AAJA Adopts Bylaw Changes for Restructure

It has been an exciting and productive year for the Asian American Journalists Association’s governance restructure plan. On December 6, 2014, the AAJA governing board adopted bylaw changes to reflect the restructure plan approved in August.

Restructuring AAJA’s governing board is transformative, but necessary. The new structure allows AAJA to carry out its mission while adapting to the changes in the journalism industry. Two important changes were made in order to accomplish this:

1) vocations were removed from vice president titles, and 2) a process for affinity groups has been created.


The new executive office structure:

  • President
  • Senior Vice President
  • Vice President of Journalism Programs
  • Vice President of Civic Engagement
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary

In addition to those six positions, the governing board now has five non-officer members:

  • At Large Representative (2)
  • Small/Medium Chapter Representative (2)
  • Large Chapter Representative

The officers’ new job responsibilities are directly tied to our mission:

Senior Vice President

  • This officer oversees directors of platforms and affinity groups, to ensure direct representation of members. The officer’s duties include identifying and pursuing opportunities for chapter development. The Senior Vice President serves as acting president in the event the President is unable to fulfill his or her duties.

Vice President of Journalism Programs

  • This officer is dedicated to fulfilling the following two tenets of AAJA’s mission, as well as making sure AAJA’s professional training and support stays ahead of the industry’s changes.
    • 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.

Vice President of Civic Engagement

  • This officer is dedicated to fulfilling the following two tenets of AAJA’s mission, as well as providing outreach to AAPI communities and leading AAJA’s media awareness efforts.
    • To provide to the AAPI community an awareness of the 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.

To complement the change to the executive office, AAJA has adopted a process to formalize affinity groups that have been created informally in recent years. These groups – i.e., Small Market Broadcast Journalists, Photojournalists, Sports Task Force, Freelancers – help members network based on their interest and vocation. The affinity groups will report to the Senior Vice President, who will be elected in summer 2015. This formalized process allows interest groups to form and dissolve as the industry evolves, and ensures our programming, networking opportunities and training meet our members’ unique needs.

We will begin the affinity group application process in the spring, and will send more details in the coming weeks. The updated AAJA bylaws are now posted to AAJA’s bylaws page. Minutes from the governing board meeting will be posted on the website by early February 2015. The affinity groups will temporarily report to the current vice presidents, and will transition to the Senior Vice President’s purview when he or she takes office in January 2016.

Thank you for your feedback and support through this process. If you have any questions, please contact National Secretary Michelle Lee at myhlee5@gmail.com.