History

40 years of advocacy for diversity in media

The Asian American Journalists Association was founded in Los Angeles in 1981 to support and encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in journalism at a time when they were under represented in the U.S. media. Since then, AAJA has grown into a full-fledged professional organization with more than 1,500 members in 21 chapters across the United States and in Asia.

AAJA’s goals include making newsrooms more ethnically and racially diverse and ensuring fair and accurate coverage of the AAPI community. To that end, our work supports both AAPI journalists and AAPI students who have an interest in journalism careers. We also monitor media coverage of the community, and work with AAPI groups to help them understand how the news media works.

AAJA holds an annual national convention that offers training and networking opportunities, and includes a career fair with representatives from America’s major news media companies. The 2020 Convention will be held from July 29 to August 1 in Washington DC. We also offer scholarships for students and hold boot camps and other programs for students and professional journalists at both the chapter and national level.

AAJA-ASIA

AAJA’s Asia chapter was founded in 1996 by two AAJA members working in the region – Allen Cheng in Hong Kong and Alan Ota in Tokyo – as a networking group for AAJA members in Asia and a bridge for AAJA members who come to the region or want to work here. An early highlight of this chapter was an ambitious series of programs for the many journalists who came to Hong Kong to cover the handover of the territory to China in 1997.

Today, AAJA-Asia has grown into one of AAJA’s largest chapters and one of the most extensive and active journalist networks across the Asia Pacific region. Our chapter gathers over 200 media students and professionals, from India and Nepal, across Southeast Asia to China, Japan and South Korea.

Many of our members work for The Associated Press, AFP, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, CNN, TVB, WION, the Korea JoongAng Daily and other prestigious American and Asian news media. 20% of our members are freelancers or self-employed while 15% are students in journalism. 58% of our members are women and 60% are under 34! In major cities, vibrant sub-chapters organize rewarding and fun talks and networking and career development events.