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Inclusion

Clayton Park

He/Him/His

Business Editor – Daytona Beach News

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Talk to me about a place where you can be yourself.

Wherever I’m with close friends or family. Also in my spare time, my wife and I are musicians, so we perform at local restaurants and stuff. So, to be honest when we’re on stage and performing.

What do you play?

I play guitar and electric violin. My wife and I are also singers!

What would you say right now has been your biggest teachable or meaningful moment?

When all the increase in Asian American and Pacific Islander hate began rearing its ugly head in the early months of the pandemic. A real teachable moment happened for me while I was covering an Asian Americanowned business that wound up getting a lot of people threatening them and were going into their restaurant, acting rude, and making all kinds of accusations about the pandemic and how, you know, people like them had started it. And so, I covered that story for the Daytona Beach News Journal, but then I wound up writing an op-ed piece that got picked up by USA TODAY about my own personal experience growing up as an Asian American here in the United States. I was so surprised at the feedback I started getting. Emails from readers from throughout the country and started sharing their own stories and talking about how it resonated with them. I loved it.

I’m sorry that you went through that. How did the response to your article make you feel?

Well, it made me feel like I had written something that was making a difference and to me as a journalist, and that’s what it’s all about – just trying to make a positive impact on our society. I’m a believer that knowledge is power. When we go to the ballot box or even make decisions in our daily lives, if you don’t have all the information that you need, how can you make a knowledgeable decision? That’s why I cover the local school board or the local city commission. They might make decisions that affect you, whether it’s allowing a development down the street from you or what goes on in the classrooms. I believe that it’s important not to try to promote DzԱ’s personal political beliefs, but to help people understand what the real facts are, regardless of your political persuasion.

You have won many awards. If you were to win another, what would be the theme song you would want to play in the background as you walk to accept that award?

Keep on rocking in the free world by Neil Young. I will probably have a different one tomorrow. But this is the one that comes to mind.

If you can talk about something for 30 minutes without preparation, what would it be?

I would talk about the importance of community journalism because that’s something we took for granted when I was growing up. I wanted to be at one of the big national papers and become a foreign correspondent. But now that I’ve been in our profession for quite some time, I recognize the importance for each community to have a strong source of local news, because people need to be informed about what’s going on, not just in other countries or Washington, D.C., but down the street from them. So, I think local journalism is even more important.

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