#AAJA15 Sessions, Workshops, Meetups and more!

In April, we published a sneak peek of AAJA15’s convention programming. Now we’re three weeks away from the main event and we can’t wait for you to check out what we have in store.

  • Interested in user-centered design, investigative journalism or wine? Sign up for our Wednesday workshops ASAP.
  • Round out your Wednesday night after our opening reception with a free movie screening hosted by AAJA and the Center for Asian American Media. We’re highlighting three projects by AAJA filmmakers at the Landmark Embarcadero Theatre. Support AAPI filmmaking and get your free tickets here!
  • Don’t miss out on these unofficial but equally awesome meetups happening during convention week.
  • Finally, it’s not too late for you to speak at convention too. Pitch a lightning talk by Friday, July 31st!

If you haven’t seen the full programming schedule yet, or registered for convention (for shame!), here are the highlights.


New Ways to Fund Media: Your Next Story, Project, Platform

Forget pitching your editor on a story. How about pitching a nonprofit foundation on a journalism project with social impact? How about pitching an investor on building a publishing platform? This 90-minute workshop is designed to help participants develop fresh projects that can gain a support base beyond the traditional newsroom.

The first half will be spent learning what people (who are not your editor or news director) are looking for in the media world and how they measure value and innovation.

Then we’ll zero in on your ideas with our panel of judges, getting useful feedback in an “American Idol”-style review process.

Join us – and you could be one of three winners chosen for a 30-minute consultation with our panelists, including an investor in Medium, a program officer from the McCormick Foundation and the CEO of the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Register ahead by emailing session organizers Sharon Chan at schan@seattletimes.com or Anh Do at anh.do@latimes.com.

Scrape Data From the Internet and Get 100 Hours of Your Life Back
As journalists, we often need information that isn’t easily downloadable. This hands-on session will teach you basic ways to easily save and download data from any URL, without needing to spend hours (or even days) copying and pasting. This technique is most often called “web scraping.” Laptop required.

  • Emily Chow, Graphics editor, Washington Post
  • Sisi Wei, News Applications Developer, ProPublica

How to Find Stories in Data
How do we figure out what’s important in data? In this hands-on session, we’ll guide you through a dataset and teach you what questions to ask to find what’s interesting, as well as what’s suspicious. Armed with this new information, you’ll have the tools to find your next riveting story after looking at a data set. Laptop required.

  • Ryann Grochowski Jones, Data Reporter, ProPublica
  • Eric Sagara, Senior Data Reporter, The Center for Investigative Reporting / Reveal


Speed Networking
We all do it. We all suck at it. We all can use some tips to get better at it. It’s called networking — which brings together everything that makes us all self-conscious. This interactive session will create a safe space where a coach will help you improve your networking game.

  • Traci Carl, West Editor, The Associated Press
  • Paul Cheung, Director of Interactives and Digital News Production, The Associated Press

How to Tell Your Newsroom That It Might Be Racist
Ever get called by the name of that other Asian in your newsroom? Ever have one of those uncomfortable moments where you feel offended, but can’t quite figure out why? How do you navigate those moments? How do you challenge stereotypes and prejudices in a productive way without creating friction in the newsroom? Join this discussion session to brainstorm the best ways to navigate and tackle unconscious bias in the newsroom.

  • Moderated by Lauren Williams, Managing Editor, Vox

Tightrope Walk: Balancing AAPI Family Values with Work
Dutiful daughter, filial son: In the newsroom, we may find ourselves playing the roles we have in our families, intentionally or not. Join a discussion with AAJA members who grapple with how to reconcile traditional values with work-life balance.

  • Moderated by Vanessa Hua, Journalist, Independent

Long-Distance Dedication: Maintaining a Relationship with a Media Job
Journalism can be a transient industry, as we move between markets before establishing our career in one. It can take a toll on our personal life — in particular, love life — but it doesn’t have to. We hear from real couples who made it work. They’ll go over how to grow your career in your new market and grow your relationship, even when you don’t know when your career paths will merge again. Plus, we’ll have advice on supporting each other and helping each other cope with daily stresses of the fast-paced media world when you’re apart.

  • Wendy Lee, Tech Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Shanna Mendiola, Meteorologist, NBCLA
  • Brian Tong, Senior Editor/Host, CNET.com/CBS Interactive

Broadcasting Beyond Your Market
Veterans in TV news will cover best practices for preparing reporters to go live, how to improve your voice and handle ad-lib situations like breaking news. This session will also talk about building a strong resume reel and challenges for journalist in smaller TV markets like developing a beat and building your own graphics for air. Attendees will get instant feedback during this interactive session.

  • Cate Cauguiran, Reporter, CBS News, KPIX/KBCW
  • Natasha Chen, Reporter, KIRO-TV
  • George Kiriyama, Managing Editor, KCOY/KEYT/KKFX
  • James Koh, Anchor, NFL Network

The New New Media: Running and Working for Journalism Startups
Online journalism startups like BuzzFeed, Vox, and Vice are raising millions of dollars, attracting millions of eyeballs and hiring like crazy. It’s a golden age in journalism, or so it would seem. But what’s it like on the inside? Hear from editors and reporters about the risks and rewards of traditional versus new media. They’ll discuss how they’re reaching new audiences online, building teams and coverage from scratch, adapting to business models that didn’t exist 10 years ago, and in some cases completely reinventing how news is presented. Finally, they’ll share their thoughts on where the industry is heading — and how diversity fits into that future.

  • Kenneth Li, Editor-in-chief, Re/code
  • Sapna Maheshwari, Business Reporter, BuzzFeed News
  • Nitasha Tiku, Senior Writer, BuzzFeed News
  • Alexis Madrigal, Editor-in-Chief, Fusion
  • Moderated by Stephanie M. Lee, Senior Technology Reporter, BuzzFeed News

Humility Will Take You Far, Then Get You Nowhere
Many Asian Americans were taught that humility is a virtue. But in journalism, being humble usually gets us nowhere. Join a candid discussion with fellow AAJA members about their experiences balancing humility with the need to be seen and heard in the newsroom.

  • Moderated by Roger Cheng, Executive Editor, CNET

Breaking into Journalism Abroad 
Do you have dreams of being a foreign correspondent? Do you aspire to travel around the world reporting from conflict zones? Attend this panel to learn how to launch a career working abroad. Panelists will discuss opportunities for journalists in local news to find opportunities to work internationally as well as talk about how you can move from a domestic job to one based overseas.

  • Terence Hyland, Manager, Correspondents, Bloomberg BNA
  • Ramy Inocencio, Correspondent, Bloomberg
  • Kyung Lah, National Correspondent, CNN
  • Phillip Yin, Anchor Politics & Business, CCTV America

Haters Gonna Hate: How to Deal with Trolls and Bullies Online
Rape comments. Racist tweets. Threats of physical violence. Online abuse is increasing, especially for journalists who are in the public eye. What is the best way to handle intense online criticism while maintaining your brand on social media? Is there a way to turn criticism into a productive discussion or a follow-up story? How and when should you report comments that raise serious concerns? And when should you just let trolls be trolls?

  • David Ono, Anchor of America Tonight, ABC7
  • Joe Lago, Deputy Editor, Yahoo! Sports
  • Emily Lindin, Founder, The UnSlut Project


These are 20-minute talks followed by a 10-minute audience Q&A delivered by outstanding members in the broader AAPI community. 

Filipina Rapper (With a Law Degree) Breaks Down the AAPI Rap Game
There are notoriously few women in the misogynistic world of hip hop, and even fewer Asian Americans. In the same vein, women of color are disproportionately underrepresented in the white male-dominated cutthroat world of law . San Francisco ‘s Hopie discusses how her identity as a first generation Filipina immigrant compelled her to pursue two extremely challenging and seemingly unrelated paths- as a successful independent hip hop artist with four studio albums and large internet following, and as a California immigration, bankruptcy, and labor law attorney with a juris doctorate from one of the most prestigious law schools in the United States. Join Hopie for a comprehensive discussion and a live performance.

  • Hopie, Hip Hop Singer

10 BuzzFeed Videos That Prove Asian Americans Are Not To Be Fu*ked With
BuzzFeed Motion Pictures producer Eugene Lee Yang shares how he reconciled his dual roles as a content creator and online celebrity through the power of his Asian American identity. Yang, whose videos have amassed billions of worldwide views in just over a year, shares his insight on his burgeoning relationship with a huge, primarily Millennial audience and their divergent reactions to his ethnicity. Yang will map his journey by showcasing a variety of viral video clips and their accompanying comments and share statements to prove how the climate for Asian Americans in online media and entertainment at-large is changing for the better.

  • Eugene Yang, Video Producer, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures

Poetic Justice (live spoken word performance)
Associated Press Correspondent Yuri Kageyama was a poet before she even thought about becoming a journalist. For years, she assumed the two areas of her writing were separate — one intensely personal, the other professional. Sometimes she struggled to simply find time to write poetry. But over the years, she has remained a poet, perhaps first and foremost a poet. Yuri speaks about reporting and reconciliation: how the Fukushima nuclear disaster really helped tie her dual passions together. And with her Yuricane spoken-word band, she will show that in action.

  • Yuri Kageyama, Correspondent, The Associated Press

How Storytelling and Texting Will Save the Healthcare Industry
Julia Hu, CEO and Cofounder of Lark Technologies, knows how hard it is to get healthier- she’s lived with a chronic disease all her life. With the top behavior change experts and doctors and AI technologists, she spent the last five years cloning doctors so everyone has a personal doctor watching over them. Just like texting your BFF, lark chats with people to help them lose weight, get fitter, and manage chronic disease. Lark’s been named Forrester’s Best Digital Health product of the year, Apple’s Best New App (for iPhone and Apple WATCH), and will be preinstalled on all Samsung phones. In this ignite talk, Julia talks about her journey as an entrepreneur and her company’s billion dollar bet on artificial intelligence and power of storytelling.

  • Julia Hu, CEO and Cofounder, Lark

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story
Hyeonseo Lee is a North Korean defector living in Seoul, South Korea. She has recently completed writing her memoir, The Girl With Seven Names, which will be published in July 2015 in more than 20 countries. Over 5 million people have viewed her TED Talk about her life in North Korea, her escape to China and struggle to bring her family to freedom. Hyeonseo has given testimony about North Korean human rights in front of a special panel of the UN Security Council, and has discussed the issues with important leaders such as UN Ambassador Samantha Powers. She is currently writing another book with other female North Koreans living in South Korea, and is planning to start an organization to help promising North Korean refugees interact with the international community.

  • Hyeonseo Lee, a North Korean defector living in Seoul, South Korea

Nick Ut, Revisiting the Vietnam War, 40 Years Later
April 30, 2015 was the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. Pulitzer Prize photographer Nick Ut was back in Vietnam to document the anniversary. Huỳnh Công Út, known professionally as Nick Ut, won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for his photograph of a naked 9-year-old girl, Phan Thị Kim Phúc, running toward the camera from a South Vietnamese napalm attack on North Vietnamese invaders at the Trảng Bàng village during the Vietnam War in 1972. Today, Nick is a staff photographer for AP in the Los Angeles bureau and will retire next year. He is asked to speak around the world today as he talks about world peace. He feels his photograph helped stop the war in Vietnam. President Nixon said the photograph was not authentic. Nick will talk about the anniversary of the end of the war and how Vietnamese still view the war. Should be an interesting talk with photographs of Vietnam today and during the war.

  • Nick Ut, Staff Photographer, The Associated Press