SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- A longtime journalist who got laid off from a newspaper during the early weeks of the pandemic has started the only bilingual paper of its kind in California.
The publication is bringing its unique perspective to the recent wave of anti-Asian hate crimes.
Portia Li reported for Chinese-language newspaper World Journal for more than 33 years. She suddenly got laid off as the shelter-in-place began last year.
"I was just in big shock, because I've been in the business covering news for such a long time," said Li.
She considered her colleagues' advice.
"Just everybody tell me the same thing, 'Hey, you start your own. You can do it.'" Li said.
So she used her savings last fall to start her own free 20-page weekly that she named Wind Newspaper. She distributes 3,000 copies to newsstands every week.
It's the only Chinese-English bilingual newspaper printed in California, reporting mostly about Chinese Americans in San Francisco.
Li prints stories mainstream media don't always cover.
Gen Fujioki of the Chinatown Community Development Center looks forward to the newspaper.
"Just overjoyed this paper exists," he said. "It really brings the community together."
Now, when 62-year-old Li chases down Assemblymember David Chiu and others for a quote, she does so as reporter, photographer, editor and publisher with a small freelance staff.
She has turned her family room into a newsroom, and drafted her son, Ernest Man, to design the newspaper website.
And for coverage of the recent anti-Asian violence, city administrator Carmen Chu says Portia brings a unique perspective.
"It's been an issue and it's rising to a level that I think is finally getting attention from mainstream media, but it is something I know Portia has covered long before this period of time," Chu noted.
In a recent article, Portia describes reporting attacks on Asians ten years ago while on the crime beat.
"They were attacked on the streets. Most were older age," Li recalled.
She also remembers the police department's response.
"All Asian-American officers, 30 of them, patrolled that area. And within a month or two months, the violence stopped," Li said.
Today, the award-winning reporter is trying to drum up more advertising to continue the publication that so far has gotten a warm welcome .
"Everyone, the feedback message by email, is the same. 'Thank you so much for your paper,'" Li smiled.
She's encouraged this Wind of change will keep blowing in her direction.
Note: Wind Newspaper welcomes ads, which keep the paper going. Those interested can contact Li at firstname.lastname@example.org
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