Journalist Sharon Pian Chan has been named director of journalism initiatives for The Seattle Times—a new position that builds relationships with nonprofits and creates opportunities for community voices.
“This is an incredible opportunity to create new pathways for high-impact journalism,” Chan said in a statement. “I’m honored to have the chance to do that at The Seattle Times. In an era of aggregated commodity news, cat photos, and what-state-are-you quizzes, this news media company is investing in journalism that matters and building the partnerships to deliver it.”
Chan will focus on funding journalism by building partnerships between The Seattle Times, nonprofits, and philanthropy. This special assignment reports to the publisher. Chan will begin in October.
The new position builds on Chan’s community engagement work for Education Lab in 2013-14. Education Lab is a year-long partnership with the nonprofit Solutions Journalism Network, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Knight Foundation. Education Lab showcases community voices online and in print, convenes community events in partnership with nonprofit groups, and creates regular forums for online dialogue through live chats and Google+ Hangouts.
Currently, Chan is associate opinions editor/digital for The Seattle Times. She is responsible for guest column submissions, and oversees the Education Lab’s opinions, newsletter, and engagement efforts. She led development of The Seattle Times‘ digital opinion blog. Chan serves as deputy editor of the editorial page and as a member of the editorial board.
Chan served as national president of the Asian American Journalists Association from 2009 to 2010, where she worked with foundations to create journalism projects to engage the Asian American community. She served as vice president of UNITY: Journalists for Diversity alliance from 2011 to 2012.
Prior to joining the Seattle Times editorial board, Chan was a senior producer for The Seattle Times home page and mobile platforms. Chan has extensive experience as a news reporter, most recently covering Microsoft for the business section. She has also covered Seattle City Hall, King County and the University of Washington.
Chan grew up in Southern California and received her bachelor’s degree in literature from Pomona College. She lives in Seattle with her husband Danny O’Neil, an on-air radio host for 710 ESPN Seattle, formerly a Seattle Times sports reporter.