Now in its 27th year, AAJA Voices is a student program that provides aspiring journalists with career-ready skills to succeed in the continually-evolving media landscape. By nurturing relationships between students and professional volunteers, Voices also gives students the opportunity to tap into mentors’ networks and begin their own while also providing AAJA journalists leadership and management opportunities. 

Live from Philadelphia

Live from Philadelphia

We've arrived in Philly, and the students are working on their projects! This year, we've made significant changes to the Voices program in an effort to better prepare students for the ever-expanding news media universe. We aimed to encourage collaboration, provide skill-specific training and enable students to better participate in the AAJA National Convention.

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A Collaborative Experience

We ditched a daily production schedule in favor of long-form storytelling pieces that would give students the chance to be ambitious. Students already have opportunities to write shorter pieces and cover daily news at their college newspapers or at their internships. We were inspired by hackathons and split our students into four groups – each collaborating on a single storytelling project. The four projects this year are focused on: 

  • Autism in the AAPI community
  • The refugee experience pre- and post-settlement in the United States
  • The impact of professional news organizations on newsroom diversity
  • Changing demographics of the AAPI community in Philadelphia

Larger focus on skills training

We expanded pre-convention training, arming students with the skills to learn new mediums and broaden their reporting repertoires at home – even with limited resources. Thanks to professionals in the AAJA network, our students participated in eight remote trainings before arriving in Philadelphia:

  1. Audio Recording 101 with Lauren Migaki, NPR
  2. Metrics beyond Reach with Leezel Tanglao, CNN
  3. Working with Data with Andrew Tran, Washington Post
  4. Video: Shooting & Editing with Mobile with Shako Liu, NowThis
  5. Video: Narrative Structure with Corinne Chin, Seattle Times
  6. Confronting Prejudice as a Reporter with Willoughby Mariano, The Atlanta Journal Constitution
  7. The Role of Technology in the Newsroom with Elite Truong, Vox
  8. Audience Development with Patricia Lee, New York Times

Convention participation

Once we got to Philadelphia, we hit the ground running. Students attended two training sessions on-site: a Google News Lab training with Frank Bi of SBNation and a session on using census data with Nesreen Khashan from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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As in years past, media organizations have kindly sponsored lunches for small groups of students, which give them a valuable opportunity to talk with professional journalists. In previous years, though, students have largely missed out on other convention programming because of the workload. Without daily deadlines, we hoped students would have more time to attend panels or meet with recruiters. Students will also present their projects to the AAJA general membership on Friday at 3:30 PM in Regency C1, C2, followed by a casual mixer. We would love for you to join us!

Refugee stories: Navigating hardship and resilience in Portland, Detroit and San Francisco

Refugee stories: Navigating hardship and resilience in Portland, Detroit and San Francisco