For over a year, AAJA has been coalescing around the strategic priorities that will guide our mission over the next few years and beyond. The process started in September 2020, crafted by the 2020-2021 Board of Directors with input from trusted AAJA partner Julie Ha Truong, chapter and affinity group leaders, the Advisory Board, and longtime AAJA members. After fine-tuning and reflecting on its start, we opened up an all-member meeting in June 2021 to garner ideas and feedback from our AAJA community.
We are proud to finally present our strategic priorities to the public at the start of what will surely be another challenging yet rewarding year, made momentous by the power of community, tenacity and, of course, storytelling. We are so grateful for everyone who contributed to this vision, from stakeholders to founders to lifetime members to newcomers. We hope that the collaborative spirit and sheer brainpower put into solidifying this plan is as inspiring to you as it is to us.
Though this doesn’t encapsulate the fine details and multitude of projects our HQ staff works on day-to-day, these are the values that will shape our work and influence the trajectory of AAJA going forward.
See our Three-Year Strategic Priorities below.
As we look toward AAJA’s 50th anniversary in 2031, we want AAJA and AAPIs to be seen and heard even more. We will define the gold standards of diversity and inclusion in journalism, especially as it relates to representation of the AAPI community. We will be an indispensable leader in the industry, through digital innovation and an influential global network. We will be a leader in determining best practices on inclusive hiring and coverage. AAJA members will hold key leadership roles in transforming the media landscape.
1. PROGRAM IMPACT AND PIPELINE
Goal: Provide year-round programs and life-long pipeline, with a focus on innovation.
AAJA can’t be everything for everyone, but we commit to being of value for our members at every point in their career. AAJA will work to increase our impact on our members’ professional development through year-round programming and trainings, an emphasis on digital innovation, strategic and empathetic support when our members need us the most, thought leadership development and community-building and networking opportunities.
Strategy 1: Supportive programs
Many members need AAJA the most at times of career transition, uncertainty and instability. As such, we will more intentionally create safety nets and resources. This includes mentorship and career coaching, scholarships, support for career transitions, and programming for our more experienced members.
- Ensure programs anticipate and adapt to changing industry and journalism profession needs (i.e., digital innovation, mental health, parenting).
- Provide mentorship and coaching opportunities for all career stages, from student to veteran.
- Create programming to support members during job searches, layoffs and furloughs, and moving into journalism-adjacent or storytelling careers.
Potential benchmark for success: Increased satisfaction in membership surveys across all career levels
Strategy 2: Follow-up and continuity
AAJA will provide year-round, life-long programming and support. When an individual participates in a program, attends a convention or joins a chapter or affinity group, that will be their first of many subsequent interactions with AAJA. We will solicit regular feedback and help demystify how they can get the most out of their involvement with AAJA.
- Communicate clearly to members about how AAJA can be a resource at career inflection points.
- Increase communication to help deepen relationships among program alumni and cohorts. Conduct more pre- and post-program surveys, and incorporate feedback to improve and inform programs.
Potential benchmark for success: Increased longevity of membership across all demographics
2. MEMBER AND ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT
GOAL: Build a strong community for all.
Through coordinated national, chapter and affinity group efforts, AAJA will foster a strong sense of community and connection throughout our membership and with stakeholders who support our mission.
Strategy 1: Community building and inclusion
AAJA will be inclusive of journalists in all stages of their career, through increased communication, regular efforts to bring together members with shared interests and goals, and constant analysis of our membership and their needs.
- Create a shared calendar of year-round professional and social events, including live, online, and hybrid events.
- Provide clear messaging on benefits of AAJA membership. Support new members with tools like welcome packet, orientation and an AAJA buddy.
- Cultivate supporters who believe in AAJA’s mission but may not immediately recognize themselves as potential members (allies, non-journalism organizations, etc.).
Potential benchmarks for success: Increased new members and renewals; increased engagement with AAJA member communication opportunities (social media, newsletter submissions, etc.); increased attendance at events
Strategy 2: Support chapters and affinity groups
AAJA will cultivate a collective self-awareness that we are a powerful, cohesive unit. We will provide opportunities for members to engage with their chapters and affinity groups online and offline, and foster cross-collaboration and more communication to share best practices and resources.
- AAJA HQ acts as clearing house and facilitator for collaborations with and across chapters and affinity groups, providing technical support, increased communication and templates for event planning, logistics and marketing.
- AAJA HQ provides leadership trainings and communication channels for all volunteer leaders so they have the tools to succeed.
Potential benchmarks for success: Increased partnership offerings and collaborations across chapters and affinity groups; increased trainings and communication across leadership teams throughout AAJA
Strategy 3: Engage continuously with our members
Data is key. AAJA will establish feedback mechanisms through relevant programming. We will regularly collect and analyze data to adapt quickly and better serve and advocate for our evolving membership and their needs.
- Incorporate clear metrics and data analyses for all AAJA initiatives and programs, locally and nationally.
- Leverage virtual platforms (events, newsletters, check-in emails, etc.) and provide exclusive AAJA member benefits to incentivize engagement.
Potential benchmarks for success: An established feedback system for AAJA programs and AAJA overall, enabling each member to know how to give feedback and feel heard.
3. POLICY & ADVOCACY
GOAL: Help journalists and newsrooms break down long-standing barriers for journalists and communities of color.
AAJA will advocate for changes that will rectify the policies, standards and practices that have long mistreated and left behind journalists from marginalized communities. We commit to challenging the industry’s status quo and inertia to ensure a more equitable and accountable industry. While still being rooted in journalistic principles, AAJA will support policies that ensure that journalists of all backgrounds can do their jobs without fear of retribution, have a clear path to top leadership posts, and see their communities accurately and thoughtfully reflected in news coverage.
AAJA will work to increase our visibility and influence by fighting for and empowering AAPI journalists and storytellers, and the communities who have been chronically underrepresented in media. AAJA will be a leading voice and resource — both publicly and behind the scenes — in changing the culture of our industry.
Strategy 1: Exercise our voice
We commit to pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone in pursuit of our north star: helping journalists and newsrooms break down long-standing barriers for journalists and communities of color. We will continuously adapt our policy voice to fit the evolving needs of our journalists and our society.
- Determine focus areas (e.g., Media Watch, solidarity journalism, global press freedom, objectivity in journalism). Develop rapid-response and decision-making capacity within staff as well as protocols and tools for local and national leaders.
- Articulate AAJA stances clearly and publicly. Regularly solicit and incorporate feedback from members.
Potential benchmarks for success: Established AAJA policy priorities, guiding principles, and rapid-response guidelines used locally and nationally.
Strategy 2: Grow louder
We will not be shy about advocating for our values. We will be at the front and center of making sure that we grow louder in our pursuit of true diversity, representation, equity and inclusion in news.
- Increase public awareness of AAJA as a resource for AAPI communities. Upgrade AAJA Studio to become an indispensable tool for newsrooms.
- Stand in solidarity with other minority journalism organizations and ethnic media, amplifying their statements, programs and journalists.
- Publish original reports or amplify resources from allies to advocate for greater DEI and provide recommendations (i.e., audit of AAPI stories at news organizations or pay equity for journalists of color).
Potential benchmarks for success: Increased use of AAJA Studio by media companies; increased collaborations with other minority journalism organizations and other AAPI organizations
4. INFLUENCE & THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
GOAL: Lead the industry toward greater equity, diversity and inclusion.
AAJA will be a leader who pushes the journalism industry toward creating newsrooms and workplaces that are inclusive, equitable, and diverse. AAJA will help ensure that AAPI journalists are at the helm of industry-wide change, ascending to top leadership roles or establishing their own entrepreneurial initiatives. We will leverage our members and allies and coordinate closely with partners to hold the media accountable to measurable DEI outcomes.
Strategy 1: Elevate AAPIs to key roles in transforming the journalism industry
AAJA will help train and elevate AAPIs to the highest levels of media organizations, and support journalists and storytellers as they build their own initiatives that will transform the industry.
- Collect and distribute data on AAPIs in news leadership.
- Provide and facilitate resource-sharing for current and aspiring newsroom leaders in our membership who are advocating for more equitable newsrooms.
- Expand the Executive Leadership Program & Catalyst
Potential benchmarks for success: Increased number of AAPIs in industry leadership; expanding list of AAJA members prepared to rise to leadership.
Strategy 2: Exercise our influence
AAJA will be more vocal on setting the bar high for media coverage, identifying and responding to moments that can push the country into better understanding communities of color and the diversity in the Asian diaspora.
- Advocate for newsroom policies that hold organizations on all platforms accountable for lack of diversity on staff and in coverage. Get newsrooms on the record, and track what they do versus promise to do.
- Be a resource, provide guidelines and best practices for diversity in hiring. Communicate to members about our work as much as possible.
Potential benchmarks for success: Increased examples of comprehensive coverage of AAPIs and communities of color, especially ones where AAJA was involved behind the scenes or in public.
Strategy 3: Allyship and collaboration
AAJA will work with our allies, community leaders, partners and other organizations to uplift AAPI stories and amplify issues pertaining to AAPI communities and other communities of color.
- Be a convener. Look for and act on opportunities to connect the dots and bring communities and organizations together for shared DEI goals.
- Be a presence, partner and resource for AAPI community leaders in our cities.
- Support other journalists of color and show up always, not just in times of crises. Establish allyships early by connecting with J-schools and other organizations serving young and aspiring journalists.
Potential benchmarks for success: Increased partnerships, events and communication channels that lead to greater understanding of issues AAPI and other communities of color face.
Strategy 4: Empower members
AAJA will equip all members to become change agents for greater equity in the industry. AAJA will provide a safe outlet for all who want to consult about inequity in the workplace, both rank-and-file employees facing discrimination and managers who seek to create more equitable newsrooms.
- Train members on how to advocate for themselves as journalists and people of color. Provide talking points, resources and social kits for members at all levels in the newsroom. Facilitate member sharing of best practices.
- Host regular leadership trainings with theory of change frameworks. Provide targeted programs such as an executive coaching program, CEO and top leadership mentoring program, ELP 3.0 for mid-career journalists.
Potential benchmarks for success: Increased information-sharing and coordination among AAJA members involved in DEI initiatives at a wide range of companies, media platforms and geographic areas.