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 Houston 2018

Live from Houston 2018

Join us as our 2018 Voices students present their collaborative editorial projects on Friday, Aug. 10 from 3 – 4:30 p.m. at the AAJA National Convention in Houston at River Oaks AB. Not in Houston? Follow Voices on Twitter for a livestream. Following the presentation, speak with our students one-on-one in the Voices area during the Silent Auction from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. in Houston III.

Students and faculty are hard at work finishing five collaborative editorial projects they've been working on since May. The Voices newsroom is based on the campus of the University of Houston at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. This year, we continue to focus on encouraging collaboration and providing skill-specific training.

 AAJA Voices mentors  Millie Tran , left, and  Alyssa Perry , right, work with student   Suhauna Hussain   in the media lab on the campus of the University of Houston at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication.

AAJA Voices mentors Millie Tran, left, and Alyssa Perry, right, work with student Suhauna Hussain in the media lab on the campus of the University of Houston at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication.

A Collaborative Experience

Last year, we ditched a daily production schedule in favor of long-form storytelling pieces that would give students the chance to be ambitious and walk away with a clip they may not have the opportunity to collaborate on within their college programs or internships. The five projects this year are focused on: 

  • Living in the U.S. When You Don’t ‘Sound White’: The complexity of having an accent
  • End the Stigma: The impact of mental illness in AAPI communities
  • "It gets better," but for Asian Americans, coming out can also get complicated
  • Refugees’ Stories: Confronting financial and emotional burdens in their move to U.S.
  • Journalists call out companies that pay women and minorities less than white men. It's a problem they face at work, too.
 Voices mentors  Frank Shyong , left, and  Jill Cowan  help their students come up with an story outline  on a project about the experiences of LGBTQ Asian Americans coming out.

Voices mentors Frank Shyong, left, and Jill Cowan help their students come up with an story outline  on a project about the experiences of LGBTQ Asian Americans coming out.

Larger focus on skills training

Students took part in pre-convention remote trainings, arming students with the skills to broaden their reporting repertoires at home – even with limited resources. Thanks to professionals in the AAJA network, our students participated in nine hours of remote training before arriving in Houston:

  1. Audio storytelling with Lauren Migaki, NPR
  2. Deepening Engagement with Julia Chan, Mother Jones
  3. Working with Data with Andrew Tran, Washington Post
  4. The Making of a Documentary with Jun Stinson, AJ+
  5. Story Arc Cinematic Workshop with Corinne Chin, Seattle Times
  6. Making a Recruiter's Life Easier with Marcello Sawyer, American Public Media
  7. Asking Better Questions with Katie Briggs, NPR
  8. The Business of News with Patricia Lee, New York Times
 Voices student  Amber Ly  works on her group project about refugees confronting financial and emotional burdens in their move to the United States.

Voices student Amber Ly works on her group project about refugees confronting financial and emotional burdens in their move to the United States.

On-Site in Houston

Once we got to Houston, we hit the ground running. In addition to finishing reporting and production of their projects, students will attend a Google News Lab training with Frank Bi of SBNation. In the media lab, Rafael Meza of the Associated Press will talk about internships and AAJA President Yvonne Leow will welcome students to the organization. A handful of students will take part in recruiting sessions with CNBC. Each student will have a one-on-one session with a Voices co-director to discuss their career goals.

As in years past, media organizations kindly sponsored lunches for small groups of students. These lunches give students a valuable opportunity to talk with professional journalists in an close setting. We'd like to thank our lunch sponsors:

  • Laura Isensee, KUHF
  • Mizanur Rahman, Houston Chronicle
  • Dolly Li, Goldthread
  • Amy Padnani, Sewell Chan, Ted Kim and Matt Stevens, The New York Times
  • Erin Ailworth, The Wall Street Journal
  • David Ono, ABC
  • Don Shelton, The Seattle Times
  • Andrew Tran, The Washington Post
  • Adam Kealoha Causey, Sally Ho and Rafael Meza, Associated Press
  • Tom Huang, Dallas Morning News
  • Corinne Chin, Seattle Times
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Meet Our Students

Join us as our 2018 Voices students present their collaborative editorial projects on Friday, Aug. 10 from 3 – 4:30 p.m. at the AAJA National Convention in Houston at River Oaks AB. Not in Houston? Follow Voices on Twitter for a livestream. Following the presentation, speak with our students one-on-one in the Voices area during the Silent Auction from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. in Houston III.

End the stigma: The impact of mental illness in AAPI communities

End the stigma: The impact of mental illness in AAPI communities

Missed deadline: The delayed promise of newsroom diversity

Missed deadline: The delayed promise of newsroom diversity