Asian American Journalists Association Announces 2024 Awards Recipients

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is proud to announce the recipients of its 2024 Journalism Excellence Awards, recognizing excellence in journalism by Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists.

Excellence in Written Reporting, News

Jeong Park, Anh Do, Debbie Truong, Cindy Chang and team, Monterey Park Shooting series (1/2/3), Los Angeles Times

This series on the Monterey Park mass shooting and its aftermath brought attention to rarely discussed issues in the Asian American community, such as isolation and loneliness among elders and the rise in gun ownership. With an intimate understanding of the community, the reporters included often unheard perspectives in their inspired storytelling. More

Excellence in Written Reporting, Features

Ligaya Mishan, Saving Chinatown, While Also Making It Their Own, The New York Times 

This deeply reported think piece tells the story of gentrification and change in Manhattan’s Chinatown from the perspective of over two dozen Asian American neighborhood stakeholders. With nuanced, colorful storytelling and lengthy historical context, the story explores how they are trying to protect and remake Chinatown amid unprecedented violence and encroachment. More

Excellence in Photojournalism, Single Photo

Laurel Chor, Yehor, SOPA Images 

Amidst the broad strokes of geopolitics and military spending that often characterize coverage of the war in Ukraine, this photograph offers a rare humanizing look at an individual fighting the war, with a simple yet powerful portrait of a soldier in a tank, his eyes telling a story. More

Excellence in Photojournalism, Photo Story

Laurel Chor, Kyiv Drag Queens, Huffington Post

This photo story captures drag queens in a Kyiv underground club defying war with glittering resilience, their performances a silent protest providing a haven from grim reality. It weaves together the story of Arthur Ozerov, aka Aura, who volunteered for the military administration when Russia invaded and whose journey symbolizes a societal shift towards LGBT acceptance in Ukraine. More than a drag show, the photo story powerfully illustrates art as resistance and the spirit of a community. More

Excellence in Video Storytelling, Long-form & Programs

Zhaoyin Feng and team, The pig butchering romance scam, BBC 

The BBC takes viewers inside a scam compound in Cambodia, where people from around the world are locked up, beaten, starved, and forced to work as online scammers. The documentary tells the story of Didi, a trafficked victim who secretly filmed his experience and escape, and features interviews with scam victims and a former scam boss. Published in multiple languages and formats, the documentary broke through censorship in China, sparked widespread discussion, and prompted crackdowns on scam compounds in Cambodia. More

Excellence in Video Storytelling, Short-Form or Social

Aliya Karim, Jasmine Amjad and team, How Palestinian Food, Identity, and Heritage Is Targeted, NowThis

Summary: This film offers a unique perspective on Palestinian identity and culture through the lens of food. Amid a heavy news cycle involving bombings and limited access to water in Gaza, the filmmakers found food content creators on social media discussing the generations of recipes and stories passed down proudly as part of their Palestinian heritage. More

Excellence in Audio Storytelling, Long-form

Jacklyn Kim, Exposed: Cover-Up at Columbia University, Wondery & ProPublica 

Summary: This six-part podcast investigation, from Wondery in partnership with ProPublica, reveals how Columbia University covered up the sexual abuse of patients for decades under the care of OB-GYN Robert Hadden. The story unfolds through the voices of the survivors, detailing their experiences. The podcast led Columbia to commission an independent investigation, apologize, and set up a settlement fund. More

Excellence in Audio Storytelling, News Feature

Heidi Chang, Edith Kanaka’ole is the first Hawaiian woman to grace a U.S. quarter, NPR

Summary: This story tells the inspiring journey of Edith Kanakaʻole, a Hawaiian cultural icon, teacher and composer, who became the first Native Hawaiian woman to be featured on a U.S. quarter as part of the American Women Quarters Program. Known as Aunty Edith, she played a central role in preserving Hawaiian language, hula and chant after the islands lost their independence. More

Excellence in Online/Digital Journalism – Engagement

Lam Thuy Vo and team, Languages of Misinformation, The Markup 

This series on the impact of misinformation in the Vietnamese community engaged its audience by identifying information needs, partnering with a grandmother YouTuber to combat misinformation, and providing a guide for younger Vietnamese Americans to communicate with their parents. The multi-layered approach to connecting with the audience, which resonated beyond the Vietnamese community, sets the work apart. More

Excellence in Online/Digital Journalism – Data

Regina Li, Alex Zhang and team What Do 355 Chinese and Foreign War Films Tell Us? 歪脑|WHYNOT

Summary: This comprehensive content analysis of 355 modern warfare movies from 2010-2022 investigates why Chinese war films face a glass ceiling in international film. Through extensive data gathering, analysis, and compelling visualizations, the report reveals how the Chinese government uses films as propaganda to beautify wars, whitewash brutalities, and rewrite history, potentially influencing audiences towards nationalism rather than peace. More

Excellence in Online/ Digital Journalism – Immersive Storytelling

Jasen Lo and Massarah Mikati, 150 Years Of Chinatown, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Summary: After over a year of covering Chinatown’s response to a proposed arena, reporters Jasen Lo and Massarah Mikati created this immersive piece placing the arena proposal in historical context to tell the story of Chinatown as a cultural treasure and the well-founded fears of gentrification and displacement. Community members expressed appreciation for the local paper dedicating so much energy to telling Chinatown’s stories and its continued fight. More

Excellence in Investigative Reporting

Zhaoyin Feng and team, Catching a Pervert: Sexual Assault for Sale series (1/2/3), BBC

This year-long investigation uncovered an ugly business of sexual assault for sale on Chinese-language websites hosted in the U.S., where thousands of videos of men sexually abusing women in public places across East Asia were being sold. More

Excellence in Political Reporting

Talib Visram, On the Ground in Florida series (1/2/3), Fast Company

This series captured the impact of anti-transgender legislative policies on ordinary people in Florida and exposed it to Fast Company’s national audience, as Gov. Ron DeSantis was running for president and pledging to make Florida a blueprint for the country. More

Excellence in International Reporting

Pramod Acharya and team, Trafficking Inc. series (1/2), International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)

This series drew worldwide attention to the complex nature of globalization, viewed through the struggles of Asian migrant workers whose aspirations for a better life were dashed by officials at Amazon. The reports, resulting from extensive interviews, evidence, and compassionate care, are powerful, thought-provoking, and impactful. More

Excellence in Business / Consumer / Tech Reporting

Maya Srikrishnan and team, Unequal Burden series (1/2/3), Center for Public Integrity

This series sheds light on the underappreciated connection between state taxation, debt collection, and American economic inequality. The reporting and storytelling showed strong sourcing and a commitment to helping a wider community understand more about this issue and its impact on vulnerable people. More

Excellence in Science / Environment / Health Reporting

Usha Lee McFarling, Coverage of Asian American health disparities series (1/2/3), STAT

This series tackles the often unexplored and ignored health disparities and social and economic disadvantages faced by Asian Americans. McFarling’s coverage is striking in its depth, masterfully interweaving historical context, research, and eye-opening datasets to shed light on the AAPI community. More

Excellence in Sports Reporting

Xuan Thai, Miami Marlins GM Kim Ng’s journey to the postseason series (1/2/3), ESPN

This series marks the first time Kim Ng, the first AAPI and female general manager of any major men’s professional sport, sat down for an extensive enterprise story. Over multiple interviews, games, and meetings, Ng shared her story and daily experiences in her groundbreaking role. The in-depth text profile and video feature ran on multiple ESPN platforms and were widely shared on social media. More

Excellence in Arts & Culture / Entertainment Reporting

Yijo Shen, Alex Zhang and team, The Melting Wok: Chinese Food’s American Dream series (1/2/3), 歪脑|WHYNOT

This unique series, reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain’s work but centered on Chinese food and Chinese-American culture, covers celebrity chef Peter Chang’s undocumented past for the first time. The series is tremendously well done in terms of reporting, storytelling, and impact, representing Chinese culture and food history in a gratifying way. More

Excellence in Pacific Islander Reporting

Marc Ramirez, In Pasifika, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities seek identity and independence, USA Today

This story explores the term Pasifika and the push within Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities to embrace the term to distinguish themselves from Asian Americans, not only as an expression of identity but as a means of addressing inequities between the two populations. More

Excellence in Commentary / Op-Ed / Perspective

Connie Wang, Meeta Agrawal and team, Generation Connie, The New York Times

This multimedia masterpiece explores the phenomenon of many Asian American women being named after groundbreaking Chinese American news anchor Connie Chung. The essay, which drew reactions from readers worldwide, dives into a journey that is both intensely personal and universally familiar, touching on themes of immigration, mother-daughter relationships, media representation, and the struggles and impact of one trailblazing woman. More

Student Excellence in Written Reporting

Ryan Doan-Nguyen, Napalm, Birthed in Harvard’s Basement, The Harvard Crimson

This landmark investigation redefines cultural history with an original narrative focusing on the overlooked story of how a team of Harvard scientists developed the infamous chemical weapon napalm in the basement of a laboratory, and the university’s role in its development. More

Student Excellence in Photojournalism, Single Photo or Photo Story

Christine Vo, Personal Essay: How cultural traditions connect first-generation children to their heritage, The Shorthorn

This photo essay confronts the reality of the photographer’s lost culture and attempts to grasp it before it’s too late, as she reflects on her grandfather’s passing and the archive of VHS tapes, letters, and printed photos he left behind. More

Student Excellence in Video Storytelling, Long-form, Short-form or Social

Cynthia Liu and Fallon Maher, Places like this, UNC-Chapel Hill

This video story, created as part of a team project for an international projects journalism class at UNC-Chapel Hill, focuses on the La Goyco community center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the larger issue of school closures across Puerto Rico in recent years. More

Student Excellence in Audio Storytelling

Kathy Ou, Chinese seniors find community with ping pong at a NYC park, AsAmNews

This story documents the role ping pong tables play in the immigrant community in New York City, focusing on a particular table that serves as a gathering place for Chinese seniors, known only to some neighbors and those who frequently play nearby. More

Student Excellence in Online/Digital Journalism

Hannah Ly, Ocean to Table, Fish to Families: A sustainable solution to San Diego’s food insecurity, Self published

This multimedia story brings to light the relaunch of the Fish to Families program, spotlighting a food initiative that addresses food insecurity, contributes to the local economy, and sheds light on the overlooked Filipino American Veterans Association (FAVA) Hall. More

About AAJA’s Awards 

AAJA has honored excellence in journalism since 1987. The AAJA Journalism Excellence Awards are bestowed to members for thoughtful reporting, thorough coverage and strong storytelling. The 2024 awards are given for work produced in 2023. Awards will be presented during our convention in Austin, Texas, August 7-11, 2024. For more information about the recipients and their work – as well as the judges and awards committee members who make the awards possible – please visit our awards website. 

In August, AAJA will announce the recipients of the AAJA Community Awards, which honor members and organizations who champion the spirit of community through their chapter and affinity group leadership; their diversity, equity and inclusion work; and through their life’s work.

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