Apply for Catalyst 2018: AAJA's Media Entrepreneurship Program


Applications are now open for Catalyst, a three-day boot camp for founders of color who want to learn how to fund and launch their own media products. The program is scheduled to take place November 8-10, 2018 at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in New York City. 

We’re looking for people who are passionate about media and journalism, and who aspire to take their side hustles to the next level. Full-time and freelance journalists living in the US or abroad are encouraged to apply. If you're interested in being a part of the Catalyst class of 2018, please submit your application by 11:59pm PT on Sunday, September 23. Applicants will be notified of their application status by mid-October.

While it costs nothing to apply, once you’re accepted into the program, there is a $400 program fee for AAJA members and $700 for non-AAJA members. If you’re not yet an AAJA member, you can register for an annual membership here. The Catalyst program fee includes the program training plus breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The program fee includes workshops, speaker panels, and one-on-one mentoring sessions where you will:

  • Create a compelling pitch deck.
  • Get best practices on how to bring your product to market, measure the right metrics, and make your product financially sustainable.
  • Find out how venture capitalists evaluate founders and their startups.
  • Understand how the foundation grant-making process works.
  • Join a growing community of media investors, advisors, and founders of color.
  • Hear from other media startup founders about their own journeys.

AAJA is also offering $500 travel stipends to a limited number of recipients. If you’re interested in a travel stipend, please fill out the “Optional: Travel Stipend” section at the bottom of the application.




Program Facilitators

Sharon Pian Chan is Vice President of Innovation, Product & Development at The Seattle Times. For most of her career, she was a journalist. She has served as national president of the Asian American Journalists Association. She received her B.A. from Pomona College and M.B.A. from MIT.







Manami Kano is a strategy consultant and until recently Deputy Director, Global Media Grants and Partnerships at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In this role, Manami oversaw ~$25M in grants for media and journalism projects globally to foster evidence-based public dialogue on global health, poverty and domestic education. Manami previously spent a decade in leadership roles and consulting for nonprofit organizations in the arts, media and social justice sectors.








Burt Herman is director of innovation projects for the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the parent organization of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Previously, he co-founded Storify, a social media storytelling platform used by top media organizations, brands and non-profit organizations that has won numerous awards for journalism innovation. Burt is also co-founder of Hacks/Hackers, the largest global grassroots movement bringing together journalists and technologists. In his earlier work as a journalist, Burt covered stories around the world for The Associated Press as a correspondent and bureau chief for 12 years. Burt was a 2009 Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University, where he earlier graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees.





Hong Qu is the Program Director for Technology at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard Kennedy School. Hong was a designer on YouTube’s startup team and launched their key features including the homepage, user channels, and video sharing. He was VP of product at Upworthy and chief technology officer at Fusion Media. He was a visiting Nieman fellow in 2013 and has been an adjunct professor at CUNY School of Journalism since 2015. Hong is a graduate of Wesleyan University and UC Berkeley.





Christina Shih is the COO of the News Revenue Hub and oversees the operations and strategic growth of the Hub. She also designs and leads the trainings for NewsMatch, a grassroots fundraising campaign for nonprofit news organizations. Prior to the Hub, Christina managed Voice of San Diego’s membership program where she helped increase the member base by 42%. She has a background in mission driven event planning and spent four years planning high-level donor cultivation events for art museums.








Richard Lui has been named by Business Insider as one of 21 careers to watch alongside Warren Buffett and Sheryl Sandberg. Over the course of 30 years, Lui has launched six techbology brands over three business cycles, most recently with an artifiical intelligence company in Silicon Valley. After MBA at Michigan Ross School of Business, he joined Citibank where he co-created a fintech payment model he holds a patent for. He was a management consultant at Mercer for an IBM joint venture. Lui sits on four boards of directors / advisers in spaces ranging from international relations to artificial intelligence.



Can't decide if Catalyst is right for you? Check out last year's cohort and meet the coaches and guest speakers.


Still have questions? Reach out to Daniel Garcia at