OUR STORIES | Lee-Hoon Benson: One foot here and one in Malaysia

Coming to the Media Skills Fellowship without a lot of experience in social media, Lee-Hoon Benson appreciated the focus on tools. My single accomplishment is to lose my fear of social media," she wrote in the evaluation. "I think I know which ones I can use in my personal spheres to build community with like-minded people on a range of topics.... One thing I have learned is the proliferation of tools to communicate a message and ways to think about selecting the best tools for specific communication goals. The exposure and guidance to these tools at TCDP gave me more confidence in trying them."

The fall cohort of Media Skills Fellows, funded by the Bush Foundation, completed ten weeks of intensive learning on November 14, with the ripple effects already spreading out into various Twin Cities communities. The fellowship program focused on improving media skills with the specific goal of using these skills for better communication in/about/on behalf of each participant's community. This article is one of several articles introducing the fall cohort of Media Skills Fellows and what they learned and accomplished.

She plans to put these tools to use at PCYC, where she works with the website. Her first story for the Media Skills Fellowship was about the Capri Theater's Open Mic program and the opportunities it offers for youth to try out their skills:

"The young woman sauntered onto the stage, cracked a half smile then pulled the mike almost to her lips. The lights dimmed, music piped in and the spotlight turned onto her. The smoky voice that emerged from this girl was surprising as was the melody. Here on the Capri Theater stage in North Minneapolis, an African American girl was singing a jazz song popularized by Billie Holiday, an American cultural icon of the 1940s. The audience of about 50 young students, teens and middle aged folks hooted and howled encouragement when this aspiring singer ended her rendition. She glowed with a big smile, waved, and bounded off into the wings." [MORE]

As an immigrant from Malaysia, still caring for an ailing mother there, Lee-Hoon says, "I've been dealing with being a first generation U.S. American with one foot here and the other in my country of origin." In her situation, she says, "We may claim to be part of a community but do those people own us, do they embrace us? That's so difficult!"

She appreciated the opportunity to share with people from other cultures and life experiences in the Media Skills Fellowship group, saying, "We all hold different segments of truth. What is true to people's lives, about a democracy, about the world."

Reporting for this article supported in part by Bush Foundation.

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    Mary Turck

    Mary Turck (editor [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net) is the editor of the TC Daily Planet.