March 23, 2020
A Letter from the President

Dear AAJA Member,

I hope this email finds you as safe and as well as can be.

Thank you for the work you are doing, delivering clarity and credible information as we experience rapid changes to the way we work and live.

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak as it relates to our members and programming ( full update here). We encourage our members to avoid physical contact as much as possible, while taking care of each other in other ways.

I am thinking about our members at the frontlines of coronavirus coverage. I am thinking about the toll it takes for our members to cover the racism and xenophobia aimed at our communities. I am thinking about how we can help each other cope during this isolating and destabilizing time. 

I've been heartened by the organic sprouting of community-care efforts across our chapters and membership, like AAJA Philly's call for continued support of local Asian businesses, members socializing over virtual happy hours, J-Camp alums checking in with each other on social media, and so much more.

Please let us know: How are you taking care of yourself? How are you taking care of those in your community? How can we take care of you? Check in with us here so we can build or direct you to the resources and support that you need. 

(ICYMI: We sent a list of resources for reporters covering coronavirus as well as wellness tips for working and parenting while working from home. Check it out here.)

At the same time, I am disturbed by the intensifying attacks on the AAPI community, including our members. If you've personally experienced an incident of discrimination, we are keeping track here to inform our response. We encourage you to report to Asian Americans Advancing Justice as well at

AAJA has released a joint statement, with other diversity associations in solidarity, condemning the racism and xenophobic remarks that fuel anti-AAPI sentiments around the globe. Please continue to share with your newsrooms our Media Watch guidance on coronavirus coverage.

As this global pandemic continues, so does the threat to free press. We support all of our members overseas and AAJA-Asia's statement protesting China's decision to expel U.S. journalists -- the latest step in escalating geopolitical tensions that threaten global health and press freedom.

Thankfully, our #AAJAFamily remains as strong and connected as ever. I urge you to lean on your fellow AAJA members. Reach out to your chapter leaders. Communicate on our AAJA Slack community. There is now also a #parenting channel in AAJA Slack.)

Let us know how we can further support you and amplify your good work.

And if you want to join in our efforts, we are seeking support with strengthening our capacity for coronavirus monitoring. Email me at if you can help with: 
  • Social media rapid response: Let us know if you're :100: at social media and can help with rapid response messaging.
  • Monitoring media coverage: Let us know if you're sharing with your friends and colleagues examples of both offensive AND thoughtful media coverage of coronavirus and its impact on Asians and AAPIs.
  • Resources: Let us know if you want to help our members and journalists cope with coronavirus coverage by curating and sharing resources to help them personally and professionally.
Wishing you health and safety,
Michelle Ye Hee Lee
AAJA President
On Our Reading List

Above the fold: Coronavirus coverage from AAJA members
In other news:
  • Ed Yong's April 2020 feature story for The Atlantic about giraffe life and why these understudied creatures may be more endangered than we noticed.
  • Hannah Bae's interview with author E. J. Koh about living between languages, the boom in historical writing on Korea, and parent-child separation for Asian American Writers' Workshop.
  • Elise Hu's NPRreview of Cathy Park Hong's Minor Feelings, a newly published series of essays on the Asian American experience
  • Lakshmi Gandhi's interview with Kevin Nguyen about his debut novel New Waves, which explores Asian American male identity, classism, and power in tech.
  • Seung Min Kim's International Women's Day chat with #HerStory at Twitter News about what it's like to be a White House reporter and her tips for fellow women journalists.
  • Corinne Chin's multimedia project and 23-page print piece on "Disappearing Daughters" with co-author Erika Schultz for the Seattle Times, exploring femicide on the US-Mexico border and highlighting the resilience of the mothers of Ciudad Ju├írez through text, photography, film, and visual poetry.
#AAJA Kudos: Member & Alumni News
  • Maria Ressa is among Time's 2019"100 Women of the Year," honoring her work combating fake news in the Philippines. She was also one of the journalists honored in Time's 2018 Person of the Year.
  • Sacramento Press Club has named one of its new scholarships after Lonnie Wong, founder of AAJA-Sacramento and 2015 AAJA Lifetime Achievement Awardee.
  • Ti-Hua Chang has joined The Young Turks network as an investigative climate change reporter.
  • Cheryl Diaz Meyer received first place in the NPPA's International Picture Story competition with her photo story featuring Comfort Women of the Philippines.
  • W.W. Norton will be publishing Vauhini Vara's novel, The Immortal King Rao, in 2021, followed by a collection of short stories, This is Salvaged.
  • Jen Yamato has just launched a new LA Times' podcast Asian Enough with co-host Frank Shyong
Our Community Counts: The 2020 Census

Did you know AAJA member Hansi Lo Wang is a Census expert?  Earlier this March, he created a census tip sheet for fellow journalists:

Follow @hansilowang on Twitter for Census updates.

For more information about the Census, check out APIA Vote.
Facebook Journalism Project Seeks Your Input

Facebook Journalism Project is seeking input from AAJA members on how you use Instagram and Facebook in your work in order to provide you better tools and trainings for using those platforms. Complete the survey here.

Open Scholarship Opportunities & Program Applications
  • *New* Apply for 2020 AAJA / Getty Images Inclusion Scholarship
    by April 27, a $10,000 scholarship to a student focused on photojournalism and $1,000 stipend to support attendance at #AAJA20.
  • Apply for Voices 2020 by March 29 (extended), an all-expenses paid student journalism fellowship (July 26-August 1 in DC).
  • Apply for JCamp 2020 by March 29, a weeklong journalism program for high school students (July 5-10 in DC).
** Please know we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak situation. Our utmost priority is the safety and well-being of our student participants, and we will make decisions based on recommendations from health and government authorities.

We still encourage all students to apply for these programs. Depending on the situation, while we may be able to continue as scheduled, we are also exploring virtual opportunities for the program. We may postpone this program until we have a chance to reschedule.
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