August 10, 2020
Dear #AAJAFam

What a jawdropping day one.

You showed up, and you showed up in your finest AAJA tees, suited up, or in your most comfy pjs. You showed up with your mini-mes, your pets, your home gourmand selfies. You showed up in between producing the news, tanning on your rooftops, and all over the Twitterverse.

Thank you for bringing your tremendous spirit of community into #AAJA20 and making this year an ACTUAL FESTIVAL. We are soaking up all the energy and pumped for an amazing rest of the week.

What did you think of Day 1? We want to hear all the pluses and deltas, all the roses, buds, and thorns. Let us know in the daily feedback form.

Today's Digest
  • Festival UX Tip
  • Monday Program & Festival Fun
  • #AAJA20 Week Ahead
  • Sunday Highlights
  • "Why I Cover the Wonderful, Frightening World of Crypto" by Nikhilesh De
  • Twitter Resources for Connecting at #AAJA20
Image of Sunday's Voices/J-Camp Alum hangout session by Doris Truong (@DorisTruong)

💡 FESTIVAL UX TIP: We recommend using the #AAJA20 virtual platform (Pathable) on a desktop PC or laptop for the best experience. While it is accessible via your mobile devices, the festival is not optimized for smaller screens.
Monday at #AAJA20
all times listed in ET
Start Monday with a power lunch hour at 11:30am: The 50% Initiative: JOCs in the Newsroom, presented by NBC Universal that discusses increasing the number of newsroom leaders of color.

Please note that this session will be off-platform. Meeting details and log-in information can be found in the session description.
Festival Fun
After your day of taking in all that #AAJA20 has to offer, decompress with a fierce battle of words in the System Game and with the 30th Anniversary Karaoke Competition, a not-to-be-missed tradition of #AAJA20.

Unofficial Social Gatherings
Be sure to follow #AAJA20 on Twitter and hang out in the conference Hallway to find or start your own social gatherings with fellow participants.
Graphic on the right by Leighton Ginn (@lginn).
The Week Ahead

Women Do News Wiki Edit-a-thon (starts today at 2:30p)
Join us today for a wide-ranging conversation in which panelists will discuss some of the unexpected ways women and people of color are excluded from this important platform, and from history. Then, we’ll kick off AAJA’s first ever Wikipedia edit-a-thon, hosted by Women Do News. Women are underrepresented in Wikipedia, and women journalists are no exception. Nominate a woman journalist for entry on Wikipedia and join fellow conference attendees Tuesday through Friday (2:30-4:30pm) to help edit or write entries, or just to hang out.
A Thousand Cuts Movie Premiere, Screening, and Talkback
You should've received the link to the A Thousand Cuts documentary in the email you used to register on Pathable yesterday evening. You have until Wednesday, August 12 at 6pm to watch it. Then, at 8pm, join Maria Ressa and filmmaker Ramona Diaz in conversation with Benjamin Pimentel to learn about the parallels between the Philippines and the United States, the importance of being a global citizen, and the role of social media and Silicon Valley in democracy.

Make Dumplings with Nom Wah (Tuesday) & Mapo Tofu with Junzi Kitchen (Thursday)
Although we're not meeting in person, food is always a big part of AAJA conventions. This year, we're hosting two cook-alongs so that you and your whole family can whip up something delicious at home in togetherness with your #AAJAFamily. If you want to cook along, check out the ingredients lists to stock up your kitchen.
Sunday: Select Highlights
On Opening Night: Dr. Sanjay Gupta in conversation with Niala Boodhoo

  • Niketa Patel (@Niketa) Factual reporting is the tip of the spear when it comes to #COVID19. The facts lead the way, you want to explain the how, where and when but people remember the stories so it comes down to storytelling.

  • Anjali Huynh (@anjalihuynh) Words from @drsanjaygupta that resonated with me in the #AAJA20 opening: “I love being a journalist. It has such purpose … If you do good work, you do important work, it lives on not for what it is now but for what it represents later as well.”

On Intro to Beat Reporting & Building Sources with J-Camp directors Ben Bartenstein and Arelis Hernandez

  • Melanie Gonzalez @ #AAJA20 (@miss_melanieg) From @arelisrhdz I learned a new term: beat sweeteners. They're stories that aren't super urgent, but they mean something to someone in the community you're covering and show you genuinely care about what's important to them. #AAJA20

On the IRE Training

Life at #AAJA20
My babies joining me to watch @axios Today host @NialaBoodhoo interview @drsanjaygupta at #AAJA20
Gwendolyn Wu @ #AAJA20
Hello hello, are you at #AAJA20 this year?

If you’re attending, don’t be shy! Let’s chat about college journalism, navigating internships/fellowships and how hard it is to keep your dog from popping into your Zoom
Pablo Iglesias (@pabloiglesias_tv) S/O to my mom for the #AAJA20 board! @aajaofficial
Twitter Resources for Connecting at #AAJA20

Why I Cover the Wonderful, Frightening World of Crypto
by Nikhilesh De, policy reporter, CoinDesk
Last year I spent 24 hours on assignment in Nova Scotia, trying to figure out whether the founder of a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange had faked his death and run off with $200 million in customer funds. QuadrigaCX’s collapse was one of the crypto industry’s biggest stories of 2019 – and I had broken the news of its massive debts, a story picked up by other publications worldwide.

More recently, I had to wrangle a group of writers from four beat desks to break a story about a cyber attack on one of the largest digital coins. It was 1 o’clock in the morning, we couldn’t reach an editor and we had to rely on each other’s eyes to make sure the article was ready to go.

That’s life at CoinDesk. Our team is lean. We’re expanding rapidly, but are still small enough that I’ve had the opportunity to touch on every facet of the news process while covering an incredibly complicated, fast-growing industry.

CoinDesk is the leading publication covering a once-in-an-epoch shift toward what many observers argue could be a more global, border-light and potentially fairer financial and monetary system – or maybe just a faster and more efficient one with the same (human) flaws. What keeps me here is that I can define my role, have institutional support to build that beat and learn some things along the way.

As for the guy in Canada – the jury’s still out on what happened to the money, or whether he’s really dead. We’ll keep digging.

Chat in VR with Nikhilesh and other AAJA members at CoinDesk’s sponsor showcase on Monday, Aug. 10, at 1:30 p.m. ET.
#AAJA20 Collaborative Playlist
We're starting an #AAJA20 playlist to cultivate the collective mood of fest! Add your favs here.

Joining us for the first time today? Welcome! Check out this tipsheet on how to maximize your experience.

Virtual Welcome Bag Please enjoy these exclusive offers, freebies, and discounts from friends of AAJA during the festival. Find the Virtual Welcome Bag on your #AAJA20 menu bar.
Please help us ensure the best possible festival experience by letting us know your thoughts in real-time here.