“The Living Textbook” Dispels Stereotypes About Arab Americans

AAJA’s The Living Textbook is an Executive Leadership Program Media Demonstration Project launched in 2010, amplifying the voices of young Arab Americans in the Detroit, Mich. area.

Under the guidance of the project’s Co-Directors   Emilia Askari and Joe Grimm and Unis Middle School Seventh Grade Social Studies Teacher April Kincaid, the students are immersed in journalism writing, photography, video and audio projects.  Learning is enhanced by professional journalists who volunteer by speaking about their experiences reporting in places such as the Middle East or assisting the students’ in developing their new journalism skills.

Using their newfound skills, the Dearborn students vividly describe their experiences and explore their opinions on issues from identity and discrimination to bullying and sports, giving visitors to The Living Textbook a window into how they see the world.




The Living Textbook ELP Demonstration Project is made possible through the generosity of the Ford Foundation.

About The Living Textbook’s Co-Directors

Emilia Askari is a journalist with a master’s degree from the University of Michigan School of Information and the mother of two children. Askari has about 20 years experience as a reporter, previously working for newspapers such as the Detroit Free Press and the Miami Herald.  Over the course of her career she’s received more than 20 prizes and fellowships, most recently in 2010 from the Radio and Television Digital News Association.  She has been a member of AAJA since 1999 and has previously served as the Michigan Chapter’s Treasurer.


Joe Grimm is a visiting editor-in-residence at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism.  He previously worked at the Detroit Free Press for 25 years and was its newsroom recruiter from 1990 until 2008.  In 1993 he established the annual “Spirit of Diversity” job fair in Detroit and in 1997 launched the JobsPage, a journalism careers site.  Grimm also created “100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans” in 2000. He posted it Sept. 12, 2001.  He is the author of the widely read column “Ask the Recruiter” for the Poynter Institute.  He has been a member of AAJA since 1990 and helped create its Michigan Chapter.