AAJA and NLGJA Hire Bobby Caina Calvan As Heartland Project Reporter


bobbycalvan.pngThe Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) has hired Bobby Caina Calvan, a former national political writer in the Boston Globe’s Washington bureau, as the lead reporter for the Heartland Project, a joint initiative led by AAJA and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) to increase media coverage of minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in Nebraska.

Calvan, who first joined AAJA in the early 90s, will be based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) College of Journalism and Mass Communications, a partner of the project. He will work with journalism faculty and students to produce stories and multimedia projects that involve LGBT communities and communities of color, focusing on four topic areas: access to health care, economic recovery, immigration and domestic violence.

“Bobby Calvan brings exceptional experience to this crucial task of exploring diversity issues in America’s heartland,” said Gary Kebbel, Professor and Director of Mobile Media Lab, UNL. “His reporting experience at the Boston Globe, The Sacramento Bee and the International Center for Journalists, combined with his mentoring of students through AAJA, make him the ideal person to work with news organizations and students during his time at UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications.”

Prior to his work with the Heartland Project, Calvan reported for the Boston Globe focusing on national political stories involving high-profile elected officials such as Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Scott Brown and Rep. Barney Frank. He reported from 13 states – from Colorado to Maine – as part of his coverage of the 2012 presidential elections. As a foreign reporting fellow for the International Center for Journalists, he traveled to Laos to report on the millions of unexploded U.S. bombs that still menace the country. At the Sacramento Bee, he wrote about the policy, politics and human consequences of health care. He also covered the war in Iraq for McClatchy Newspapers during the height of violence.

Abe Kwok, online news editor at The Arizona Republic, and Rhonda LeValdo-Gayton, radio host and professor at the Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kan., are members of the Heartland Project advisory committee and were instrumental in the hiring process for the Heartland reporter.

“Bobby Calvan is a dynamic, seasoned reporter, and we look for his work to better acquaint Nebraskans – the entire country, really – with communities and people in that state who are often overlooked,” said Kwok. “We’re full of hope and excitement about the project.”

“Bobby Calvan will be a great addition to the Heartland Project,” said LeValdo-Gayton. “His past journalism experience is a wonderful asset for the group and we all look forward to stories with great impact to come out of this endeavor.”

This project is funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation. To learn more about the Ford Foundation, visit www.fordfoundation.org. To find out more about the Heartland Project, visit http://www.aaja.org/ford-grant-2013.




The Asian American Journalists Association is a nonprofit professional and educational organization with more than 1,700 members across the United States and in Asia. Founded in 1981, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry. AAJA’s mission is to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to enter the ranks of journalism, to work for fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs, and to increase the number of AAPI journalists and news managers in the industry. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists, along with the Native American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. For more information about AAJA, visit www.aaja.org.

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues. NLGJA opposes all forms of workplace bias and provides professional development to its members. For more information on the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, visit the NLGJA website at www.nlgja.org.