LAS VEGAS — David Ono, news anchor for KABC-TV in Los Angeles, was among the 2012 AAJA National Journalism Award winners announced Aug. 3 at the Asian American Journalists Association’s gala awards banquet at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Ono was recognized in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Issues: Television category for “Witness: American Heroes,” which details the accomplishments of the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II. The documentary was broadcast on Channel 7.

David Ono holds two of the Emmys he received on Saturday at the 64th annual L.A. Area Emmy Awards. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

“Ono elevated this local story into a national tribute,” the judges said. “His piece could easily have been told through the use of file tape and local interviews. Instead, he took the story to its origin in Europe, guiding the audience through lesser-known historical monuments and even to remote fields that were integral to the story. Although history granted Ono mere glimpses of untold battles, he was able to weave together a clear storyline by reconnecting the principal characters despite the obstacle of distance, time, and even death. Masterful.”

Also representing California was Associated Press photographer Paul Sakuma, a Bay Area resident, who was recognized in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Issues: Photography category for “Filipino Worker Looking for Work.”

“The plight of the unemployed is often a quiet story; the jobless often face empty days of silence and painful self assessment,” the judges said. “Photographer Sakuma helps viewers connect with the dismay of this job seeker beyond unemployment numbers and statistics.”

In the Unlimited Subject Matter: Print category, Wall Street Journal staff reporter Daisuke Wakabayashi was honored for “Making Home Sweet Again.”

“A moving account about a Japanese baker finding purpose in his craft after a devastating tsunami took almost everything from him,” the judges said. “Stories of death and loss abounded in the wake of the tsunami, but the story of one man’s resiliency and his sense of hope was truly powerful.”

The other awardees were:

Asian American and Pacific Islander Issues: Online — Momo Chang, freelance writer, and R.J. Lozano, videographer,, for “Motherhood Rooted: Asian and Pacific Islander Moms in the U.S. Embrace Ancient Post-Birth Traditions.”

Asian American and Pacific Islander Issues: Radio — Momo Chang, freelance journalist, and Pauline Bartolone, producer and reporter, National Radio Project Making Contact, for “The Toxic Truth About Nail Salons.”

Unlimited Subject Matter: Online — Moni Basu, reporter, CNN Wire, for “The War at Home.”

Unlimited Subject Matter: Photography — Conner Jay, photojournalist, for “Small Towns, Big Gangs.”

Unlimited Subject Matter: Print — Mina Kimes, writer, Fortune Magazine, for “America’s Hottest Export: Weapons.”

Unlimited Subject Matter: Radio — Yowei Shaw, freelance audio producer, WNYC’s “Studio 360,” for “My Parents’ Extreme Tango Makeover.”

Unlimited Subject Matter: Television — Troy Espera, writer/producer, ABS-CBN Global’s “Adobo Nation,” for “Sari Sari, Etc.: United Playaz.”

For more news from AAJA’s national convention, visit

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