Announcing JCal, AAJA’s New Program in Partnership with CalMatters

The Asian American Journalists Association is proud to announce JCal, a new program for high school students, created in partnership with CalMatters. JCal is an all-inclusive, expenses-paid journalism program that immerses high school students from across California into the state’s news ecosystem. This unique partnership will provide students with hands-on journalism experience in the CalMatters Sacramento newsroom. During the course of a six-day program, students will produce publishable stories and network with journalists and professionals from across California.

“AAJA is excited to partner with CalMatters for JCal. California is home to the largest population of AAPIs in the country. As AAPI communities continue to grow, a more nuanced and in-depth lens is needed for reporting on and framing issues that affect communities of color, and training young AAPI journalists is more crucial than ever,” said AAJA’s executive director Naomi Tacuyan Underwood. “This partnership will drive AAJA’s future in grounding work in local newsrooms, producing pieces relevant to local and regional communities, engaging our local chapters, and meeting the needs and hopes of aspiring young AAPI journalists.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with AAJA to create this opportunity for California journalism students,” said CalMatters CEO Neil Chase. “I’m amazed by the energy and passion of the next generation of journalists, and it’s a real privilege for our team to be able to coach them and help launch their careers.”

For its first year, JCal will train students to report on California’s water issues and longstanding drought. The topic was selected with the goal of encouraging young journalists to think critically about regional issues while reimagining their futures. The program will take place from June 20 to June 25, 2023.


    • Letter of Recommendation
    • Three Required Short Answer Responses 
    • Reporting Pitch
    • Work Samples (optional)
    • Introduction Video (optional)

The deadline is February 1, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. PT. Apply for JCal here


The Asian American Journalists Association is a professional membership association founded in 1981. Since its founding, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry, advocating for accurate, comprehensive and fair coverage of the AAPI community. We champion the development of AAPI representation and leadership in journalism through trainings, opportunities and resources for our members as well as through nurturing and maintaining a network and community of AAPI journalists globally. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter @AAJA


CalMatters is a nonpartisan and nonprofit news organization bringing Californians stories that probe, explain and explore solutions to quality of life issues while holding our leaders accountable. They are the only journalism outlet dedicated to covering America’s biggest state, 39 million Californians and the world’s fifth largest economy. Learn more at



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