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  • 2024-05-09 1:26 PM | sree sreenivasan (Administrator)

    May 8, 2024

    SAJA, the South Asian Journalists Association, would like to express its support and admiration for the tireless efforts of student journalists covering the recent and ongoing protests on campuses around the U.S. 

    As places to learn, grow, and produce high quality work, student-led news outlets are a crucial part of the journalism ecosystem. And, as police and government agencies are called onto campuses, these newsrooms and journalists are also on the frontlines of press freedom. 

    We encourage all student journalists to keep up the good work and we will continue to support your efforts.


    ABOUT US: SAJA, founded in March 1994 with 18 members, represents 1,000+ journalists of South Asian origin working in the US and Canada. It serves as a network for education, inspiration and training for those journalists and those covering South Asia and South Asian diaspora. SAJA aims to upgrade the coverage of South Asia and uplift the standards of journalism. Over the years, SAJA has given out more than $400,000 in scholarships and fellowships.
    Our 30th anniversary conference and gala awards dinner is Oct 11-12 in NYC.
    More info at · X: @sajaHQ · IG: @thesajaoffial

  • 2024-02-07 9:18 PM | sree sreenivasan (Administrator)

    Greetings from SAJA’s 2024 Board:

    The South Asian Journalists Association is back with a brand-new board and officers, a roadmap of social events coming your way, new journalistic opportunities for career growth, and more.

    This year marks 30 years of SAJA. We are immensely proud of how much our nonprofit has grown over the decades since its humble beginnings, from our many galas, events, and newsroom visits to networking with our members across different cities and highlighting our members' important work. 

    Between an eroding trust in journalism and layoffs at every turn, the media is in a clear state of crisis. This underscores how critical it is for SAJA to exist as a resource for our growing diaspora of South Asian journalists across the U.S. and Canada to provide support, mentorship and nurture our community.

    Be sure to look out for future communications regarding the 30th anniversary – we can’t wait to celebrate with you. In addition, we plan to continue expanding our existing programs, create and surface new events and opportunities for our members, and communicate information regarding grants and fellowships.

    With a thriving new board and events on the horizon, we look forward to the year ahead with you all. Please don’t hesitate to reach out  with any questions or feedback.

    Are you receiving this email and not a member of SAJA yet? Register to become a member today. 

    Last December, current SAJA members voted for its 2024 board – you can find the new slate of members here. On Jan. 21, 2024, our first board meeting took place in-person and via Zoom, where the following board members have taken on leadership roles via a unanimous vote of the Board:



    Sree, the selfie king, with the board. From left, Sree, Allana, Karen, John, Pia, Tania, Priya and Mihir (other SAJA Board members attending remotely: Mythili, Divya, Sabrina, Jenn). And the Executive Committee: Sree, Priya, John, Tania and Allana.

    A message from Sree, our new President and SAJA co-founder:

    Dear SAJA members, colleagues and friends:

    I know some of you are surprised to learn that I am back as SAJA President, 20 years after stepping down as inaugural President and a dozen years after leaving the Board. I decided to run for the Board and stand for President for several reasons.

    Almost everything I've gotten in my career — including some of my dearest friends — has been a result of my work with this wonderful organization. When I exited the board, I expected to just cheer from afar for the rest of my life. 

    But in this SAJA’s 30th anniversary year, I’ve learned that cheering from afar isn’t that helpful. At a time when journalism and journalists are facing everything from financial disaster to widespread disinformation and attacks on their legitimacy, SAJA must continue to play a critical role in helping its members and the profession at large. 

    My wonderful Board colleagues (which include three former Presidents) are already planning this year’s activities and we look forward to working with our members and partner organizations on continuing our existing programs and adding exciting new ones.
    Here’s how you can help:

    • Send us your ideas, needs, suggestions at (also looking for your career updates, moves, etc).

    • We are one of the few major journalism organizations that is 100 percent volunteer-run, so we need all the help we can get.

    • Encourage friends to sign up for membership (you don’t have to be South Asian to be a member) and renew your own!

    • We will be giving out tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships, fellowships and more, so we will need sponsors and donors. If you’d like to be a sponsor this year, please write to If you can make a donation now or later, please do.

    Looking forward to working with you all!
    – Sree Sreenivasan


    • SAJA-NY Event: Amitav Ghosh at Asia Society

      • On Thursday, February 29 at 6:30pm ET, join SAJA and Asia Society for a conversation and book signing with award-winning author Amitav Ghosh. At this event, Ghosh will discuss his latest book, Smoke and Ashes, which was named a Most Anticipated Book of 2024 by Foreign Policy, Literary Hub, and the Millions. The conversation will be moderated by professor and former BBC journalist Razia Iqbal.
      • Purchase your tickets here. Can’t make it to NYC? The event will be recorded and available online the next day. 
    • A message from the IIJF

      • The Institute for Independent Journalists Foundation is conducting a census of journalists who were laid off and bought out recently. If you’ve experienced a journalism layoff or buyout in the past year, the survey needs your input.  It should take 5-7 minutes to complete.
    • SAJA-Knowledge @Wharton

    • Join NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists for their 4th annual Student Conference

      • This virtual gathering will take place February 23-24, and will include 10+ informational sessions as well as an Internship and Career Fair. Students and early-career journalists will have the opportunity to learn from industry experts, connect with fellow student journalists and with recruiters from top news organizations, and to explore the intersections of the media world and LGBTQ+ identities. 
      • In addition, students who actively participate in the conference will receive a $25 discount on registration for the 2024 National Convention in Los Angeles! 
      • Registration is available here and is free for NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists Student Members and $25 for non-members. 
    • Free webinar: “Transforming political reporting and putting people first.”

      • On Tuesday, 2/6 from 12-1pm ET, join the Knight Center’sfree webinar, "Putting the Public First in Political Coverage," in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network. This one-hour webinar, along with a free online course on elections coverage in April, will offer valuable insights into effective political reporting.
      • The webinar, moderated by Jaisal Noor, Democracy Initiative Manager at the Solutions Journalism Network, will include the following distinguished panelists:
    • Jay Rosen, journalism professor at New York University
    • Natalie Van Hoozer, bilingual journalist at KUNR Public Radio
    • Hugo Balta, accredited Solutions Journalism trainer and publisher at Latino News Network
    • Elliot Wade, community reporter at The Current

    In the news:

    • CUNY’s Newmark School of Journalism on path to be tuition-free. Our friends at the Newmark School, who have hosted many SAJA events over the years, aim to become the first top-tier graduate journalism school in the United States to offer fully free tuition in perpetuity to its entire student body. Congrats to former SAJA President Sandeep Junnarkar and other faculty and staff.

    Be sure to follow SAJA on InstagramLinkedIn XThreads


  • 2023-12-21 2:34 PM | Mihir Zaveri (Administrator)

    The South Asian Journalists Association is pleased to announce the election of three new members to its Board for 2024, as well as the reelection of two existing members.

    Joining the board are Sree Sreenivasan, Allana Akhtar, Divya Karthikeyan, and Tania Rahman. Sreenivasan helped found SAJA in 1994 and will help the organization celebrate its 30th year. 

    The two returning board members are current President Mythili Sampathkumar and Treasurer John Laxmi. 

    The new slate of board members, effective January 1, 2024, is listed below with their terms:

    • Allana Akhtar, Business Insider, New York (2024-25)
    • Jennifer Chowdhury, Freelancer, New York (2023-24)
    • Divya Karthikeyan, Louisville Public Radio (2023-24)
    • John Laxmi, Freelancer, Atlanta (2024-25)
    • Karen Mahabir, Associated Press, New York (2023-24)
    • Sabrina Malhi, Washington Post, Washington DC (2023-24)
    • Tania Rahman, Fast Company, New York (2024-25)
    • Mythili Sampathkumar, Freelancer, New York (2024-25)
    • Pia Sarkar, Associated Press, Philadelphia (2023-24)
    • Sree Sreenivasan, Digimentors, New York (2024-25)
    • Priyanka Vora, Axios, New York (2023-24)
    • Mihir Zaveri, New York Times, New York (2023-24)


  • 2023-11-20 6:25 PM | Mihir Zaveri (Administrator)

    We're pleased to announce the winners of this year's SAJA awards, who were recognized for their outstanding coverage of South Asia and the diaspora. The winners and finalists were announced at our annual event in New York City on Nov. 4.

    Congrats to all the winners and finalists!

    The Daniel Pearl Award

    Winner: Washington Post’s "In Modi's India, an Empire Built on Coal"
    Judge’s citation: “A deeply reported investigative piece about the man behind the country’s coal empire and his ties to the ruling BJP" and "The reporting and writing are stellar."

    Business Reporting

    Winner: Katie McQue’s story "Abuses on U.S. bases in Persian Gulf ensnare legions of migrant workers," published by the Washington Post and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
    Judge's citation: First, the narrative hinges on an extraordinarily well-researched foundation that brings to light the conditions of thousands of migrant workers, hemmed in by a snarl of abusive practices perpetuated by defense contractors. The reporter’s investigative diligence in exposing passport confiscation, exorbitant recruitment fees, and the stifling inability to change jobs, reflect a firm commitment to journalistic ethics and the pursuit of truth.
    The shackles that bind these workers to their jobs, particularly through the withholding of "release papers" by employers, are meticulously reported in the story. It offers readers a grim view into an almost feudal system of modern employment -- in violation of working norms and possibly labor laws in the U.S.
    Moreover, the story digs deep into the operations of the contracting firms, which have seemingly turned a blind eye to such inhumane practices despite being aware of them. The plight of workers, some of whom are buried under the weight of recruitment debts running into thousands, while earning a pittance, is captured with heart-wrenching clarity. It compels readers to question the integrity and ethics of the system at large.
    The story examines the attempted reforms in Gulf nations like Qatar, highlighting the systemic inadequacies and the lack of employer compliance that continue to thwart any meaningful change. This story challenges the status quo, urging a reconsideration of military contracting models that seemingly engender such abuse.
    With a balanced blend of investigative rigor, compassionate storytelling, and a bold confrontational stance towards systemic flaws, this story stands head and shoulders above the rest, making it a deserving recipient of the 2023 SAJA award for outstanding business journalism.

    Runners up:

    • India's tech sector has a caste problem by Raksha Kumar, Rest of the World
    • The Harsh Realities of Where Your Amazon Packaging Ends Up by K. Oanh Ha, Taimoor Sobhan and Lisa Yuriko Thomas, Bloomberg
    Arts, Culture, and Lifestyle

    Winner: “How a YouTube channel is transforming a remote village in Bangladesh,” by Nilesh Christopher and Faisal Mahmud, Rest of World

    Judges’ citation: The judges were impressed with the multilayered reporting and the visceral language and images that undergird Christopher and Mahmud’s extrapolation of a cultural curiosity into something of news value. Their story identified a fascinating digital trend in remote Bangladesh – and went there. The result was an account that weaves a very online story with one of place. The reporting, writing and visuals are equally excellent and insightful. The narrative opens with a journey that takes the reader into a specific world, and is well-sourced on the impact of this blend of tradition and technology on this one village as well as on the wider picture. The judges appreciated how contemporary the news peg was, avoiding retreading the same cultural ground about South Asians to tell a wholly new – and just plain interesting – story with wider implications.

    Runners up:

    • “The Taliban can’t stop TikTik in Afghanistan” (WIRED)
    • “Asian faiths try to save swastika corrupted by Hitler” (AP)
    Breaking News

    Winner: "Civilian Uprising in Sri Lanka that Toppled a President," Niha Masih, Hafeel Farisz, The Washington Post

    Judges citation: “Niha Masih and Hafeel Farisz of The Washington Post chronicled a chaotic and consequential moment in Sri Lanka featuring economic upheaval, mass protests and political change. With crisp and clear writing about fast-moving events, the reporters captured the events on the ground with sweep and sophistication. They also took us into the lives of ordinary Sri Lankans and the causes of wide-ranging displeasure across the population.”

    Runners up:

    • The New York Times coverage of flooding in Pakistan
    • CBC coverage of an attack
    International Reporting

    Winner: "The sextortion scammers of rural India," Kapil Kajal, Rest of World

    Runners up:

    • 2022 is already the deadliest year for journalists in Mexico, Paroma Soni, Columbia Journalism Review
    • Atul Loke, The New York Times
    Student Journalism

    Winner: Pavithra Rajesh, for “Indigenous identity crisis: Who has the right to claim they are Taíno?”
    Runners up:

    Judge's citation: "Novel topic, learnt something new, loved the accompanying visuals” and "I learned a lot from this story of Taino culture and identity. Kudos to the reporter for being able to report on this story with nuance and sensitivity, a tough task.”

  • 2023-11-13 3:25 PM | Mihir Zaveri (Administrator)

    Care about how the media covers South Asia? Interested in making a difference in the journalism industry? Then run for a position on the SAJA board!

    We will have five open positions on the SAJA board for the two-year term beginning in 2024. Read on to see how to become a candidate.

    What you need to know:

    • Only Full Members are eligible to run for a position on the board. Associate Members and Student Members are NOT eligible to contest. 
    • It's important to bring a spirit of teamwork and leadership -- skills that you will develop while serving your term!
    • Be prepared to commit between 3 to 5 hours each week on activities ranging from organizing events to judging applications for awards and scholarships. 
    • Board members elected by the board to serve as part of SAJA’s Executive Committee (i.e., president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and communications officer) will be required to contribute more.
    • Board members serve as volunteers without compensation. 
    • All board members will be required to attend (preferably in person) four to six board meetings held throughout the year. Board meetings last anywhere from half an hour to several hours.

    How to run:

    Each candidate must complete this form, portions of which will be made public to all SAJA members. The completed form, which includes a candidates statement, must be submitted by 11:59pm (EST) on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023.

    Once the statements are posted online, votes will be gathered through online voting and in-person voting at SAJA’s annual members’ meeting on Dec. 8. Candidates who win the largest number of votes will be ranked in order to fill the open positions, with the election results announced at the annual meeting.

    For questions about running or serving on the board, email Mihir Zaveri at

  • 2023-11-12 12:41 PM | Mihir Zaveri (Administrator)

    The South Asian Journalists Association is inviting members to the Annual Members Meeting on Dec. 15, 2023  at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

    The meeting will be held virtually, and a Zoom registration link will be sent to members and posted here.


    1. Reports of Board of Directors to members: Annual financial report, annual membership report, major programs and activities from 2023
    2. Election to fill 5 vacancies (see notice below) and announcement of results.  Full members may vote in person at the annual meeting or vote online ahead of the meeting (the names of the candidates and their statements will be posted online prior to the Annual Meeting.) Only full members may vote. 


    It is time to weigh in and vote!  For the upcoming two-year term (2024-2025), you will decide which five candidates will serve on the Board, joining six continuing board members.

    The names and credentials of contestants for the five vacant positions on the Board will be announced and posted here, prior to the Annual Meeting.  


    Voting (online) will run through 6 p.m. on Dec. 15, when SAJA will hold its Annual Members Meeting at which votes will be tallied and results announced.

    If you have any questions, please contact one of the following Board Members:

    Mythilli Samapatkumar at

    Priyanka Vora at

    Mihir Zaveri at

  • 2023-09-04 3:21 PM | Mihir Zaveri (Administrator)

    It's our pleasure to award more than $20,000 to a dozen promising student journalists this year.

    Read a bit more about each of them:

    Soulet Ali
    Columbia University

    Soulet Qureshi Ali is an incoming Master’s Student in Global Thought at Columbia University. They received their Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy at the University of Chicago and is currently writing a collection of non-fiction essays on Islamophobia, anti-South Asian racism, and corresponding human rights violations in the East Asian context as a 2023 writing fellow for Kweli Journal. During their Master’s Studies they plan to continue this line of dual academic and journalistic inquiry to spotlight the global Othering of Islam, Muslims, and the South Asian diaspora through frameworks beyond western imperialism, the War on Terror, and the US as a global exporter of anti-Muslim and anti-South Asian sentiment by highlighting under-recognized East Asian ideologies of ethnic-national chauvinism and racial supremacies(s) that undergird the growing prevalence of Islamophobia and anti-South Asian racism in the respective regions and diasporas.

    Ankit Khadgi
    School of the Art Institute of Chicago

    Ankit Khadgi (he/they) is a Nepali queer journalist and writer. Currently, based in Chicago, they are passionate about using their platform to highlight issues of caste, gender, sexuality, and issues of social justice.

    Najifa Farhat
    University of Montana

    Originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh, Najifa has been an environmental journalist for over three years in her home. With three years of experience in journalism, she dedicated herself to covering major environmental issues in Bangladesh, including industrial pollution, human-wildlife conflict, water crises, climate change impacts on marginalized communities, and environmental policies. Currently, she is pursuing a master's in the Environment and Natural Resource Journalism Program at the University of Montana. Despite having no formal education in environment or science, she was deeply motivated to pursue environmental journalism due to her homeland’s vulnerability due to the impact of climate change. She is guilty of enjoying her science classes a little more than the journalism classes because it intrigues her curiosity and sharpens her efforts of simple storytelling on complex matters.

    Growing up near a prominent river in Bangladesh, she developed a deep appreciation for the intricate interconnectedness between water resources, humanity, and the natural world. With her anticipated graduation in the spring of 2024, she envisions a future where she can bring to light the stories of individuals worldwide who are grappling with the far-reaching consequences of climate change, with a particular emphasis on South Asia

    Chaya Tong
    Emory University

    Chaya Tong is a rising junior at Emory University majoring in English and biology. She is a writer and editor for her campus newspaper, The Emory Wheel, and a student researcher with The Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project, investigating racially motivated murders in Georgia during the modern civil rights era. She is currently interning as a reporting fellow with The Investigative Reporting Workshop in Washington D.C.

    Agnee Ghosh
    UC Berkeley

    Agnee Ghosh is an independent journalist reporting on the intersection of beats such as climate change, public health, and gender. Her work has appeared in leading news publications like BBC Future, National Public Radio, Undark, Logic magazine, Women’s Media Center, Ms. Magazine, Atmos, Vice, AFAR, The New Humanitarian, and others. She has written long-form features, profiles, and investigations into the various ways that the political power structures affect the most marginalized among us — the gig workers, the tiger widows, the covid widows, the ASHA workers, and several others.

    Jessica Chen

    Jessica Chihning Chen is a Taiwanese multimedia journalist, activist, and researcher focused on emergent dimensions of press freedom in Asia. She is an executive producer, bilingual host, and program reporter in the international center of Mirror News. She will be attending Columbia Journalism School starting in the fall of 2023.

    She has reported on refugee and immigrant workers for Apple Daily in Hong Kong and Taiwan. She filmed documentaries about exiled Tibetan in India, indigenous artists and their resistance movement for Mirror News. Her work as an international journalist on the suppression of Hong Kong's free press has recently been nominated for Taiwan's most prestigious journalism prize, the Vivian Wu Journalism Award.

    Pavithra Rajesh

    Pavithra Rajesh (she/her) is a master's student in Northeastern University's Media Innovation and Data Communication program. She recently received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, also from Northeastern. She has previously worked at The Christian Science Monitor and the Detroit Free Press, through the Dow Jones News Fund, and is currently interning at Bloomberg Industry Group for the summer. She is working toward a career in multimedia journalism, hoping to combine tools from writing to data visualizations to together tell impactful stories.

    Shaanth Nanguneri

    Shaanth Kodialam Nanguneri is an incoming junior at the University of California, Los Angeles where they study Geography and Communication. They are a senior staff reporter at their campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin, previously serving as features and student life News editor. They were a reporting intern for the Orange County Register, covering Asian American communities and local news. Now, they write for the Sacramento Bee's Equity Lab, covering Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. 

    Tehsin Pala

    Tehsin Pala is a student in the joint Global Journalism and International Relations Program at New York University. With a passion for writing and a drive to address political turmoil and minority oppression, she has found her calling in journalism. As an intersectional feminist, she also holds a Post-graduate Diploma in Women’s and Gender Studies. Tehsin has interned with The People's Archive of Rural India, documenting the art of the 'Rathwa' tribe in remote areas of Gujarat. She has also collaborated with NGOs such as Saukhyam Reusable Pads and Zidni Ilma Charitable Trust, and worked as a freelancer for LiveWire and Smashboard. Tehsin aims to shed light on human rights violations, particularly those affecting women, through her future work.

    Preety Sharma
    University of Toronto

    Preety Sharma is a freelance public health consultant, researcher, and writer in GTA.  Preety holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public and a Masters in Health Management (MBA) from IIHMR University, Jaipur, India. She has more than a decade of experience working with top academic institutions, international NGOs and UN agencies in India and Canada. She also teaches global health in leading academic institutions. Preety will be pursuing Dalla Lana Fellowship in Journalism and Health Impact from Dalla Lana School of Public Health in the upcoming fall. Currently she is also volunteering with Results Canada as a Fellow and actively publishing LTEs and Op-eds in leading Canadian dailies.

    Raiha Zainab

    The New School

    Raiha Zainab is a senior liberal arts student at The New School studying journalism, international affairs, and social innovation. Her research focuses on human trafficking in the South Asian garment industry, and she is interested in investigative international human rights journalism. In NYC, Raiha works as a typewriter poet with Ars Poetica, where she writes poems for strangers on the spot. She regularly performs at open mics and runs her own poetry community. She loves to travel and has traveled to over 14 countries across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. She can often be found roaming the streets of random cities and writing in coffee shops. You can follow along with her adventures on Instagram @raiwanders. 

  • 2023-08-13 3:22 PM | Mihir Zaveri (Administrator)

    Hope you caught us this year at the Asian American Journalist Association's national convention! SAJA members were on a number of panels. And if you did not catch us this year, be sure to attend next year, where we hope to again be out in force!

    SAJA presented a panel about covering the South Asian experience in the United States, featuring president Mythili Sampathkumar, board members Farnoush Amiri and Sabrina Malhi, New York City-based journalist Samira Asma-Sadeque, and Maham Javaid, a reporter at the Washington Post.

    Farnoush, who covers Congress for the AP, also participated on a panel about reporting on the Hill!

  • 2023-08-09 1:39 PM | Mihir Zaveri (Administrator)

    The Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists, now in its 55th year, offers participants an opportunity to expand their business knowledge and increase their exposure to leading experts in a stimulating environment. Through intensive lectures and hands-on exercises, the program, led by the Wharton School’s most prominent professors such as Jeremy Siegel and Olivia Mitchell, helps participants gain a better understanding of key business and economic issues. 

    The program runs October 16-18, 2023.

    Application deadline: September 18, 2023

    More information here.

  • 2023-02-24 11:08 AM | Mihir Zaveri (Administrator)

    Netflix cordially invites members of the South Asian Journalists Association and their families to screenings of the Oscar®-nominated Short Documentary Film, The Elephant Whisperers.

    Four screenings:

    • SoHo House — 29-35 9th Ave, 7:00pm Wednesday, March 1, in person Q&A with director Kartiki Gonsalves to follow
    • Paris Theater — 4 W 58th St, Saturday, February 25 at 2:00pm; Saturday, March 4 at 2:00pm; Sunday, March 5 at 2:00pm

    SAJA members may RSVP by sending an email with “SAJA Member” in the subject line to:

    Space is limited. All RSVPs must be confirmed via email in order to attend.  

    Invitation is non-transferrable.

    The Elephant Whisperers follows an indigenous couple as they fall in love with Raghu, an orphaned elephant given into their care, and tirelessly work to ensure his recovery and survival. The film highlights the beauty of the wild spaces in South India and the people and animals who share this space. 

    Directed by

    Kartiki Gonsalves

    Produced by

    Guneet Monga and Ajin Jain

    Executive Produced by

    Douglas Blush and Kartiki Gonsalves

    Note: Screenings of The Elephant Whisperers at the Paris Theater start at 2:00pm and are part of a double feature documentary program with the Netflix Oscar nominated short documentary The Martha Mitchell Effect. SAJA members are welcome to screen one or both films.

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