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Our Team

Sandy Close, founder Ethnic Media Services

Sandy Close, EMS Executive Director, started her career covering China and Vietnam as an editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review in the mid-1960s. She became editor of Pacific News Service in 1974 and was a pioneer in developing youth media. In 1996, she founded New America Media, the first and largest collaboration of ethnic news organizations. Her work has received several awards, including a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” and the 2011 Polk Award for Career Achievement. In 1996, a film she co-produced, Breathing Lessons, won an Academy Award for best short documentary. She founded Ethnic Media Services in 2017 to continue her work amplifying and elevating the voices of ethnic media.

Julian Do is co-director at EMS where he focuses on media business development and digital transformation. He has 16 years of experience in the media industry and another 15 years in semiconductor manufacturing, fund management, and international NGO development.

Mark Hedin, reporter, Ethnic Media Services

Mark Hedin’s lifetime of newspaper work began as a teenager at Manhattan’s neighborhood rag Our Town and continued as editor of San Francisco State University’s Golden Gater when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit in 1989. Springing from 16 subsequent years at the corner of San Francisco’s 5th and Mission streets where the Examiner and Chronicle were produced, came a spell with the Tenderloin District’s Central City Extra, whose name he suggested, through to its final edition 15 years later. Prior to joining Ethnic Media Services, he was the sole reporter on the Oakland Tribune section of the East Bay Times when its staff won a Pulitzer for breaking news work covering the Oakland Ghost Ship tragedy in late 2016.

Jongwon Lee is an attorney and journalist. Prior to law practice, he was a journalist for Kyunghyang Daily News in South Korea, and the managing editor of the Korea Daily Atlanta. His awards include MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellowship, Wells Fargo Small Business Reporting Fellowship, and National Conference on Citizenship Algorithmic Transparency Fellowship. He received B. A from Korea University and J.D from Georgia State University College of Law. He actively do volunteer for Asian communities in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dana Levine, Media Consultant

Dana Levine manages social marketing campaigns for EMS. She handles media planning and ad placement. She is also the marketing event planner. She coordinates media outreach, media tracking and monitoring, as well as the production of post-event reports. Since November 2007, Dana has contributed her organizational talents on several major marketing campaigns for clients including Flex Your Power, California Teacher’s Association, Leadership Conference of Civil Rights, Bureau of Automotive Repair, Haas Jr. Fund, Census 2010 and 2020.​

Jessica Martin works for Ethnic Media Services as the Communications Director. She manages briefings, projects, by working closely with clients, media, and interpreters. Jessica, an SF native received her bachelor’s of Arts in psychology from San Jose State University and her MBA from Cal State East Bay University.

Sunita Sohrabji joined Ethnic Media Services at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and has organized and moderated several briefings on the health crisis and related issues. Sohrabji is a veteran reporter, most recently covering the Indian American community for India-West newspaper. She has received 15 local and national awards for excellence in journalism.

Pilar Marrero is a journalist and author with long experience in covering social and political issues of the Latino community in the United States. In October of 2018, she was selected by her peers at CCNMA (Latino Journalists of California), as Latina Journalist of the Year. Her work currently appears in Latino USA and Latino Rebels, Angelus News, KCET, La Opinion and Hoy San Diego, where she is a columnist. In early 2019 she became associate editor of Ethnic Media Services, focusing in Spanish-language multimedia coverage of the 2020 Census.

Jaya Padmanabhan Director of ProgramsJaya Padmanabhan writes an immigration column for the SF Examiner and contributes to Bay Area publications on race, politics, immigration and mental health. She was the editor of India Currents, an Indian American monthly magazine started in 1987, from 2012 to 2016. Under her stewardship, India Currents consistently won overall excellence awards from SF Press Club. Jaya has won several journalism awards for her editorials and in-depth reporting. She is the author of a collection of short stories titled “Transactions of Belonging” published in 2014. Jaya has a master’s in computer science from San Jose State University.
Peter Schurmann is the online editor for Ethnic Media Services. He previously worked as communications coordinator for the conservation non-profit Earth Innovation Institute where he helped coordinate an international team to develop and promote content related to issues of climate and tropical forest protection. Peter’s reporting has covered a wide variety of topics, from international affairs to education, health and the environment. His work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation and National Catholic Reporter, among other outlets. 
Alexis DuenasAlexis Duenas works for Ethnic Media Services in Administration. She manages invoicing and works closely with clients, media, and interpreters for other ongoing projects. Alexis, a California native received her bachelor’s of Arts in Recreation Administration with an emphasis in Youth and Community Services from Humboldt State University.
Kahlil AbdullahKhalil Abdullah provides consulting, writing, and editing services on a range of policy issues. He joined New America Media as its first Director in the Washington D.C. office, coordinating outreach, media training, policy briefings, and workshops for ethnic media in various cities. He also served as the Lead Facilitator and editor of the Beat Within, Washington D.C. edition, and Managing Editor of the Washington Afro-American Newspaper. Khalil was the Senior Writer/Researcher for the Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, Inc. He was the Executive Director of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, where he staffed key policy committees on international affairs, energy, environment, transportation, business and finance.
Anthony AdvinculaAnthony Advincula is a New York City-based journalist and communications consultant. Formerly the national media director, writer and editor for New America Media, he managed and organized ethnic media projects in 45 states. He was a correspondent for The Jersey Journal and the communications director and managing editor of the Independent Press Association-New York, where he co-edited Voices That Must Be Heard (now known as CUNY’s Voices of NY). His awards include a New York Times Foreign Press Fellowship and a National Health Journalism Fellowship. Anthony studied advanced narrative nonfiction at Harvard University and received dual master’s degrees in public administration and journalism from Columbia University where he was awarded a Charles H. Revson Fellowship.