RFA brand 歪脑 | WHYNOT’s report on Chinese propaganda films wins at AAJA Awards RFA brand 歪脑 | WHYNOT claims two wins at AAJA Awards.
Photo: RFA

RFA brand 歪脑 | WHYNOT’s report on Chinese propaganda films wins at AAJA Awards


The team’s documentary series on Chinese cuisine in America also honored

WASHINGTON—Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) digital brand 歪脑 | WHYNOT was named a winner of two awards at this year’s Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) award competition. Its special report “What Do 355 Chinese and Foreign War Films Tell Us,” which examines Chinese war films’ struggles at the international box office, won an Excellence in Online/Digital Journalism—Data Award, while its documentary series “The Melting Wok,” which explores Chinese-American cuisine and culture in America, won an Excellence in Arts & Culture/Entertainment Reporting Award. Marking Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the AAJA awards amplify greater AAPI representation and inclusion in the media industry.

“Congratulations to the 歪脑 | WHYNOT team for this recognition,” said RFA Acting Executive Editor Mat Pennington. “These winning projects not only speak to their engaging storytelling, but also their painstaking research to provide a unique, thoughtful examination of Chinese culture.”  

In “What Do 355 Chinese and Foreign War Films Tell Us,” the 歪脑 | WHYNOT team watched and analyzed Chinese and foreign war films released between 2010 and 2022 that focus on modern warfare since the 20th century. In their research, the team found that Chinese war films not only promote China’s prestige, but also shape the Chinese public’s perception of war. Despite being well-funded and steadily released, the films struggle to connect with international audiences.

In 歪脑 | WHYNOT’s four-episode miniseries, “The Melting Wok,” which is hosted by food influencer Tzu-i Chuang Mullinax, the team traveled to seven cities across America including New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles to visit Chinese communities, explore the popularity behind Chinese food in the U.S., and discover what “authentic” Chinese food means and how Chinese cuisine tells the story of America’s Chinese diaspora.

Founded in 1987, the AAJA Awards recognize excellence in journalism among its members, with the aim of highlighting AAPI  journalists and nonfiction storytellers. Based in San Francisco, the AAJA is a nonprofit educational and professional organization with more than 1,600 members across the United States and Asia.