AAJA National Executive Team February Update



AAJA family,

Happy Year of the Rooster! It’s only February, but we’ve made some strides this past month. This is the first of many updates from our national executive team. This month includes news from our Senior Vice President Michelle Lee, VP of Civic Engagement Pia Sarkar, VP of Journalism Programs Ramy Inocencio and myself. It’s an honor to work with these talented journalists, who in their leadership role always put AAJA first.


After putting out a request for proposals, organizing a redesign committee and evaluating top agencies, we’ve selected In-House International, a full-service creative consultancy based in Austin, to lead AAJA’s logo and website rebranding initiative. They’re a talented team who has worked on design projects for Stanford’s John S. Knight Fellowship, Wired, and The Trace, just to name a few. A special thanks to Frank Bi, Emily Chow, Chiew Chung, Esther Gim, Nelson Hsu and Sisi Wei for serving on our redesign selection team.

Rise & Revolutionize

Convention programming is underway. The theme for this year’s convention in Philly is “Rise & Revolutionize.” In framing panels and sessions, our convention programming committee is seeking to answer the question: “How can we come together to transform how we cover communities of color?” We’re excited to debut new ideas and concepts for convention this year, so sign up for early-bird registration today. Members of the 2017 Convention Programming Committee, co-chaired by Michelle Lee and Frank Bi, include Hannah Bae, Jennifer Chang, Aimee Cho, Emily Chow, Iris Kuo, Benjamin Pu, Matt Stevens¬†and Jenny Ye. Affinity group representatives are Angeline Bernabe, Ellen Lee, Howard Chen, Darrell Miho, Diane Thao and Alex Wong.

Muslim American Task Force

We created a Muslim American task force last week to develop resources for journalists who cover Muslim/Muslim American communities. Given the changes in America’s immigration policies, we’re looking at areas where we can be most effective, including being a convening organization that connects others who are working on similar initiatives. Our task force includes journalists in and outside of AAJA, and reflects our commitment to ensuring accurate and fair coverage of AAPI communities, and more broadly, communities of color.


We’re thrilled to announce CeFaan Kim as the new co-chair of MediaWatch. CeFaan has worked at NY1 and News 12 Westchester and is currently a general assignment reporter at WABC. He has been a mentor for AAJA and served as faculty for AAJA’s Media Institute. CeFaan also serves on the leadership advisory council for the Korean American League for Civil Action as well as special adviser for the National Association of Asian American Professionals. According to CeFaan, “‘committee’ is the most important word in MediaWatch. I view this as a collective force, where collaboration gives us our most powerful and effective voice.” We couldn’t agree more.

Student Sponsorships

We’re working on a brand new program to help students join and stay in our AAJA family. An annual student membership costs $25. But for a student, that could be a few day’s worth of expenses. As professional members, we hope member sponsorships will encourage students to take advantage of AAJA’s resources and pursue a career in journalism. Look out for more details in the next few months, and kudos to Carolyn Hong for spearheading this terrific initiative.



Yvonne Leow

AAJA National President