What Is AAJA?

Founded in 1981, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational and professional organization with more than 1,500 members across the United States and Asia.

AAJA uses the term Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to embrace all who identify with one or more of the dozens of nationalities and ethnic groups in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific Islands. We use this term to refer to our communities at large, as well as to our membership.

AAJA is committed to diversity in order to incorporate different viewpoints into newsrooms across the country.

AAJA’s Mission

  • To provide a means of association and support among AAPI journalists, and to advance AAPI journalists as news managers and media executives
  • To provide encouragement, information, advice and scholarship assistance to AAPI students who aspire to professional journalism careers
  • To provide to the AAPI community an awareness of news media and an understanding of how to gain fair access
  • To research and point out when news media organizations stray from accuracy and fairness in the coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and AAPI issues

AAJA’s History

AAJA was founded in 1981 by a small group of AAPI journalists in Los Angeles: Tritia Toyota and Frank Kwan of KNBC; Bill Sing, Nancy Yoshihara and David Kishiyama of the Los Angeles Times; and Dwight Chuman of Rafu Shimpo. They felt a need to support one another, encourage more Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to pursue journalism and improve their representation in the media.

AAJA’s expansion into a truly national organization took off in 1985 with the formation of additional local affiliates. Today, the organization’s 19 U.S. chapters stretch from Hawaii to the West Coast (San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland and Seattle), the Midwest (Chicago, Michigan and Minnesota), the East Coast (New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New England) and the South (Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Atlanta and Florida).

In addition, AAJA has a growing number of members working throughout Asia, which underscores the rapid growth of media properties in Asia and points the way to future expansion of the organization.

Close to one-third of AAJA’s members are students, attesting to the organization’s emphasis on bringing young people into the news business.

AAJA is proud to include among its members some of the top journalists in the country, from network television news anchors and reporters to Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, editors and photographers, to national radio producers and major magazine editors.

(Adapted from the national AAJA website)