Lee Ann Kim

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Lee Ann Yi Yun Kim
Picture of Lee Ann Kim, speaking at Barnard Elementary School in San Diego, September 2012.
Lee Ann Kim (2012)
Born September 1970 (age 47)[1][2]
Seoul, South Korea
Alma mater University of Maryland (College Park)
Years active 1996–2008
Spouse(s) Louis Song
Children 2 sons

Lee Ann Kim is a first-generation Korean American who was an anchor and general assignment reporter for KGTV Channel 10, the San Diego, California ABC television affiliate. She worked at KGTV from 1996 to 2008. She was also the executive director of Pacific Arts Movement (Pac-Arts, formerly the San Diego Asian Film Foundation) until 2016. Pac-Arts presents the annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, an event she founded in 2000 with the Asian American Journalists Association of San Diego. She has been married to Louis Song since 1997, with whom she has two sons.


Lee Ann Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea and she emigrated with her family to Downers Grove, Illinois, near Chicago in 1971, where she spent most of her childhood with her three younger sisters, her mother, and her father, who is a doctor.[3] Her youngest sister Beverly Kim is a celebrated chef who made it to the final four of the 2011 season of Top Chef.[4] Kim majored in broadcast journalism with a minor in Spanish at the University of Maryland. She married Louis Song, the managing director of a staffing company, in 1997.[5]

The fact that most adoptees from Asia are not adopted into Asian families makes a clear statement about how Asians negatively view these children and their mothers. We can be the first generation to change that.

— Lee Ann Kim, Interview with Claire Yezbak Fadden (May 2010)[6]

After discussing it for many years, Kim and Song were inspired by a story she watched regarding former National Football League quarterback Dan Marino's own family, prompting the couple to adopt a child while having a birth child of their own. They contacted the Holt International adoption agency and were matched with a boy in March, 2005. However, when the agency was notified that Kim was due to give birth in July 2005, the agency put a stop to the adoption process and reassigned the boy to another family. This was devastating for Kim, who had already named the boy Samuel.[5]

Her birth child, Weston Yongwon Song, was born in 2005.[7]

Lee Ann and Louis Song continued to pursue adoption as soon as her first son was born. On June 16, 2006, they were introduced to 4 month old Samuel Hyungwon Song, her newly adopted son, at Los Angeles International Airport. Samuel was born in February, 2006.[6]

Professional career[edit]

Broadcast news[edit]

While a senior at the University of Maryland, she was a bureau reporter for four Washington D.C. area radio stations,[8] covering Maryland state politics in Annapolis for Capitol News Service.

In 1993, she landed her first TV job at the nation's first all-news local broadcast station, KNWS-TV in Houston, Texas.[8] She moved in 1994 to become the main anchor at WCFT, the CBS affiliate station in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.[8] In 1995, she then moved to Springfield, Missouri to work at KYTV, the local NBC affiliate, where she became the first person of color to anchor the news in the Ozarks.[8] In 1996, she accepted an offer from KGTV to work in San Diego, starting in March 1996.[8]

While working for KGTV news, Kim covered Santana and Granite Hills high school shootings, the search for Danielle van Dam, the Heaven's Gate suicides, and the 1996 Republican National Convention.

In 2005, she was promoted to the 5:30 pm weekday anchor position. In 2006, she was named as co-host of the newly created hour-long 4:00 pm news program called 10-4 San Diego,[9] which was later cancelled due to low ratings in August 2006.[10] In August 2008, Lee Ann chose not to accept the station's offer of a lower salary and longer hours and left the news business.[11][12]

San Diego Asian Film Festival[edit]

Kim started the San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) in 2000, inspired by a conversation she had overheard while speaking at a local technology company.[2] The first SDAFF was held in August 2000 on the campus of the University of California, San Diego with five features, multiple shorts, and guest appearances from Margaret Cho and Tamlyn Tomita.[2]

I was speaking at a tech company here, and overheard a bunch of Caucasians talking about their favorite Asian movies, how they'd get together, eat dim sum and talk over films. At the same time, I was head of the Asian-American Journalists Association local chapter, and thinking how we could engage a larger audience with our issues. [...] Well, I'm not a film connoisseur, but I knew a festival could help create the community we need, give Asians here a way to address their issues and reach others.

— Lee Ann Kim, 2006 interview with David Elliott[2]

In 2002, the organization running the SDAFF applied for nonprofit status as the San Diego Asian Film Foundation.[13] After the scope of the San Diego Asian Film Foundation grew beyond film, the nonprofit was rebranded the Pacific Arts Movement (Pac-Arts) in 2012.[13][14] Kim served as the executive director the San Diego Asian Film Foundation and Pac-Arts until she retired from the nonprofit in April 2016.[15][16]


She has received numerous awards for her work including an Emmy Award for investigative reporting, the California Teacher's Association award for best educational reporting for her coverage of bilingual education, and best news report by the California Chicano News Media Association, and two national Asian American Journalists Association awards for best reporting in Asian and non-Asian related issues.

Since leaving KGTV, Kim has been honored for her nonprofit work including being awarded the 2010 KPBS Hero of the Month award,[17] a 10News Leadership Award,[18] San Diego Magazine′s Top 50 People to Watch in 2009,[19] and she was featured on the cover of San Diego Family Magazine in May 2010. The San Diego Film Critics Society gave her its 2011 Kyle Counts Award,[1] and she was chosen by the Women's Museum of California as the Spirit of the San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame for 2015.[20] The San Diego City Council declared Tuesday, April 19, 2016 "Lee Ann Kim Day" to honor her leadership of Pac-Arts.[21]


  1. ^ a b "Going Against the Grain: Lee Ann Kim". Against the Grain Productions. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Elliott, David (7 October 2007). "In Asian film, Kim's the edge of our Pacific Rim". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  3. ^ "Made in Chicago". Chicago Life. November 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  4. ^ Pang, Kevin (5 March 2014). "Chicago chefs on 'Top Chef': Where are they now?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2017. The most phenomenal thing that's happened since 'Top Chef' is getting recognition from my own family. That's the most important transition. Even at Aria, my parents were telling me, 'You sure you don't want to go back to school?' I've always been the financial weak link of my family - we have chiropractors and news anchors. But now, my parents feel like, 'Yeah, our daughter's going to be fine.' 
  5. ^ a b Garin, Nina (8 May 2005). "A family in the making: With plans to adopt from Korea now on hold, KGTV anchorwoman Lee Ann Kim and her husband, Louis, focus on their baby due in July". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Fadden, Claire Yezbak (May 2010). "Lee Ann Kim - One Mother's Path to Parenting Almost-Twins". San Diego Family. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  7. ^ Garin, Nina (13 November 2005). "Anchorwoman and husband welcome first baby". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Lee Ann Kim: Anchor, General Assignment Reporter". KGTV 10News. 8 November 2007. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  9. ^ Laurence, Robert P. (19 June 2006). "'10-4' is over and out in the news department". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  10. ^ Laurence, Robert P. (4 August 2006). "Low ratings kill '10-4 San Diego'". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  11. ^ Grant, Lee (14 August 2008). "Lee Ann Kim to Leave Channel 10". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  12. ^ Lee Ann Kim (20 October 2009). "Scott Marks Interviews Lee Ann Kim of the San Diego Asian Film Festival" (Interview). Interview with Scott Marks. San Diego Uptown News. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  13. ^ a b Rocha, Michael James (26 April 2016). "Changing the world through cinema". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  14. ^ Chen, Angela (22 October 2012). "SD Asian Film Foundation re-branded as Pacific Arts Movement". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  15. ^ Manna, Marcia (20 September 2016). "Pacific Arts Movement appoints new executive director". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  16. ^ Kim, Lee Ann (9 February 2016). "A Personal Message and Announcement from Lee Ann Kim" (Press release). Pacific Arts Movement. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  17. ^ "Lee Ann Kim – Asian Pacific Heritage Month: 2010 Honoree". KPBS. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  18. ^ ABC10 News honors Lee Ann Kim on YouTube
  19. ^ Blair, Tom; Donoho, Ron; Manna, Marcia; Polloreno, Julia Beeson (4 January 2009). "50 People to Watch in 2009". San Diego Magazine. Retrieved 20 June 2017. 
  20. ^ "Lee Ann Kim". Women's Museum of California. 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2017. 
  21. ^ Sklar, Debbie L. (19 April 2016). "San Diego City Council Proclaims Tuesday Lee Ann Kim Day". Times of San Diego. Retrieved 20 June 2017. 

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