Monica Lam
Email monicazemalam(at)gmail(dot)com Hometown Potomac, Maryland Birthday July 30
Bio Monica was the founding editor of Berkeley Patch and continues to check the site constantly. She has lived in Berkeley since 2002. She has worked extensively in documentary film and has traveled on five continents producing, reporting, and shooting for Frontline, Frontline/WORLD, The Newshour and other PBS programs as well as Swiss television and MSNBC. She has followed the story of Uighurs in China, sweatshop workers in Guangdong, mercury poisoning in the North Atlantic, social entrepreneurship in Paraguay, baseball in Cuba, Yanomami Indians  in the Venezuelan Amazon, Native American gaming in Rohnert Park, CA, crime prevention programs in Richmond, CA, and the making of an opera written by Amy Tan. Monica has written for the Daily Cal, North Gate News, San Francisco Chronicle, Florida Sun-Sentinel and Hyphen magazine. She studied urban planning at Stanford University, holds a masters in journalism from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and likes to swim, hike, garden and spend time with her husband and three kids. Our Beliefs At Patch, we promise always to report the facts as objectively as possible and otherwise adhere to the principles of good journalism. However, we also acknowledge that true impartiality is impossible because human beings have beliefs. So in the spirit of simple honesty, our policy is to encourage our editors to reveal their beliefs to the extent they feel comfortable. This disclosure is not a license for us to inject our beliefs into stories or to dictate coverage according to them. In fact, the intent is the opposite: we hope that the knowledge that our beliefs are on the record will cause us to be ever mindful to write, report and edit in a fair, balanced way. And if you ever see evidence that we failed in this mission, please let us know. Politics I am a registered Democrat. I believe that it is our democratic responsibility to participate in self governance, whether it is through voting, public service or participating in civic discussion and decision-making. Religion Growing up, my father shared his Buddhist spiritual beliefs with me while my mother shared her Catholic upbringing, but I am non-religious. Local Hot-Button Issues Schools: I want to follow what’s happening in the schools from inside the classroom, from the perspective of students and teachers, to inside the boardroom, where decisions about budgets, staffing, and policies are made. I want to reach out to youth and younger readers and invite them to participate in the discussion. Sustainability: Berkeley and California in general have been leaders in many arenas of innovation, and sustainability is just one area where Berkeley residents have shown a willingness to take risks and push the envelope. I want to cover the modern social experiment of trying to live greener, but I also want to ask questions about what the costs and challenges are. What does sustainability smell, taste and look like? For anyone with bills to pay, does it cost more? Does it make our lives more complicated or is it worth the additional effort? I also want to invite readers to weigh in and provide tips, advice and insights into how they do it. Town-gown relationships: UC Berkeley is an institution unto itself, with its own news gathering organizations, infrastructure and even culture. I cannot hope to adequately cover all the research, intellectual energy and creative activity at UC Berkeley. Instead, I will try to focus on the places where the university and city have a direct dialogue. What are the research projects that most affect residents in the city of Berkeley? How are students, faculty and staff changing the city and how does the city contribute to the innovating that takes place on campus? Access: From affordable housing to special education to navigating a multi-lingual society, I am interested in what Berkeley is doing to increase access for people from all walks of life. I want to invite bloggers, opinion writers and what I call “citizen experts” to participate in the discussion. I define a citizen expert as anyone with an expertise large or small; you don’t need a degree to know a lot about knitting, composting, playing music, or understanding budgets, and I hope you’ll share that experience on Berkeley Patch. Arts: I believe strongly in the importance of art in our lives, because of its ability to educate and open minds and for the pure aesthetic pleasure of it. From the zebra-covered car on Ada Street to the revival of Philip Glass’ groundbreaking opera Einstein on the Beach, I look forward to covering the diversity of arts in Berkeley.
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