May 1, 2020
In this issue: 
  • Note from Naomi on AAPI Heritage Month
  • National, Chapter, & Affinity Updates: Meet our new director of Programs and Partnerships, Digital N3 Con, COVID-19 offerings
  • Member Updates: #AAJAKudos, On Our List (Member Bylines) 
  • Scholarships & Opportunities: AAJA is seeking a summer intern, Getty Images scholarship deadline extension
Note from Naomi
Last night, I joined AAPI community leaders in a town hall to discuss Asian American experiences in the time of COVID-19. The town hall, moderated by AAJA member Amna Nawaz of PBS NewsHour, marks the start of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month and celebrates the new five-part PBS documentary, ASIAN AMERICANS , co-produced by the Center for Asian American Media and WETA for PBS, premiering on May 11 and 12. 

It is not lost on AAJA that this year’s heritage month begins at a time when AAPI visibility has such a heart-wrenching duality.

On the one hand, how remarkable is it that we’ll get to tune in to our local public station on May 11 and 12 and learn about Asian American struggles and contributions? I am also so proud of our members’ work covering the pandemic and its impacts. Some of these stories would have remained untold if it were not for the initiative and leadership of AAJA members in your newsrooms.

On the other hand, as we celebrate our community’s contributions, we somberly acknowledge the cumulative stress and anxiety that AAJA members face-- an unprecedented threat to our health, an industry shifting underneath our feet, and Asian Americans being targets of COVID-19 related discrimination.

As a community of storytellers and journalists, we focus on the story, with unique perspectives that bring untold and underreported stories to light. This pandemic empowers us to also focus on and learn about ourselves as part of a larger Asian American community. AAJA chapters and affinity groups have stepped up-- from webinars to virtual social hours, to local community efforts to help AAPI small businesses, to special funds to support reporting and storytelling. 

NBC’s Vicky Nguyen writes , “I didn’t become a journalist to be the story. I did it to tell important stories, to give a voice to the voiceless. In this pandemic, I now have the chance to do both.”

As we move forward in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, I invite you to lean into the stories only you can produce, to draw deeply from your composite of experiences and your personal histories, and to embrace the leadership you bring to every space merely by being who you are. 

In solidarity,
Naomi Tacuyan Underwood
Executive Director 
National Updates
Welcome Heather Aguilar, the new Director of Programs and Partnerships

Heather has worked in higher education for more than a decade in the areas of project management, program development, communications, fundraising, alumni engagement, and event planning. Read about what led her to AAJA and what she’s most excited about here .
In Case You Missed It

Last night Naomi Tacuyan Underwood joined fellow AAPI leaders in the Center for Asian American Media’s Digital Town Hall - Asian Americans in the Time of Covid-19. Watch the recording here .

Last weekend, AAJA-Asia held its first 2020 Digital N3 Salon on “How are Journalists Covering and Coping with COVID-19 in Asia?” and “How to Build and Strengthen Your Presence Online.” ICYMI, the full event's video recording is available here .Their next Digital N3 Salon will be held on Saturday, May 23 on Resiliency Training, Finding Jobs in a Tight Market, and Cultivating Sources Virtually. Sign up for all AAJA-Asia and N3Con updates here

Have you watched AAJA’s IGTV show AAJA@ThisTIme hosted by Niala Boodhoo yet? New episodes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2pm ET/11am PT. Check them out at @aajaofficial on Instagram.
COVID-19 Resources

Heather J. Chin has created a new slack channel dedicated to # health . Join the AAJA Slack here .

The Student Press Law Center launched a new coronavirus toolkit providing technical assistance and support to student journalists and advisers as they work through the COVID-19 crisis.

Lee Uehara , co-founder of Asian American Podcasters Association, is offering free online workshops about podcasting such as "How to Start a Podcast" and "Audio-Editing Workflows 101" as a way to contribute her skill-set during these challenging times.

Amna Nawaz Werdel is hosting a new PBS NewsHour series called “Ask Us.” Ask your questions about the pandemic here -- economic, health, science, personal (nothing is off limits) -- and get them answered by the experts.
Member Updates
#AAJAKudos to... 👏

On Our List, Member Bylines 

To read 📰 :

To watch 📺
  • Vicky Nguyen’s segment (5 min) on the increasing hate crimes against Asian Americans since mid-January for NBC TODAY
  • Yoonj Kim’s shareable MTV News video (5 min) on how young Asian Americans are fighting back against COVID-19 racism -- includes an interview with fellow AAJA member Kimmy Yam.
  • Samantha Cheng’s 2020 APA Legacy Public Service Campaign by the Heritage Series, five videos (1 min each) on Asian Pacific Americans and their contributions to U.S. history.
  • Sunshine Lichauco de Leon’s documentary Curiosity, Adventure, and Love about the life of a 104-year-old American who journeys to the Philippines alone in the 1930s at age 18, the history of the country that she has witnessed, and the insights and wisdom of a woman whose indomitable spirit has evoked inspiration for the thousands who have known her. Available on iTunes and for free on Amazon Prime, Tubi, Local Now & more.
  • Yi Chen’s documentary FIRST VOTE, which chronicles the democratic participation of four Asian American voters from 2016-2018. It premieres on Tuesday, May 5 at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Virtual Showcase -- join for a panel discussion with the cast and crew at 5 pm PST and watch free from 8am-8pm PST.

To scroll 📱 :

  • Lee Uehara’s Instagram feed Corona in NYC and photographic documentation of New York City and New Yorkers during COVID-19 as observed in daily life.

To listen 🎧 :
  • KQED radio segment featuring journalists Meiying Wu and Alyson Stamos on how San Francisco’s Chinatown got ahead of the coronavirus. Read NYT article here.
  • Ang Li’s podcast Loud Slurp, co-hosted with her BFF Vicky Huang, that tries to bridge the information gap between Asia and people's understanding of the region from the outside. Their first episode is on the K-drama sensation Itaewon Class. They are also on IG
  • Felix Poon’s podcast Felixity, a podcast bringing stories about resilience. The first episode is called Life in the Age of Coronavirus.
For Students

In General

  • Submit AAJA Speakers Bureau Nominations here.
  • Check out the AAJA Jobs Board and the #aaja-jobs Slack channel for career opportunities.
Join Comcast NBCUniversal in

Today, Comcast NBCUniversal kicked off a series of activities and initiatives to honor Asian culture during Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, including:

  • The launch of the ‘Asian American Film & TV Collection’ destination on Xfinity X1
  • Grants to AAPI community organizations responding to COVID-19 hate incidents
  • An NBC Asian America virtual town hall and national discussion on hate incidents on May 13 
  • Grants to uplift census participation
  • Virtual social convenings for AAPI employees at Comcast NBCUniversal

At Comcast NBCUniversal, we want every employee and customer to feel valued and respected for who they are. For our employees, we believe a diverse and inclusive company is a more innovative and successful one, which is why Diversity & Inclusion is so important to our culture and business. For our customers, we provide year-round access to diverse programming, but key moments, like Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, give us the opportunity to go above and beyond to celebrate the AAPI community’s remarkable contributions to American culture, film, science, sports, and history.

*Featured Content from AAJA Sponsors & Partners
Correction from April 20, 2020 issue: We wrote that Moni Basu is a former AAJA advisory board member. In fact, she is a current AAJA advisory board member.
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