Branding Yourself Online with Instagram

Branding Yourself Online with Instagram

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From setting up the account to mapping out an annual editorial calendar, best practices to create and grow your brand's FREE marketing platform

Every Thursday morning 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM for four weeks starting from March 8th in downtown Los Angeles

Location : Metro Office in Little Tokyo (360 E 1st Street Los Angeles, CA) 

The story behind a photo.



Last night at the AAJA-LA holiday party and silent photo auction I bid on a photo titled ‘Hammer’ and won. The photograph was shot by award winning photo journalist Francine Orr.


The photo has three distinct elements, a Hammer, feet and the ground.


There was no context for the who or why about the photo.  I was drawn in and I wanted to know the story of the photo.


Photos for artistic reasons are wonderful but photo journalism has a powerful purpose that art for art’s sake does not accomplish. It both illustrates a current news story, provides a powerful visual context and inspires questions about the political, social and economical present day issues.


I contacted the photographer Francine Orr on Twitter to ask her about which story the photo illustrated.


“Thank you. That photo was taken in Goma Congo. He was breaking apart cooled lava to use the stone to build a fence. It was part of a project on people living on a dollar a day.” - Francine Orr


The article below rovides further context for the photo that I’m proud to have won. The money raised through the sales of photos will the 2018 scholarship and internship opportunities for the Asian American Journalists Assoication Los Angeles chapter student members.


Teaching the NeXt generation about how news WILL shape the future we live in.

I’ve made the decision to leave my day (and night... okay I am on call 24/7 there) job at a Japanese national broadcaster. I’ve been with them for nearly two years and while I work for them out of their LA bureau I have been sent on assignment all over the US as well as travelled to Central and South America too. 

It’s been a busy two years. 

As I prepare to leave and embark on my next journey (and get a bit closer to entrepreneurship) I am doing my best to make the transition as smooth as possible for those that will follow me. 

I’ve taken the unofficially official producer guide I inherited from my predecessor and begun to add to it. What began at 8 pages is now close to 20 and counting!

So far there’s a lot about the day to day inside of the manual but it got me thinking... beyond the practical what is the best advice I could offer someone that is new to broadcast? And perhaps new to international news coverage as well? 

In today’s world of Internet news where everything and anything is accessible (and hard to find all at once) it’s often assumed we’ve improved cross cultural understanding. In some ways perhaps we have, as a mixed kid whose split her childhood education and adult working years between the US and Japan I’ve certainly seen a huge change in how much these two nations know about each other. When I was a kid in the US sushi (and rice balls!) wasn’t even a thing and now Japanese cuisine is popular everywhere.  For awhile in Japan black face was still acceptable on national TV and at last they seem to have moved beyond it. 

For most of both populations (and most of the world) there are very few that have had the opportunities to leave their nations for work or leisure. Most of what the general population knows about the world is still through media and in a population like Japan a lot of that is still through national TV news programs.

Most days I feel like I’m failing at journalism (this seems to be a common feeling in my field) but there are small victories here and there.  I carry those with me because it’s certainly not the dismal pay and unhealthy working hours that keep me motivated to stay in this industry.  As naive as it sounds I wanted to make the world a better place. I wanted other people to have the opportunity to learn the things that I was lucky enough to be raised experiencing.

I still want that. 

I still believe journalism provides that opportunity.

So from my 6 years of breaking news experience as an international correspondent here are my five biggest pieces of advice on how to make the world a better place as a journalist.



I’ve written this massive manual on how to be an efficient news producer. I’ve provided all the passwords, bookmarks, Twitter lists and even a starter list of sources. There’s a manual on how to edit and how to shoot and a quick guide to the best methods for pitching and how to organize a budget.

But what makes a journalist is that journalist’s story. The context and energy they bring. I can’t teach you how to be you in this role. I will organize the tools you’ll likely need but at the end of the day you’ll choose your own stories, find your own sources and build your own platform.

Along the way and especially on tough days it can be hard to stay true to yourself. Below I’ve listed a few of my tips on how to be the best journalist only YOU could be. 

Take what helps, leave behind what doesn’t fit. 

Here it goes!  

1.  Remember that it is a privilege to listen. I’ve often envied shrinks, they listen and listen and listen to people share their worst moments or toughest trials and then get to work with that person to move past it. Journalists have to bring those same stories out of someone, share it on a platform to millions and then walk away to begin working on their next story. Anytime someone decides to share a piece of their life with you is a privilege. They could have spoken their truth to anyone and they chose you. Sometimes journalists gets to ask about happy moments but in breaking news it’s often the most tragic parts of an individual or a community’s life. And yet without humanizing these stories it’s hard for a mother in Osaka or a teenager in Okayama to connect with a stranger in rural Texas or uptown Manhattan. Listen like they’re sharing a secret, share like it will change the world.


2.  Not all stories have to be shared. Sometimes people will speak with you just to speak, others will need your listening ear. Not every story should be amplified by a news broadcast, some just need to be released by the survivor so that they can move on. You will often be in the right place at the worst time. It’s okay to listen and not publish. It’s okay to be that one time friend and not a journalist. Be a great journalist but be an even greater human.


3.  Be a diplomat. Your view of the world is your audience’s view of the world they’ve never been to, the story they’ve never heard and the people they’ve never met. Don’t assume ‘they know’. First of all who is ‘they’ and what do you think they know? Japan doesn’t allow citizens to own guns, what could they possibly know about gun laws and permits? Start from zero and assume you’ll need to explain every term, hashtag and geographic location. Be prepared to examine your story ‘lost in translation’. Ask yourself 5 questions for every 1 answer you come up with.  If you learn 1000 facts about the story, assume the audience will absorb only 3. If you’ve done your job well they’ll walk away with the most important three.


4.  Take time off. Outside of depression and alcoholism the other biggest problem that journalists face is burn out. The news cycle NEVER stops, especially if you’re an international correspondent. Your home news desk will be in a different time zone than you. They may react to news at 10 pm when you’re winding down for bed or call you at 4am because an earthquake happened three time zones ahead of you. The work is never ending and they will let you go if your quality drops. Never assume you’re indispensable to a company or to a boss. Employees will always be dispensable so take care of yourself first, always. And then take care of your loved ones. Give them your time, your attention and your love. They will love you back. Journalism never will.


5.  Pursue long form storytelling. You’re in breaking news, you’re busy everyday. But still find a story you feel passionate about. Marinate on it. Research it like you intend to write a book. Study it. Pursue it and give it years to develop as your grow as a journalist with the story. The deadline will find you. The path to be a great journalist is patience and the greatest exercise of patience is experiencing the process. 

You’re going to do great! Whoever you are and wherever you go you’ll be awesome!

I’m already a fan!



FILM REVIEW The Chinese Mayor : A Lesson in Insanity

The Chinese Mayor

The Chinese Mayor


I talk about the ending, don't read further if that sort of thing destroys films for you.


Chinese language documentary 'The Chinese Mayor' has one of the most tragic protagonists I have seen captured on film in a long time. 

My heart shed tears at the end of this film thanks to the tediously well documented story by the skeleton crew of just TWO cinematographers.

In the closing lines mayor Geng Yanbo of Daton in the Shanxi province, our main character in the 87 minute documentary, share final words with one of the cameraman that has been following him for what I imagine is nearly a year.


Geng "What have you been filming all this time?"

Cameraman "You don't know?  We are always around you."

Geng "I sorta forgot about your existence."


The best sort of cinematographers will blend into the background so well that its subjects will behave naturally with no vanity and extraneous remarks and gestures.  The Chinese Mayor is one of the best sorts of examples of this being done with sensitivity and awareness of the events' historical significance.

Geng, despite his ruthlessness in attempting to perform his dramatic cosmetic facelift to the city that displaces tens of thousands of citizens, we root for him to be successful.  We want his work and energy to NOT be in vain because perhaps we also know, as he often expresses, that if he doesn't accomplish this lofty task then it will be just a vanity project, the type that is better off having not been attempted at all if it cannot be completed.   

Audience goers will find themselves holding their breath in anticipation for that dramatic closing scene where the end seems to justify the means,  but alas Geng is transferred and all projects come to a halting stop.  

And this is the worst fear realized, thousands displaced, corrupt construction workers making out with millions and a half finished wall that goes protects no one, nor welcomes anyone in. 

The Chinese Mayor

The Chinese Mayor

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

There is a Greek tale in which Sisyphus, punished for deceitfulness is forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, repeating this action for eternity.

Geng who moves from city to city and province to province dreaming to better a nation he clearly loves so dearly seems destined to the same sort of fate.

Within just months of completing his project in the Shanxi province he is moved to a new city.  

And yet he starts the whole process all over again.  




Why I freelance Q&A with @MarikoLochridge

I am sure it's weird that I'm starting with myself for this but I don't like to ask of others what I'm unwilling to ask of myself.  So before I hit up my colleagues, role models and people I've been blessed to meet at networking events let me introduce myself first. 


Why I freelance Q&A with @MarikoLochridge

Q - What has been the biggest challenge?

I've worked on an assignment desk where I was told what, who and when to cover, that was great for learning about the news business but freelancing gives me the chance to cover stories and issues that may not be news to my publication. With freelancing you usually find the story first and the publication second that's been a complete reversal in thinking for me.  

Q- What has been the biggest reward?

Traveling on someone else's dime.

Q- What's something you've done lately that you're extra proud of?

I starting getting freelance work as a writer!  Until now my by-lines have been few and far between and always accompanied by video.  In July I published a text only piece, something I never saw happening for myself until recently.  

Q- Name one great resource that's helped you as a freelancer.

The AAJA - Asian American Journalists Association - I've tried a lot of different organizations to help me meet people in LA and this was the only one that reached back to me with a hi-five!


Today’s Motivational Quote: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…


Mariko Lochridge (is it weird that I’m writing this in the third person?) - well, let’s just keep going…  Mariko Lochridge is a mixed race Japanese American freelance multimedia journalist who recently moved to Los Angeles, California from Tokyo, Japan.  She has worked around the world including all over the United States, Japan, India, Kosovo, Colombia and Mexico.  Most recently she filmed, edited and produced a short 10 minute documentary about special effects makeup artist and San Diego Comic Con Masquerade champion, Joo Skellington, for the financial sustainability website Make Change.  She’s also really proud of a text story she wrote for KCET about the Japanese soul food restaurant Daichan, this article will be coming out soon.  In her free time she enjoys boxing, hosting Periscope adventures with her boyfriend @BattleGodMars and taking advantage of food samples at Trader Joe’s.  


Keep up to date with Mariko via any of the links below! 

Website :

Newsletter :

Twitter :

Facebook :



Check out these recent works by Mariko


Make Change - How a Special Effects Makeup Artist Makes a Living

The Daily Meal - The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cookbook


Mariko Lochridge Profile Pic

3. 11 Five Years Later : The guilt that comes from appreciating the chaos of disaster.

3. 11 Five Years Later : The guilt that comes from appreciating the chaos of disaster.

Boxes continued to fall from makeshift shelves above us, first some sheets, then handmade pencil cases, balls of yarn and a decorative lantern made of rice paper which bounced off her glass shelf and then landed on the TV stand.

“Save Buddha! Save Buddha!"

Directly underneath where my grandfather’s image had hung was a diminutive statue of my obachan’s many armed Buddha. His many arms had seemed to be waving at me frantically out of the corner of my eye. Though I had assumed the idol was waving me to safety, apparently they had been panicked gestures for help, so headfirst Buddha dived into my shirt and buckled himself under the safety strap of my sports bra.

FILM REVIEW Seoul Searching : More 80s than the 80s it seeks to emulate

And at long, long last I have finally seen Benson Lee's 'Seoul Searching' a coming of age 'Saved By the Bell' meets 'The Outsiders' in a based on the true story of one Korean American kid (or two) kind of Korean diaspora docuCinefilm.  

According the the film's prologue after the Korean War many Koreans chose to leave their home country to raise their families abroad but as their descendants became less and less 'Korean' (extra emphasis on the air quotes) the government chose to fund summer camps for their lost generation of Korean-foreign misfits.  In a massive import of Korean kids the reverse student exchange program aimed to socially repatriate the children of Korea to strengthen their Korean identity.

Road Warrior : 5 Travel Tips for Packing Effectively

TSA opens my suitcase and sees a perfect Tetris puzzle of squares and rectangles and L-shaped Ziplocs fit together with no dead space gone to waste.  Fluffy room socks wrapped around voice recorders and a bag of XLR cables between layers of long-sleeve business shirts and fitted tank tops.

There's a lot I could say about packing, in particular for those transporting delicate equipment but I've narrowed my suggestions down to five go tos that effectively guide (or least keep from derailing) my packing process.

Manifest Justice : A Gallery of Potential and the voice of action Sybrina Fulton, mother to Trayvon Martin

Manifest Justice : A Gallery of Potential and the voice of action Sybrina Fulton, mother to Trayvon Martin

On my last trip to LA, I covered the usual red carpets and drought stories that are always a part of my Southern California experience but I also had the opportunity to cover the Manifest Justice art exhibit. At this art activist showcase focused on the theme of social inequality I found the muse, Ms. Sybrina Fulton - mother of slain Trayvon Martin, that put words to my own anger and frustration and softened my jaded heart.

Career Day for Third Culture Kids : Speaking on Journalism and Mixed Identity

Career Day for Third Culture Kids : Speaking on Journalism and Mixed Identity

A lot of great questions during our Q&A but the one that stood out for me was a student asking how becoming a journalist affected my life.

I thought about it and told the class that when I first moved to Japan I couldn't speak any Japanese, I was very alienated and isolated at my 'regular' Japanese high school. When I entered Sophia University in Tokyo things did not get better, if anything they got worse. I was surround by 'perfect' bilinguals and developed a severe inferiority complex that really stunted my growth as a Japanese language speaker and as a Japanese citizen. It caused me to severely question my identity and tore apart any self-confidence I had remaining. 'Who am I?' 'Where do I belong?' - the usual late teens and early 20s angst compounding by acute feelings of abandonment and loneliness.

KOSOVO Part 2: My neighbour is a savage, my mother told me so...

KOSOVO Part 2: My neighbour is a savage, my mother told me so...

Our translator was a local Albanian speaking Kosovar whose previous stereotype of the Gorani people in Brod was that of 'savages' - the reality could not have been farther from the truth, she humbly accepted her own ignorance. This tiny village of 8,000 people hidden in the Sharr mountains is mostly likely isolated for months at a time in the winter lending to their strong community spirit and courteous curiosity of visitors.