The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational and professional organization with more than 1,600 members across the United States and Asia. Since its founding, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry.
Our mission is four-fold:
- To provide a means of association and support among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) journalists, and to advance AAPI journalists as news managers and media executives.
- To provide encouragement, information, advice and scholarship assistance to AAPI students who aspire to professional journalism careers.
- To provide to the AAPI community an awareness of news media and an understanding of how to gain fair access.
- To research and point out when news media organizations stray from accuracy and fairness in the coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and AAPI issues.
AAJA was founded in 1981 by a small group of AAPI journalists who felt a need to support one another and to encourage more Asian American and Pacific Islanders to pursue journalism at a time when there were few AAPI faces in the media. AAJA owes its founding to the vision of this small group of Los Angeles journalists, Tritia Toyota and Frank Kwan of KNBC-TV News; Bill Sing, Nancy Yoshihara and David Kishiyama of the Los Angeles Times; and Dwight Chuman of Rafu Shimpo, a local Japanese American newspaper. AAJA’s expansion into a truly national organization took off in 1985 with the formation of additional chapters.
As a nonprofit educational organization with more than 1,600 members in 21 chapters across the U.S. and Asia, AAJA’s largest membership bases are generally concentrated in large metropolitan areas on the West Coast (Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle), East Coast (New York City and Washington, D.C.) and Midwest (Chicago.) Members are also organized in other areas throughout the U.S. (Arizona, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Florida, Hawai’i, Michigan, Minnesota, New England, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento, Texas and San Diego).
In addition, AAJA has a growing number of members working throughout Asia — in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, the Philippines and Bangladesh — which underscores the rapid growth of media properties in Asia and points the way to future expansion of the organization.
Close to one-third of AAJA’s members are students, attesting to the organization’s emphasis on bringing young people into the news business.
AAJA is proud to include among its members some of the top journalists in the country, from network news anchors and reporters to Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, editors and photographers, to national radio show producers and major magazine editors.
AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists along with the Native American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.