Leaders and friends of Chicago's Asian American Institute, fresh from a catered lunch and a Tribune Page One meeting, were sharing ideas with the newspaper's editor and learning something about the news organization's future.
The conversation drifted to the topic of community -- how they are built, nurtured and called upon, and how they begin with individual relationships.
The Chicago Tribune has sought to build those relationships through community conversation lunches. Often forged around topics -- the next is Sept. 20, on Music and how it affects our lives (suggest someone to invite at TribNation@tribune.com) -- they also work as casual opportunities to trade ideas and business cards.
In the business world, it's called networking, and when you're a 164-year-old news organization living in a crucial era for your industry, it's essential.
"The idea sounds so simple that it can get overlooked: how incredibly important it is for Tribune editors and reporters to take the time to meet with members of the community (many of whom are Tribune readers) and listen as they share perspectives and ask questions about how the Tribune does its job," said Associate Managing Editor / Business Michael Lev, one of the editors at Thursday's luncheon. "For one thing, talking about our coverage decisions requires us to reflect on our philosophy, and that’s a healthy thing."
"These conversations almost always trigger story or coverage ideas," added Associate Managing Editor / Entertainment Geoffrey Brown, "which is the best outcome for everyone involved."
The group included Tuyet Le, executive director of the AAI, who was profiled earlier this week in the Tribune's business section as "among a new generation of Asian-American leaders in Chicago advocating for a diverse population of 147,000" that includes Chinese and South Asians, Koreans, Japanese and Southeast Asians.
The other invited guests included Sik Sohn of the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, Jennifer Chen, Jafer Hasnain and Gina Lee of the Institute, Sharon Legenza of Housing Action Illinois, Serena Low of Apna Ghar, Anne Shaw of Shaw Legal Services, Ahlam Jbara of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, and Celine Woznica of the Asian Health Coalition.
We talked about cultural nuance, iPad apps and opening doorways.
To say nothing of exchanging business cards.
-- James JanegaCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun