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Broadcast Pioneers (continued)

Suzanne Joe (Kai)
Reporter, KRON-TV (San Francisco), 1970

     Before becoming Suzanne Joe Kai, founder of the web portal, "the Internet's Premier Connection for the Asian Global Community," Suzanne Joe was the first Asian American woman on-air television journalist in San Francisco and perhaps the nation in 1970 when she was a panelist on the weekly KGO-TV (ABC) public affairs program On the Spot moderated by Walt Thompson, and a member of the early morning Minority Report on KTVU-TV (Cox) with now anchorman Dennis Richmond.

     On those live television shows the Mills College graduate interviewed Bill Marumoto, the first Asian American on the White House staff, and Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party.

     In 1971, she moved to KRON-TV (NBC) full-time covering such stories as the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford and the Patty Hearst kidnapping.  She has two Emmy nominations for her Chinese American reports. One of the youngest reporters in the nation, she began her media career at the age of 18. She was co-manager of her Mills College radio station with old submarine parts donated by students at nearby Stanford.

       She produced, wrote and broadcast more than 5,000 television stories by the time she was 25 years old, also earning a Masters Degree in Communication from Stanford during this same time period. By the end of the decade, Suzanne had met her first husband and moved to Arizona where she was a Governor's appointee to the state's Motion Picture and Television Board and co-founded the National Bank of Arizona, now merged with a Nasdaq-listed banking group. Suzanne is founder of CSI International, a Pacific Rim equity firm based in Newport Beach and San Francisco, as well as the Internet venture, One of her last venture projects before returning back to her media roots, was arranging a joint venture and financing a $100 million dollar high rise in Beijing.

     Suzanne's mission for is to utilize the power of the Internet and the "human power" of all of our knowledge, connections and relationships developed over the years in Asia and the U.S. to help others to fulfill their personal and professional dreams.

Click here for more about


Joann Lee, Ph.D.
Reporter, KXTV-TC (Sacramento), 1975

     Dr. Joann Lee is Associate Professor and Director of Journalism at Queens College (CUNY), and is author of Asian Americans: A Collection of Oral Histories Gathered form Asian America, First to Fourth Generation (New Press, 1992). Her career in journalism spans over twenty-five years. She was the fist Asian American journalist hired by CNN, as well as its first New York Correspondent, and the first Asian American television reporter to be hired for ABC and CBS local affiliate stations in Sacramento, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

     Joann earned her Ph.D. in Media Ecology form New York University, her M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, and her B.A. in English at the City College of New York. She taught as Assistant Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and in 1991, she established the Journalism Program at Queens College whish she currently directs. Her 1992 book was selected as "Outstanding Book" by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in the United States. Joann's upcoming book entitled Asian American Actors will be published by McFarland in the year 2000.


Vic Lee
Reporter, KRON-TV (San Francisco), 1972

     Vic Lee was born in Shanghai, China and raised in Tokyo, Japan. An internship at the New York Times influenced him to pursue a career in journalism. In 1969, Vic was hired by United Press International (UPI) and served in its Portland and Los Angeles bureaus. In 1972, Vic joined KRON-TV, where he worked as a writer, assignment editor, news producer, and managing editor. He became a general assignment reporter with specialty in Asian Affairs.

     Vic's work has earned him local and national recognition, including numerous Emmys and awards for Best Investigative Reporter, Best Live Coverage, Best Enterprise Award, and Best Spot News Award, and the prestigious George Polk Award of Journalism for Best Local TV Reporting. For his documentary, Airlift Africa and the Faces of Hunger, he received the CINE Gold Eagle Award, New York Film Festival Gold Award, Best Documentary, and Best Mini-Series Award. Recently in 1999, Vic was presented with a National Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Award at the Unity Conference and was honored by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences into their Silver Circle.


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