Seattle Channel is pleased to announce General Manager Shannon Gee was inducted into the Silver Circle of the Northwest Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). Gee was honored for her 25-plus years of dedication to her profession and community during a virtual Northwest Emmy Awards ceremony on Saturday, June 6. The award recognizes Gee’s lasting contributions to the television industry, which include a succession of award-winning documentaries featuring culturally diverse community-driven content.
Awardees are chosen by a committee of past inductees and the board of the NATAS organization which honors excellence in broadcast journalism. “It’s an incredible honor to be inducted into the Silver Circle,” said Gee. “My career in television has hardly been the standard path, but I’ve been inspired and encouraged by the broadcast excellence and professionals in our region and have always worked hard to be rooted in the community.”
Born and raised in Seattle, Gee’s television career as an award-winning documentarian, producer, photographer, editor, and writer led to her 2018 appointment as general manager of Seattle Channel. At her core, Gee is a storyteller, a passion that took root in sixth grade when she wrote her first script. She feels lucky to have been able to dedicate her career to telling the stories that give people and communities a voice.
“Shannon brings a deep commitment to sharing our city’s stories and building community connections, especially important during challenging times,” said Saad Bashir, the City of Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer and director of the Seattle Information Technology Department of which Seattle Channel is a part. “I congratulate Shannon on this honor and applaud her commitment to produce informative programming with a diversity of perspectives while providing a vital public service with Seattle Channel’s transparent and accessible coverage of local government.”
Prior to joining Seattle Channel, Gee worked at KCTS 9 public television as an independent documentary filmmaker. She was part of the station’s national unit, where she worked on high-profile projects such as Greg Palmer’s American Masters documentary on the history of vaudeville. As a freelance film critic and features writer, Gee contributed to newspapers and websites, including Seattle Weekly, imdb.com, film.com, The Stranger, The Rocket, International Examiner, and The Seattle Times.
Gee joined Seattle Channel in 2005 as a contract producer, and spearheaded the launch of Community Stories. The regional and national award-winning documentary series is designed to shine a spotlight on Seattle communities with a focus on diversity and inclusion. She was also on the team that launched and produced the popular show Art Zone with Nancy Guppy.
Her award-winning documentary One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes offers a detailed account of the 1981 murders of two Filipino American labor activists. The film was awarded Best Documentary by the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon and received an audience award at the Workers Unite! Film Festival.
Gee’s 2017 NW Emmy-nominated documentary Massive Monkees: The Beacon, which chronicled the local hip-hop crew’s rise from break-dancing competitions at local community centers to world-championship stages, won a Best Short Documentary Award at the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon and a Director’s Choice Award at the Seattle Asian American Film Festival.
She produced and directed the first two NW Emmy-winning installments of An American Hero, a series that tells the stories of Nisei Vets Shiro Kashino and Frank Nishimura. Kashino was incarcerated with his family in Idaho, and Nishimura fled to Eastern Washington to avoid incarceration. Both went on to enlist in the U.S. Army and become decorated war heroes. The An American Hero series is a partnership with the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and the Seattle Nisei Veterans Committee Foundation.
As general manager of Seattle Channel, Gee has led the government-access channel through many changes. In 2018 and 2019, she led a strategic planning initiative which identified priorities and opportunities to ensure the continued relevance and success of the channel. In 2018, she led the effort to add real-time closed captioning to Seattle City Council meetings, providing digital equity and increased access to government.
“The Seattle Channel has grown remarkably since I first started here 15 years ago. We added more original programming and increased access and engagement beyond the cable television platform, and we did so with a dedication to our mission to make government accessible to the public and to help tell our city’s stories,” said Gee. “The Seattle Channel team has always aimed to make the tent bigger, and we continue to grow and think deeply about our role in the media landscape during a tough time for both local journalism and municipal services.”
Gee has fostered partnerships with several community organizations as well as other City departments. In 2017, through a collaboration with a South Seattle coalition working in the city’s Rainier Beach neighborhood, participants in the Seattle Youth Employment Program got behind the camera to produce Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth, a documentary about a community initiative to reduce violence that affects youth.
In 2019, Gee partnered with the Northwest African American Museum, Wing Luke Museum and Pratt Fine Arts Center to present Seattle On The Line, a community town hall examining the legacy of racial segregation in Seattle’s neighborhoods through a practice commonly referred to as “redlining.”
Throughout her career, Gee has received numerous awards and recognition. In 2019, she was honored with a Jewell Ryan-White Award for Cultural Diversity by the Alliance for Community Media as well as a Community Voice Award (CVA) for Leadership in Media from the International Examiner. She is the recipient of nine Northwest Regional Emmy Awards and countless Emmy nominations. She has also received multiple first-, second-, and third-place awards and honorable mentions from the National Association of Telecommunication Officers (NATOA). She serves on community advisory committees with the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association and National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Northwest Chapter.
Though her list of accomplishments and awards is long, Gee is quick to credit the mentors, colleagues, and supporters who have inspired her along the way.
“Thank you to the Northwest Chapter of NATAS and the Gold and Silver Circle Committee for recognizing the contributions of all of this year’s Circle inductees,” she said. “It’s truly a remarkable group of distinction and heart.”