AAJA 2013 Mid-Year Report

2013 JCamp students at 'Face The Nation' with Bob Schieffer

2013 JCamp students at ‘Face The Nation’ with Bob Schieffer

AAJA Nation

It has been a busy first half of the year for the AAJA board, and I want to update you on what’s been happening as we gear up for the national convention from Aug. 21-24 in New York City.. Hope to see you all there!


At a glance: AAJA has 1,454 members as of July 1st:

  • Full members: 777 / Gold Full: 145 / Platinum Full : 19
  • Associate 130 / Gold Associate: 14
  • Others: 14 Retired / 6 Lifetime / 350 Student

A special thanks to our Platinum and Gold members for their additional support of AAJA.


AAJA-DC chapter has submitted a formal national convention bid for 2014.


  • Career Center – At this year’s convention, AAJA and News Corp are helping to connect job-seeking convention-goers with top national and global media companies through Recruiter Plus, a new, convention-exclusive career service. Recruiter Plus gives convention attendees an advantage over other job seekers by connecting qualified candidates with up to three companies of their choice before or during the Convention Career Fair & Expo. The eleven participating companies include Gannett, The New York Times, The E.W. Scripps Company and many more.
  • Kellogg Foundation – AAJA was awarded $100,000 from the Kellogg Foundation. The Kellogg Foundation will be holding an invite-only luncheon for AAJA leadership to discuss structural racism and the unconscious bias in media. The second half of the grant will be to facilitate 6 media access workshops with AAJA chapters. The Media Access workshops will have three components
    1. Media Literacy
    2. Media Access
    3. How to write Op-Eds. AAJA national will work directly with the six selected AAJA chapters to facilitate these workshops.


Committees are composed of national board representatives and chapter presidents

Marketing & Communications

  • AAJA is developing a cohesive social media strategy that is both responsive and connected to our members. Our Facebook presence includes an official AAJA fan page and an open discussion group. These are the only two Facebook sites affiliated with AAJA National. To get the latest and most up-to-date official announcements, please “like” us on the official AAJA fan page.
  • The AAJA Facebook group is an open discussion group for members and non-members. The board and national office does not censor or edit posts, nor is it obligated to respond to posts or comments. To communicate with AAJA National, please use the fan page.
  • Perhaps you saw our tweets during AAPI Heritage month, when we had a fact a day about #APAMedia. We also provided supplemental social media support for the AAPI Heritage Month photojournalist feature project. Stay tuned to our AAJA Facebook Fan page for more information about the convention — and during the convention, use #AAJA13 to stay in touch via Twitter!
  • The national office has also hired its first-ever social media intern, Audrey Cheng, a Northwestern University undergraduate student. Audrey works with the national staff to help manage the national office’s social media presence and is supervised by National VP of Broadcast Niala Boodhoo, the Marketing and Communications Committee Co-Chair. She’ll also be working to help promote social media communication during the convention.


  • A national office reorganization plan has been submitted to the personnel committee. This is being reviewed and will then be forwarded to the governing board. The plan includes a reorganization of positions and an outline of needed staffing areas to ensure that AAJA is fully staffed and prepared to handle future projects.


  • We are reviewing gold and platinum benefits to try to encourage more members to upgrade to those premium membership levels. Our goal is to have something approved in time for the opening of the 2014 membership year on Oct. 1.
  • The membership committee is also planning to launch a subcommittee on associate members as well as full members who have gone into PR and what AAJA can do to retain them and tap their expertise.


  • The Finance Committee has been focused since the Spring board meeting on addressing the ongoing issue of chapter audits and accounting. There is a proposal that would allow some chapters to transfer accounting responsibilities to the national organization in order to ease the burden on their treasurers. We are also examining ways to improve the process through which chapters submit their books and receipts. We are also planning to discuss the impact of the upcoming reorganization on AAJA’s long-term financial planning.
  • Between now and the Summer board meeting the finance committee will convene conference calls to discuss the finalization of the task force to create recommendations for investing the endowment. The plan is to have the finance committee work with interested parties and outside experts to create a set of guidelines that will be used when selecting a new portfolio manager for the endowment and instructing them how to manage AAJA’s funds. We will also be suggesting some sort of annual review process to ensure the endowment is being adequately overseen.


  • The programming committee’s latest project was organizing a media campaign for this year’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month. Nicole Dunga, Maria Sandoval and Yvonne Leow produced ten AAJA photographer profiles that were featured every week on AAJA.org, and Maria Ebrahimji, Carolyn Chin, Jacqueline Howard, and Delane Cleveland curated 35 original tweets about AAPI trivia that were released throughout the month of May.
  • The committee is deliberating its next endeavor. One idea that has been presented is forming informal member alliance groups in the model of AAJA’s small market broadcaster’s group. Details to come.


  • Mentorship Program – Randall Yip and Joe Grimm are revamping AAJA’s mentor program to expand it and track and measure results. They had a soft launch in April, and are planning a panel and speed-mentoring session at the national convention. A flood of requests for mentors is expected after the N.Y. convention, so more volunteers are needed. For more information, check out the new mentor program page on the AAJA website.
  • MediaWatch – MediaWatch has had another eventful year, issuing a slew of advisories and admonitions in recent months. The days following the crash of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco were especially busy, as our team took on a Chicago Sun-Times headline, cultural reasons for the accident, and an egregious gaffe by Oakland, Calif., television station KTVU that mocked Asian names. The aggressive handling of the incident helped boost the program’s visibility. MediaWatch Chair Bobby Caina Calvan, who recently retook the reins from Jam Sardar, has begun setting up a committee to serve as the eyes, ears and voice of the program. He is in the midst of recruiting a co-chair to help guide MediaWatch. Jam and Bobby, in partnership and in solo stints, have directed MediaWatch for the past five years. We thank Jam for all his work on behalf of MediaWatch and AAJA.
  • ELP – This year’s program will welcome close to 30 journalists from all mediums to help them focus their goals and develop the necessary skills to achieve them. Sessions will include training in leadership, communication, cultural values in the workplace, and negotiation. There will also be industry-leading guest speakers and opportunities to build a support network in an intimate setting. We look forward to working with the ELP Class of 2013 starting on August 20.
  • VOICES – Now into its 23rd year, Voices is on its third generation of students — that is professionals who have been taught by an alum who was also taught by an alum. The program trains students and young journalists in multimedia and leadership. Both the students and the professional staff learn to write and edit in print, audio and video — producing issues in print and online. The majority of these students and staff go onto writing and editing, at such media as The Wall Street Journal and ESPN. This year we have students who have worked everywhere from Kenya to Japan, with internships from the BBC to ONA. Our goal this year is not only to train the next crop of journalists, but also to raise enough money to sustain this program. We are launching a campaign to solicit both alumni who have benefited from the program and aspiring business students who can help us take the program to the next level.
  • JCamp – JCamp 2013 was held at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., from June 21-26. Forty students from across the country had experiences they may never forget: A chance to visit with Bob Schieffer in the “Face the Nation” studio, hearing from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, an emotional talk with Joie Chen about diversity, a heart-to-heart with PBS’s Gwen Ifill and NPR’s Michele Norris (who both tweeted afterwards that they are committed to JCamp from here on out), a visit to the Newseum, a chance to hear from Washington Post ME Kevin Merida and so much more. And then there was the reaction of ASNE, our partner for the closing reception. More than 50 members of the organization got a chance to mingle with our students at the Capital Hilton. In his wrap-up letter to members, ASNE executive director Arnie Robbins included the following statement among his convention’s highlights: “We were blown away by the high school students we met at the JCamp reception. They peppered us with questions; handed out business cards; and, all in all, left us hopeful and inspired about the future of journalism.” 2013 was also special for the addition of two new faculty members. AAJA board member Bobby Calvan brought his passion for young people to the classroom and beyond. Arelis Hernandez from the Orlando Sentinel also did a tremendous job — and represents a landmark moment in the program’s history. She is a 2004 graduate of JCamp. Her addition to the staff is part of our ongoing process to make JCamp part of a “big picture” outlook, one in which JCamp doesn’t end when the students step out the door. In fact, four other former graduates joined us at the reception, including Aimee Anne, a 2011 graduate who just landed an internship that will have her at NBC”s Washington affiliate for the next four summers.


  • Due to concerns raised by other alliance partners on UNITY’s operational and financial structure, UNITY has formed three board committees to reexamine the mission, board and organization structure and convention model. AAJA representatives are working closely and engaging with all our alliance partners to reach a solution that is agreeable to everyone.

Paul Cheung, President, AAJA