Building something from the ground up is a daunting task. Whether it’s a new business start-up or a book manuscript, the process is a labor of love. You put everything you have into it, often sacrificing things along the way to make your dream a reality. Ultimately, it’s an immense personal risk that may leave you questioning yourself frequently. Is this worth it? Am I making the right choices? Will it succeed? Naturally, the best response to all of these should be an emphatic “Yes!” or “Of course!” Yet, at times, some inkling of doubt remains.  It’s a lingering feeling that must be overcome to see your risks turned into rewards.

This autumn, Asia Media International (AMI) will be celebrating its fourth anniversary. Having been there from the start, I’ve seen the site grow dramatically over this period of time. With each issue, there was continuing improvement of the writing, editing and vision. Staff may have come and gone, but the heart of AMI’s mission still remains. We continually push new members to improve the three core skills of writing, research, and editing, all while learning about the merging countries of the world. Each student who has been a part of the staff has undeniably left having gained valuable experience in one, if not all, of these areas.

The coming semester, we will continue the trend of growth for the staff and site. Thanks to the support of Robbin D. Crabtree, Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts; Associate Dean Jennifer Eich; Crista Copp, Director of Academic Technology; Dennis Slon, Senior Vice President of University Relations; and not to mention the hugely helpful technological guidance of Matt Frank, LMU’s Manager of Classroom & Creative Services, we have been able to upgrade the equipment in our University Hall office – UH3319 – dramatically.

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During the recent winter break, the state-of-the-art teleconferencing system was installed – complete with a high-definition screen, directional camera, and a studio-quality sound system). We are calling Prof. Tom Plate’s office the ‘AMI Studio,’ and the new technology marks another step in an exciting period of growth for the nearly four-year-old site.

Over the past two years AMI has worked closely with Matt Frank’s team, frequently producing exclusive video content. The AMI Studio is a culmination of this partnership, and represents a little milestone for both sides. “Due to the global nature of the stories that [AMI] works on, there are typically time-zone and technology differences which can be challenging. [This] gives us a chance to work with technologists at other universities around the world to come up with creative solutions,” says Matt Frank. When asked about AMI as a whole Director Copp made this point, “The vision behind the Asia Media International program is a prime example of the new innovative landscape that is pushing us to view education as a global experience, not just within the walls of a classroom. The technology elements that have been integrated as part of the Asia Media program enable students to connect with the whole world in real-time, and allows students to interact with other cultures in concrete ways.”

The first of its kind in a professor’s office, the AMI Studio opens a variety of new content opportunities that weren’t readily available before. Among the first projects we’ll be pursuing is a series of digital seminars with various press outlets and institutions around the world. So far we’ve successfully tested the system with some of our friends and colleagues in China and Australia. With time, we hope to bring more exclusive content to asiamedia.lmu.edu by conducting video interviews with prominent diplomats, journalists, and politicians abroad; and from there, encourage other sectors of the college to embrace the idea of thinking beyond the scope of LMU and Los Angeles by creatively and aggressively exploiting this new technology of communication.

AMI’s growth might not be possible without your continued help and support. As alumni, you and I can well recall contributing our time and writing efforts during our undergraduate career at LMU. Although our formal time at LMU has come to a close, AMI hopes that the experience remains a wonderful memory and asset. We hope to periodically update you about this wonderful legacy your undergraduate efforts created through a monthly (or so) Letter from Asia Media International.

We also want to provide continual support for our alumni. Thus, we will occasionally highlight two to three related job opportunities that are in the fields of public policy, journalism, and international affairs in future newsletters. And AMI plans to expand from this: We will establish an Asia Media alumni network to keep in touch, sometimes spotlighting the work of our alumni, and introducing the new wave of AMI undergraduate staffers. This is only the beginning. Enjoy the issue!

Cheers,

Jeremiah Fajardo, Associate Publisher

Thomas Plate, Editor-in-Chief and AMI Founder