AAJA-HQ commends journalists who have championed coverage of AAPI experiences during this period of increased anti-Asian incidents

March 16, 2021 

AAJA-HQ commends journalists who have championed coverage of AAPI experiences during this period of increased anti-Asian incidents

Contact: Naomi Tacuyan Underwood, Executive Director / naomitu@aaja.org

In February 2020, in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, we published guidance to newsrooms and media on how to cover the pandemic responsibly, in anticipation of potential association of the virus with Asian Americans that would lead to increased discrimination. 

March 2020, we and fellow associations came together in a joint statement denouncing anti-Asian racism during the outbreak that was fueled by rhetoric tying the virus to Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). We also commended our journalists who in their coverage held public officials accountable for their response to the pandemic.

Unfortunately, we saw violence against AAPI communities continue to rise over the past year with a 150 percent increase in reported hate crimes according the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, and 3,795 reports of anti-Asian discrimination to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center. There is evidence to suggest that these numbers are underestimations of the surge in violence against the AAPI community.

As reports of violence and discrimination became more prevalent, we asked for newsrooms to support journalists with resources and to provide additional coverage of anti-Asian racism, recognizing that media shapes perceptions of AAPIs and that many of our members were still struggling to convince their newsrooms that the stories were newsworthy. We also crowdsourced on social media to compile a list of coverage by our members over the month of February 2021 related to the spike in anti-Asian discrimination and hate crimes, logging more than 100 stories in local and national media outlets.

AAJA commends journalists who have championed coverage of our communities by pitching and advocating for the stories of our community to be told. We are thankful to AAPI journalists, who are often exposed to COVID-19 in order to provide news coverage, and affected by the compounding stressors of industry turmoil, life under COVID-19 and being subject to anti-Asian discrimination themselves. We are thankful that their journalism brings context and nuance to a topic that can be difficult to discuss.

Throughout the week, we’ll highlight coverage and pieces by our membership using the hashtag #AmplifyAAPIs that cover the history of anti-Asian discrimination and racism in the United States, the current hate and violence toward AAPI communities under the pandemic, data about the AAPI community, policy and community solutions, and reflections on next steps.

— Asian American Journalists Association HQ

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