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Q&A: Tim Kawakami from the San Jose Mercury (Part 5 of 5)

In the final part of our Q&A with Tim we look at one of those topics you're not going to find on too many sports blogs other than GSoM.

1... 2... 3... JUMP!


Golden State of Mind: There doesn't seem to be that many Asian Americans writing or covering sports whether it be as professional journalists or blogging for a hobby outside of the Bay Area and California. Do you think that is indeed the case or a misperception? If there are many Asian Americans in this space is this just a case of them not being visible and getting enough credit as trained professionals and hobbyists? Or are there certain internal or external barriers that keep Asian Americans out of this space or make it hard to enter? Do you have any experiences or advice that you'd like to share with Asian Americans trying to make it in this field?

Tim Kawakami (2/5/08): First off, the digital world is so new that I can't speak to the demographics of who's writing on it, who's not, who's successful, who's not. I know I write my blog and I read other blogs but part of the democracy of the web is that we often don't know who's writing what we're reading--which is excellent, if you ask me. You just go find what you like and you ignore what you don't. Part of the decline of newspapers is that we've just assumed you'll read what we give you. Wrong. I read what I like and the web gives me enough options to go find a hundred things I like--and a million things I don't--regardless of the newspaper's history or the author's race, creed, experience, sex, nationality... I love that. I'm part of the old world, but that's a terrific facet of the new world.

I'd love to see Asian-Americans everywhere in every part of journalism. There are a few. There are more coming, I'm sure. Janny Hu has a huge future, for instance. An intern at the Chron, Bryan Chu, is writing some noteworthy stuff. But no question, there aren't teeming hoards of us in sportswriting. I can't entirely explain it since I never thought about it when I was starting--I just assumed I could do it if I was good enough, so the question was to get good enough. If I was good enough and nobody hired me, then I'd be doing some yelling. But somebody did hire me. I was OK. I kept doing it. I liked it. Haven't quit or been stopped yet, so we'll see.

That's the most important thing I'd tell any aspiring sportswriter, and maybe even more so for Asian-Americans: You've got to be stubborn about this. Well, first you've got to prove to yourself you can DO IT. Maybe you can't. But if you know you can... Then you've got to be a bullheaded fool who is going to get the damn job because there's nobody better than you to do the damn job. I think you can tell I've never been too bashful. Wrong, silly? Yes. But never bashful.

And I'll repeat this because I really believe: The digital world is opening all avenues and erasing whatever barriers that may or may not have existed. The old, established guys have to adapt MORE than the young people. Not the other way around. I ain't a young person, but I know where this is headed.

Your site came out of nowhere. I don't know if you're making money, but I sure hope so. Did you have to win over an old established company to do this? I doubt it. You just did it. You did it because you knew you could do it. You could've been a bunch of 60-year-old Antarcticans or 12-year-old New Zealanders and IT DIDN'T MATTER. If it's good, it's good and people will read it.

Now I'm guessing there are 5,000 other guys and girls who might look like me or might not... but they're going to jump into this world and they're going to be more powerful than any of the old clunkers. That's what I love about this time and space, though I must admit, it's scary for me, too.


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All of us at GSoM wanted to thank Tim for all his continued support. Definitely make Talking Points a daily visit to stay up on everything that is Bay Area sports. Whether you're a 49ers, Raiders, Giants, or A's fan- Tim's got something for you.

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