Sneak Peek of AAJA’s 2015 Convention Programming

2015 is a big year for AAJA. It’s the 15th anniversary of J-Camp, our high school student mentorship program, the 20th anniversary of our Executive Leadership Program, and the 25th anniversary of Voices, our convention student newsroom for college students. It’s a chance to get back to our roots. Our annual convention is the largest gathering of Asian-American journalists in the world, and this year, our goal is to focus on topics that bring us together, to remember our mission.

With that said, we’re embracing our convention theme, “Create, Innovate and Ignite,” and offering hands-on “create” workshops, “innovate” sessions tackling journalism and diversity issues, and “ignite” talks featuring amazing individuals outside of the journalism community.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we have planned below, and let us know what you think! Send your thoughts to aajaprogrammingcommittee (at)

A special thanks to AAJA’s programming committee, Frank Bi, Natasha Chen, Shawn Chitnis, Ted Kim, Michelle Lee, Stephanie Lee, Wendy Lee, Kim Moy, Dai Sugano, Martyn Williams and Alex Wong, for their incredible efforts so far.

And don’t forget to register for early-bird before April 12th! See you all in August.


Unraveling the Narrative
The appetite for longform storytelling is as strong as ever. But the way we tell stories is changing. Longform podcasts are thriving. Narrative stories now weave in photos, videos and interactive components along with written words. That means storytellers must be agnostic, yet strategic, about the medium through which they unravel the narative. This session will explore new formats of narrative storytelling and editing, and walk through the process from the initial pitch to executing a story told on multiple platforms.

Scrape Data From the Internet and Get 10 Hours of Your Life Back
Data rarely comes delivered in perfect spreadsheets, which is why scraping data is an important skill to learn. This hands-on session will teach you basic ways to easily save and download data from any URL, without needing to spend hours (or days) copy and pasting every line. This technique is most often called “web scraping.” Laptop required.

Negotiation in the Workplace: Asking For What You Want
What do you want? How do you get it? How do you push for more? Learn how to be an assertive, smart negotiator. Using role play and proven negotiation tactics, this workshop will teach you how to successfully negotiate salaries, promotions, and careers.

Broadcasting Beyond Your Market
Veterans in TV news will cover best practices for preparing reporters to go live, how to improve your voice and handle ad-lib situations like breaking news. This session will also talk about building a strong resume reel and challenges for journalist in smaller TV markets like developing a beat and building your own graphics for air. Attendees will get instant feedback during this interactive session.


How to Tell Your Newsroom That It Might Be Racist
Ever get called by the name of that other Asian in your newsroom? Ever have one of those uncomfortable moments where you feel offended, but can’t quite figure out why? How do you navigate those moments? How do you challenge stereotypes and prejudices in a productive way without creating friction in the newsroom? Join this discussion session to brainstorm the best ways to navigate and tackle unconscious bias in the newsroom.

Numbers Versus Narrative? Sports Journalism in the Age of Moneyball
With the rise of advanced stats across sports, how much should today’s sports journalists be engaged/knowledgeable about these stats? What do numbers-based writers do when they are in the locker rooms/practice fields? Join us for a discussion with our panelists.

Innovating from the Inside
Newsrooms are evolving, but we’re still the news business. Traditionally print positions — like copy editors and page designers — are being transitioned into digital roles. How can we reimagine traditionally print roles for emerging, digitally-focused demands? How can you leverage your experience to position yourself to be a key player in your newsroom, regardless of new platforms?

The New New Media: Running and Working for Journalism Startups
Online journalism startups like BuzzFeed, Vox, and Vice are raising millions of dollars, attracting millions of eyeballs and hiring like crazy. It’s a golden age in journalism, or so it would seem. But what’s it like on the inside? Hear from editors and reporters about the risks and rewards of traditional versus new media. They’ll discuss how they’re reaching new audiences online, building teams and coverage from scratch, adapting to business models that didn’t exist 10 years ago, and in some cases completely reinventing how news is presented. Finally, they’ll share their thoughts on where the industry is heading — and how diversity fits into that future.

Using Twichatgrams+ to Tell Your Story
Everyone needs to be fluent with social media nowadays. How can you use social media apps to tell stories? How can you effectively increase engagement? What are the secrets to developing a brand and presence through social media?

Breaking into Journalism Abroad 
Do you have dreams of being a foreign correspondent? Do you aspire to travel around the world reporting from conflict zones? Attend this panel to learn how to launch a career working abroad. Panelists will discuss opportunities for journalists in local news to find opportunities to work internationally as well as talk about how you can move from a domestic job to one based overseas.

Speed Networking
We all do it. We all suck at it. We all can use some tips to get better at it. It’s called networking — which brings together everything that makes us all self-conscious. This interactive session will create a safe space where a coach will help you improve your networking game.

Preserving the Past Through Photojournalism
When The Sacramento Bee photojournalist Paul Kitagaki, Jr found images of his family taken by iconic American photographer Dorothea Lange in 1942 as they waited for a bus in Oakland, CA. to begin their journey into detention, that began a 10-year quest to find and photograph the aging survivors of the internment of Japanese Americans. The traveling exhibit “Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit” mirrors historic images of Japanese Americans taken in 1942 by War Relocation Authority staff including Lange and Tom Parker with Kitagaki’s contemporary photographs of the same individuals. Paul and Stan Honda, who also documented former Japanese American internment camps, will exhibit and talk about their work

Covering Protests: How to Stay Safe While Being On The Front Lines
A panel of reporters, videographers, photojournalists and editors who have covered major protests and rallies share their knowledge on how to cover protests like the ones in Ferguson, Oakland and New York . They give tips and advice and discuss how to cover these events safely and effectively for all journalists.