NEW YORK, May 1, 2014 - Following a screening of his film Documented, which recounts his arrival in the U.S. from the Philippines as a child and subsequent awakening as an immigration reform activist, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas discusses issues raised by the film with Asia Society's Tom Nagorski and the audience. Introduction by MTV President Stephen Friedman. (36 min., 14 sec.)
Stephen K. Friedman is President of MTV, the world's premier youth entertainment brand. Under his leadership, MTV has more top-rated cable series for young viewers than any other network - including "Catfish: The TV Show," "Teen Wolf," "Awkward" and "Girl Code" - and is the #1 full-day, ad-supported cable network for young adults. Additionally, Mr. Friedman heads up LOGO, the leading ad-supported entertainment network for gays, their families and friends.
Mr. Friedman has led the charge to transform MTV into the cultural home of the millennial generation, spearheading a continuous reinvention of the brand and new programming strategy. He is responsible for MTV and all its screens, including sister-network MTV2, digital networks mtvU, MTV Hits and MTV Jams, as well as MTV.com and the MTV app. MTV is regularly recognized as the most social network and youth brand with more than 160 million fans and currently ranks as the #1 media brand on Instagram.
Moreover, Mr. Friedman has continued the network's strong commitment to pro-social initiatives. The Peabody Award-winning "It's Your (Sex) Life" campaign has been credited with helping to increase STD testing nationally, and experts at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy have cited the groundbreaking docu-series "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom" as one of the factors contributing to the steep decline in teen birth rates.
Prior to being named to his current role in 2008, Mr. Friedman was the General Manager of mtvU, MTV's channel dedicated to college students, which he started in 2004. Under Mr. Friedman's leadership, the network's distribution grew more than 70% and advertisers quintupled. During his tenure, mtvU started the Emmy-nominated "Stand In," a series that surprises students by bringing cultural icons they're studying into class to guest-teach for a day. Past "Stand In's" have included Nobel Laureates Elie Wiesel and Shimon Peres, Madonna, Senator John McCain and Kanye West, among others. Mr. Friedman launched mtvU's Sudan Campaign to fight the genocide in Darfur, which was honored with two Emmy awards, including the 2006 Governor's Award - the highest honor bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. mtvU also created the Half of Us campaign under Mr. Friedman's guidance to raise awareness and provide resources around mental health issues on college campuses. The campaign was honored with a George Foster Peabody Award.
Mr. Friedman joined MTV in 1998 when he was hired to found MTV's department of Strategic Partnerships and Public Affairs with the charge of "using MTV's superpowers for good." In this role Mr. Friedman created the Emmy Award-winning Fight For Your Rights (FFYR) campaigns and managed the Choose or Lose campaign. MTV's FFYR campaigns garnered three Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award.
Before joining MTV, Mr. Friedman served as a Director for the PEN American Center (the international writers' human rights organization). He currently serves on the Advisory Board of Hollywood, Health and Society (partnering entertainment, education and the CDC) and holds a B.A. with Honors from Wesleyan University.
Tom Nagorski became Executive Vice President of the Asia Society following a three-decade career in journalism — having served most recently as Managing Editor for International Coverage at ABC News. Before that he was Foreign Editor for World News Tonight, and a reporter and producer based in Russia, Germany and Thailand. Nagorski was the recipient of eight Emmy awards and the Dupont Award for excellence in international coverage, as well as a fellowship from the Henry Luce Foundation. He has written for several publications and is the author of Miracles on the Water: The Heroic Survivors of a World War II U-Boat Attack.
Jose Antonio Vargas
Jose Antonio Vargas is a journalist who was part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that covered the Virginia Tech shootings for the Washington Post. Last year, he wrote a Sidney Award-winning essay for the New York Times Magazine revealing his undocumented status, and subsequently founded Define American, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to elevating the conversation surrounding immigration in the United States.
Photo Credit: Gerry Salva Cruz