Search for Meaning

Interviewing Suki Kim

Interviewing Suki Kim

I spent most of last Saturday at Seattle University attending the Search for Meaning Book Festival. It was launched in 2009 and attracts some of the best authors in the world with books covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry and much more. KCTS 9 was a media sponsor.

It was my first time attending and I was there to moderate a conversation with author Suki Kim, who wrote the book Without You, There Is No Us.  It’s a fascinating story of her undercover experience in North Korea where she spent six months disguised as a missionary and working as an English teacher to the sons of North Korea’s elite. She found a country built on lies, with no soul and unfortunately for the young men she taught and grew to love in a motherly way, there is little hope for a future where they could actually be free to express themselves.

Sam Quinones

Sam Quinones

Author Sam Quinones was also a featured speaker. His book is DREAM LAND:  The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic is especially timely right now.  Seattle has a heroin epidemic.  King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray just announced a task force to confront the region’s challenge. Of course, it’s not just a Seattle problem, it a national epidemic that started years ago as Americans became addicted to pain pills like oxycontin. Quinones explains in detail how this epidemic began in middle America and its connection to a small Mexican town that brought in black tar heroin, a less costly drug that could meet Americans addictive needs more readily. Quinone says this is a White community problem with no easy solutions.

Suki Kim and Sam Quinones will be featured on upcoming episodes of Conversations, the KCTS 9 podcast I produce and host. I’ll send out a link as soon as they are ready.

Their work and their books are so fitting for the Search for Meaning Book Festival. There are no easy answers to the challenges in the world today. All we can do is search for some meaning and understanding that can help us cope.

Thank you to Seattle University for staging the book festival. It’s become an annual event that makes this a great city for authors and book lovers.


As we head into this Thanksgiving weekend, I am thankful that I have been able to do work that is meaningful.

In 2013, I produced the KCTS 9 documentary LATINOS: The Changing Face of Washington. It examined the history and growth of Latinos in Washington state in politics, education, entrepreneurship and immigration. Two years later, I am pleased to say the program is still relevant.

In September and October, as we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, the King County Library System held screenings of the documentary in Bellevue, Renton and White Center. It was gratifying to share the program with Latino community members and others who turned out to watch it and talk about the issues that continue to face the Latino community today. I want to thank former state representative Phyllis Gutierrez-Kenney, who was profiled in the film, for joining me at the screenings for the follow-up discussions.  My appreciation to the King County Library System’s Spanish-speaking Services Specialist Teresa Luengo Cid, and Diversity Services Coordinator  Jo Anderson Cavinta, as well as the other staff that helped to organize the screenings and discussions.

I also had the opportunity to keynote the Latino heritage celebration hosted by the King County Superior Court thanks to Judge Veronica Galvan.

On November 18th, the documentary was screened by the Highline Historical Society. They plan to use it as part of a community engagement effort to document the Latino experience in the Highline area. They will be recording oral histories with Latino families and use the information to create an exhibit that will travel to the cities of Sea- Tac, Burien and Normandy Park.


For me, this is exciting. As a producer, reporter and now in my new role as KCTS 9’s Director of Community Partnerships, my goal is to tell good stories and to build strong community relationships. The stories and the community engagements will hopefully inform, educate, motivate and inspire.  It is even more important in these tense times when  fear and ignorance are pervasive. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and if you get a chance look up the definition of humanity. We need it.


The Gang of Four

I had a great time interviewing Bob Santos and Larry Gossett for King County about the recently published book The Gang of Four. It’s the story of how Bob and Larry joined forces with Roberto Maestas and Bernie Whitebear to form a powerful multi-ethnic community coalition that brought about great change in civil rights and social justice in Seattle and Washington State. The book was written by Bob Santos and Gary Iwamoto. It’s an important read for people of all ages. Check it out.

Emmy Night 2015

A shout out to my KCTS peeps, who were honored with Emmys Saturday night at the 52nd Annual Northwest Region Emmy Awards. KCTS had a great night. The group shot says it all.

I was honored with two Emmys. One for Public Affairs Feature Segment Facing Homlessness and one for Reporter-Programming. A special thank you to photographer/editor Greg Davis for his excellent work on Facing Homelessness.  It’s a story about Seattle architect turned homeless advocate Rex Hohlbein who is changing the way we view the homeless. Here’s the story:

A huge thank you to Rex for allowing Greg and I to tell his story.

About Greg Davis: I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Greg on countless stories and six documentaries in my 20 plus years at KCTS. I can’t say enough about his shooting and editing. He’s such an artist. If you take the time to watch Facing Homelessness, you will understand what I mean. It’s a great photographer and editor that goes above and beyond in helping to craft a story. That is Greg. It’s because he cares and because he has great talent. Thank you, Mr. Davis.


My New Role At KCTS 9

Here is the station announcement about my new position at KCTS 9. I see it as a great opportunity to build the KCTS 9 presence in the community, not just in Seattle, but throughout the state.

June 1, 2015
For Immediate Release

Enrique Cerna named Director of Community Partnerships at KCTS 9

SEATTLE—KCTS 9 is pleased to announce that veteran journalist Enrique Cerna has been appointed Director of Community Partnerships for the Seattle-based public media station.

“In line with our new strategic direction, we’ve made a commitment to provide resources to facilitate community collaborations,” said Robert I. Dunlop, KCTS 9 President and CEO. “Enrique’s depth of experience in public media, combined with his deep ties in the community, make him a great fit for this newly created position.”

In this new position, Cerna will develop and cultivate community partnerships; host community engagement events; and direct a program that teaches community storytelling. Cerna will continue to produce and report stories for broadcast and digital platforms.

“I see this as a great opportunity to develop a wide range of civic partnerships,” said Enrique Cerna. “I’m especially excited about the storytelling possibilities and the opportunity to share them on multiple platforms.”

Cerna has worked in the Seattle broadcast market for 40 years. The son of Mexican immigrants, he was born and raised in the Yakima Valley. Cerna joined KCTS 9 in January, 1995. He has anchored current affairs programs, moderated statewide political debates, produced and reported stories for national PBS programs as well as local documentaries on social and juvenile justice, the environment, and Latinos in Washington state. Prior to joining KCTS 9, he worked as a reporter, producer and host at KOMO Radio and Television and KING Television.

Cerna has earned five Northwest region Emmy awards and numerous other honors. In June, 2013, he was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Chapter’s Silver Circle for his work as a television professional. He has served on the boards of United Way of King County, the World Affairs Council of Seattle, Seattle City Club and the Chief Seattle Council’s Scoutreach program. Cerna is a graduate of Washington State University.

About KCTS 9
KCTS 9 brings quality public media programming to more than 2.2 million viewers each week in Western and Central Washington State, British Columbia and across Canada. To watch or learn more about any of our programs, visit