Journalism Award in the Asian American/Pacific Islander Issues Radio category for her three-part series on Agent Orange, “The Forgotten Ones.” The series aired on KQED’s The California Report from November 22-24, 2010. Ha’s work also received a first place award in the documentary category from the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club’s Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards.

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