You are cordially invited to the
2016 South Asian Journalists Association's Awards Dinner

When: Saturday, July 16th, 2016
5:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.

Where: The National Press Club
529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20045

Join us as we honor the best of South Asian American media, featuring awards for the best coverage of the South Asian diaspora and South Asian journalists, and panel sessions with top journalists and media professionals. Learn about the SAJA Reporting Fellowship, which provides funding to support journalists covering the South Asian diaspora, and join a top-notch social media workshop in Washington, D.C. with incredible networking opportunities. 

You don't have to be South Asian or a journalist to attend.

Check out the sponsors, who made this event possible.

SAJA is thrilled to announce our panel for the evening:

Swati Sharma

Deputy General Assignment  Editor for The Washington Post
Previously, she was The Post's Foreign Digital Editor

Tasneem Raja

Senior Editor, NPR's Code Switch.
Previously, she led the data team at Mother Jones

S. Mitra Kalita

Vice president for programming at CNN Digital.
Previously, she was the managing editor for editorial strategy at the Los Angeles Times



You MUST register here:

Check out our Facebook page for updates!


This is a banquet-style dinner. Please dress in festive attire. Many attending will be wearing South Asian-style, but all styles are welcome. *There will be a special raffle for attendees wearing South Asian attire!*

Can't make it to Washington D.C. on July 16? Please consider supporting SAJA and its scholarship programs here.

Meet SAJA's Distinguished Award Finalists 

Daniel Pearl Award
Azmat Khan - BuzzFeed
Syed Zain Al-Mahmood - WSJ
Khurrum Anis - Bloomberg

Outstanding Enterprise Reporting
Jesse Pesta and Preetika Rana - WSJ
Joanna Sugden and Aditi Malhotra - WSJ
Ryan Devereux - The Intercept

Outstanding Business Story
Amy Yee - Roads and Kingdoms
Diksha Madhok - QZ
Raymond Zhong - WSJ

Outstanding Arts and Culture Reporting
Mansi Choksi - The New Yorker
Maria Tavernini + Photos by Andrea de Franciscis -
Rhitu Chatterjee - PRI

Outstanding Feature Story
Gordon Fairclough - WSJ
Natalie Obiko Pearson - Bloomberg
Sanam Maher - New York Times

Outstanding Photography
Smita Sharma - New York Times
Jason Motlagh - Blackbeard Films
Jese Pesta - WSJ

Outstanding Story on any Subject
Murtaza Hussain and Razan Ghalayini - The Intercept
Carolyn Disbrow - CNN
Lisa Desai and Yasmeen Qureshi - PBS

Outstanding Editorial/Op-Ed/Commentary on any Subject
Aisha Sultan - St. Louis Post Dispatch
Kavita Das - The Atlantic
Dipka Bhambhani - Daily Caller

Outstanding Story on any Subject by a South Asian Student in the U.S. or Canada
Nikita Sampath - Freelance
Vandana Rambaran - Journalism Without Walls
Paayal Zaveri - KQED News

Meet our 2016 Internship Fund Winners! 

Deepa Shivaram, George Washington University 

Deepa is a rising senior at George Washington University majoring in journalism and political science. She is an avid tweeter, snapchatter, and photographer. Through her experiences working at the GW Hatchet and NBC Washington, she has developed a passion for news production and aims to be a field producer. As a proud Indian American, Deepa strives to spark constructive conversation about race and culture through news. This summer, Deepa is interning at the BBC in their North America Bureau, shadowing reporters and learning the the ins and outs of the newsroom.

Aneri Pattani, Northeastern University 

Aneri Pattani is a journalism student at Northeastern University, who has held internships at the Boston Globe and the Hartford Courant. She aspires to be a data journalist, and will begin working toward that goal this summer by interning at the Texas Tribune.

Sneha Antony, Columbia Journalism School

Sneha Antony is a documentary filmmaking student at Columbia Journalism School. Her experience includes working as a digital content producer for KVUE-TV, the ABC-affiliate in Austin, Texas, interning at CBS4 in Denver and for ONA15 in Los Angeles. She has lived in Asia, Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Her international upbringing drew her to journalism where she aspires to tell the stories of people around the world through her videography. Sneha is honored to be selected as a recipient for the SAJA internship fund, which will support her video projects addressing women's issues during her fellowship at

Noreyana Fernando, Columbia Journalism School 

Noreyana Fernando, a 2016 graduate of Columbia Journalism School, will be a digital media intern at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society

Meet Our 2016 Scholarship Winners!

Graduate Scholarships - $5,000

Kazi Elman Awal, City University of New York

Kazi Awal is a

Master’s candidate at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalis

m in New York City. He is a native Brooklynite currently studying data visualizatio

ns/interactives and health and science reporting.  Fueled by a keen interest in finding the numbers that matter, he digs up data to unearth stories. He can also be found out on the s

treets, toting a DSLR, capturing moments unique to life in the insomniac city. Outside of journalism, though, there is nothing he enjoys more than the combination of good food, g


nd films, and gre

at friends.  

Aditi Malhotra, Columbia University

Aditi Malhotra is a reporter at The Wall Street Journal’s South Asia bureau. She joined the Journal in New Delhi in December 2012, six days before news broke out that a 23-year-old woman had been raped by a group of six men in the city, suffering injuries so severe that she succumbed to them. Aditi delved deep into the crime and worked on some of the award-winning coverage of the Journal on crimes against women. Besides crime, she has reported on a wide-range of topics from human rights to education, health, technology, arts and culture. Beginning this fall, Aditi will be pursuing the MA program at Columbia Journalism School. She will be specializing in health and environment reporting.

Pathik Root, Columbia University

Tik Root is a freelance journalist. He’s worked in Yemen, Spain, Rwanda, Russia and the US covering everything from Al-Qaeda to youth issues and faith based environmentalism. His work has appeared with The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and The Economist, among other outlets. He holds a B.A. in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College. This fall he plans to pursue an M.A. in Journalism at Columbia University, with a concentration in Science, Health & the Environment.

Nani Sahra Walker, University of California, Berkeley

Nani Sahra Walker works as a filmmaker, user experience designer and social entrepreneur. She was awarded the San Francisco FilmHouse Residency for her feature documentary "Other Nature" (2012) on third gender rights in Nepal and received an MTV Video Music Award (2015) for production design in Fall Out Boy's music video "Uma Thurman." Nani reports for AJ+ as a freelance video journalist. In 2015, Nani founded, a non-profit aimed to empower displaced populations with training and education. She is currently exploring virtual reality storytelling and content strategy at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. 

Undergraduate Scholarships - $3,000

Nitisha Baronia, University of California, Berkeley

Nitisha is an undergraduate Regents' and Chancellor's Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. Nitisha began her writing career with India West Newspaper as a high school student, and has loved journalism ever since. She currently serves as the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Berkeley Political Review, the only non-partisan political publication on the vibrant campus. In addition to writing, Nitisha works as Policy Coordinator for the ASUC Student Advocate's Office, advocating for student clients on campus. She is passionate about Asian American civil rights issues, and hopes to use her scholarship to bring untold narratives to the journalistic spotlight.

Aruna Dutt, University of Western Ontario

Born in Washington, D.C. and growing up in Canada, Aruna's interest in journalism and social justice evolved as she traveled to developing countries, leading her to combine these passions by pursuing a double major in Media in the Public Interest and Global Development at Western University. She spent two months at the United Nations bureau of the Interpress Service news agency, reporting on various LGBT, gender, and aboriginal issues, international politics and human rights. Now she is a junior, returning to New York to report from the United Nations bureau, and is taking over as Editor-in-Chief of her college magazine, The Regis.

Sudhanshu Kaushik, New York University

Sudhanshu Kaushik is currently pursuing an international relations degree and a degree in journalism at New York University. He founded a nonprofit, Equality Initiative, which provides education to children in rural India. He also founded a South Asian Literary and Journal magazine alongside a YouTube news show, Mann Marzi. He’s currently working on a documentary on the Haryana Panchayati Amendment Act called Swaraj. He wants to be happy yesterday, caffeinated today, and helping people tomorrow.

Aditi Mayer, University of California, Irvine

Aditi Mayer is a sophomore at UC Irvine double majoring in Literary Journalism and International Studies. Her work as a photojournalist is largely motivated by issues of social justice, women's rights, and the South Asian diaspora. This Spring, she will be traveling to La Paz, Mexico to cover issues relating to girl's education and urban development. In addition to freelance reporting, she runs her own blog,, which highlights her photography, travel, and the intersection between style and social action.

Jasmine Rashid, Swarthmore College

Jasmine Rashid, born and raised on Long Island, graduated from Farmingdale High School and currently attends Swarthmore College, class of 2018. At Swarthmore College, Ms. Rashid is exploring academia through a variety of lenses, including Peace and Conflict Studies, Sociology, Political Science, and Behavioral Economics. From an early age, she has been dedicated to working towards justice in marginalized communities, and focuses much of her writing, passion, and action on exposing racial inequities, advocating the importance of gender equity, and detailing narratives of those strategizing against violence in South Asia and the global community at large. Additionally, Ms. Rashid is the creator of VISIBILITY Magazine, an online publication produced by the Swarthmore Intercultural Center.

Devi Shastri, Marquette University

Devi Shastri is a junior at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she studies biomedical sciences, journalism and neuroscience. As a first-generation Indian-American, she takes pride in her ties to her Indian (Gujarati) roots and the Chicagoan lifestyle she was born and raised in. An aspiring science writer, she enjoys translating complicated topics for the general public. She aims to add a human element to every story and believes that scientific literacy is essential to social equality. She has interned for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, Marquette’s O’Brien Fellowship and will spend this summer in D.C. interning with Science Magazine.

High School Scholarship - $2,000

Elizabeth Varghese, Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School

Elizabeth Varghese is an Indian-American high school senior from Plainview-Old Bethpage, NY and will be attending the George Washington University’s 7-Year BA/MD Program in the fall. She is currently the editor-in-chief of her school’s newspaper, the Hawk Eye, and a writer for Brown Girl Magazine. Elizabeth is passionate about gender equality and social justice, as well as exploring the unknown through science research. She has spent many of her summers working in laboratories studying a variety of disciplines, from bioengineering to molecular biology. Elizabeth is also a Bharatanatyam dancer who loves to read during her spare time.

SAJA's 2016-2017 Board

Jan 14, 2015, New York, NY—The board of directors of SAJA, the South Asian Journalists Association (@sajahq), appointed a new executive committee at its first meeting of the year in January. 

Anusha Shrivastava (@AnushaCU), career management officer at Columbia University’s Department of Statistics and faculty adviser for the SAJA student group at the university, returns for a second term as president. Shefali Kulkarni (@ShefaliKulkarni), audience engagement producer at BBC News North America, was elected as vice president. Kamini Ramdeen (@KaminiRamdeen), assistant managing editor at The Odyssey and managing editor at Brown Girl Magazine, was elected as secretary. Financial risk advisor at KPMG and former broadcast journalist, Divya Singaravelu (@Divya_158), was elected as treasurer. And Sovy Azhath (@SovyProducer), former SAJA president and producer/ writer at CNN Headline News, was elected as officer-at-large.

Other board members include: Sharaf Mowjood (@Mowjood), a producer at The Huffington Post, Geetika Rudra (@GGGeetika), domain expert at Dataminr, Trisha Sakhuja (@Tsakhuja13), content manager at and editor-in-chief at Brown Girl Magazine, Aarti Virani (@aartivirani), freelance arts and culture writer and contributing editor at Vogue India, and SAJA co-founder and chief digital officer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sree Sreenivasan (@sree).

“I am excited to be back on the SAJA Board as President. This is my second term leading a very dedicated and hard-working group of volunteers who help improve coverage of South Asia and mentor young journalists,” said Shrivastava.

“We plan to have several events, including panels and workshops for mid-career journalists, and newsroom visits throughout the year. Please reach out to us with ideas and feedback,” she added.

“Having been a member of SAJA since 2003, I've seen SAJA grow and adapt to journalism's changing landscape. SAJA prides itself on its relationship with its members and creating a community that can learn from one another,” said Kulkarni.

Get Involved!

The new board hopes you will get involved with SAJA activities in 2016.
As always, please send ideas, tips, and suggestions to


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