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  • 2013-04-10 8:37 PM | Anonymous
    SAJA Career Expo at the AAJA National Convention: Early Bird Special Deadline Is April 12th

    Hurry members! The deadline to get our Early Bird discount for the AAJA National Convention Career Expo is April 12th!

    SAJA members will have a special one day rate ($150) on Friday August 23, 2013 with complete access to the job fair as well as workshops, panel discussions, and AAJA's silent auction later that night.

    Those interested in attending the full AAJA National Convention from Wednesday Aug 21st - Saturday Aug 24th can get a SAJA discount rate as well.

    You will need to register through the AAJA Convention site. 

    To register, please follow the guidelines on this link:

    Career Fair & Expo/Convention Registration

    The discount code for SAJA members is SAJA2013, to be entered at the check-out page.

    Registration Dates & Prices Below:

    Day rate for Friday, August 23rd before April 12th - $150
    Day rate for Friday, August 23rd after April 12th - $175
    Full-Early Bird Convention rate before April 12th - $225
    Full-Pre-Convention rate after April 12th - $300
    Full Onsite rate after June 14th - $375

    Any questions, please direct them to AAJA office at 415.346.2051, ext. 105, or email at
    Send In Your Submissions: Deadline For SAJA Awards Is April 21st

    We need your submissions! The deadline for this years' SAJA Awards is Sunday, April 21st.

    We invite individual journalists and news organizations in North America to submit entries for this year's SAJA Journalism Awards.

    This award recognizes excellence in coverage of South Asia, as well as outstanding reporting by South Asian journalists and students in the U.S. and Canada.
    SAJA Board Member presents a SAJA Award to Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann

    The 2013
     Awards, which are open to journalists, media companies and freelancers headquartered in the U.S. and Canada, consist of the following categories:

    For journalists (including freelancers) working for media outlets based in North America:

    Submissions can include print articles, editorials, photographs and new media pieces published, and broadcasts aired, in 2012.

    ENTRY FEE (entries without payment will NOT be processed): $50

    We have eliminated the entry fee for students, but will accept only one submission per student.

    You can submit by clicking on the categories above or going to

    Any questions or if you are interested in volunteering to judge this years' awards please email SAJA Board Member Anup Kaphle at

    (Please address your email with "SAJA Awards 2013" or "SAJA Judge" in the subject line)

    NEW: SAJA Internship Fund Is Now Taking Applications

    Calling all students! Got an unpaid or partially paid internship lined up this summer? A
    little financial help from SAJA's Internship Fund, to meet basic expenses, will help you gain valuable experience and clips.

    This year, 
    SAJA will grant up to $4,500 distributed among three students who have already secured internships, but may find it difficult to accept because they are partially paid or unpaid. This is a need-based grant. Up to three students will receive a minimum of $1,500 each for the summer.

    Students from all mediums (newspaper, magazine, radio, TV and new media) will be considered.

    To apply, first register here:

    To complete your application, email with the following supporting materials:

    1. A copy of your offer letter.

    2. A copy of your resume.

    3. Attachments or links to 3-5 clips.

    4. Answers to the following questions (300 words or less each):

    a. What has driven your interest in SAJA, South Asia or the diaspora?

    b. How have you been involved with SAJA thus far?

    c. Detail the expenses you will incur to pursue this internship.

    d. Detail your financial need for this grant.

    e. Detail any other sources of funding you are receiving for this internship.

    Applications are due at 11:59 P.M. Saturday, June 1st, 2013.
    Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

    Visit for complete details on the program.
    Please contact SAJA Secretary Shefali Kulkarni at with questions or to send supporting application materials.

    SAJA Comes To Your City!

    SAJA is looking to come to a city near you! In the past we've hosted events in New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Seattle, Las Vegas, Boston, Bay Area and Toronto. And we would love to host a happy hour, mixer, panel, informational session, or any other event that will help benefit our North American members. We love hearing from our members and want to collaborate with all of you.

    If you are interested in hosting an event in your city please feel free to contact SAJA President Sovy Azhath at or SAJA Secretary Shefali Kulkarni at

  • 2013-03-25 1:37 PM | Anonymous

    Dear SAJA friends,

    Thank you to all who donated for our Broadcast Challenge fundraiser. We are pleased to officially announce that we surpassed our goal of reaching the $10,000 mark and this wouldn't be possible without the support and help from you!

    Because we reached our goal of raising $10K, this will be matched dollar-to-dollar by some of the top South Asian
    broadcast journalists from around the country. All the funds we receive go directly back to SAJA, as it will help us fund more for scholarships, internships, reporting fellowship grants, workshops for mid-career reporters and a variety of other events for our members across the U.S. and Canada.

    In 2010, SAJA gave away a total of $17,000 in scholarships; in 2011, we hit $36,000; in 2012, we hit $50,000. We kept the momentum going this year by now giving away a total of $60,000 in scholarship
    and internship funds. These funds will help young South Asian journalists and students advance their media careers.

    Last year, we completed an Editors' Challenge and now we've accomplished our goal in the Broadcast Challenge. This shows how much SAJA has grown and expanded to other forms of media in the United States and Canada.

    Personally, the Broadcast Challenge was a special fundraiser to organize because as South Asians in the broadcast field, both Vice President Sharaf Mowjood of NBC News and I, Sovy Azhath, of CNN/HLN felt that this helped represent the South Asian community’s role in television and radio media.

    Thank you for all the help and support you have given us throughout the years. And we are always looking to hear your feedback and ideas. Please feel free to email us at:

    Sovy Azhath:

    Sharaf Mowjood:


    We are excited to plan even more notable career-focused events in the near future. Stay tuned!


    Sovy Azhath

    President, South Asian Journalists Association

    CNN Headline News Producer/Writer

    Sharaf Mowjood

    Vice President, South Asian Journalists Association

    Associate Producer for NBC's Rock Center w/ Brian Williams
  • 2013-03-15 3:49 PM | Anonymous
    Final Day: Broadcast Challenge Ends TONIGHT- March 15th.

    Today's the last day of the SAJA Broadcast Challenge and we need all the help we can get to raise funds for scholarships, reporting grants, workshops for mid-career reporters and a variety of other events for our members. Top South Asian broadcast journalists from around the country have offered to match donation SAJA receives from its members. Their special pool of money will match, dollar-for-dollar, all donations made, up to a total of $10,000.

    Please chip in! No amount is too small! You can donate here via credit care or Paypal:

    Any checks made out to us should be to SAJA Group Inc. and should be mailed to:

    John Laxmi, Treasurer

    17 Cotswood Road

    Greenwich, CT 06830

    All donations must be sent to SAJA Group, Inc. (not to SAJA). Donations to SAJA are NOT tax deductible.

    SAJA Group, Inc. is a tax-exempt charitable organization which supports SAJA's programs and activities. Donations to SAJA Group, Inc. are tax deductible under current laws. SAJA Group, Inc.'s Federal tax ID number is: 55-0844632 and New York State ID is 20-70-28.

  • 2013-03-15 3:47 PM | Anonymous

    Dear SAJA Members,

    We are branching out into the Pacific Northwest with a great social media event! But if you are interested in hosting a SAJA event wherever you are--we are always eager to connect with journalists from around the country--please feel free to email our President, Sovy Azhath, at or our Secretary, Shefali Kulkarni, at for any help or questions.

    SAJA Comes To Seattle: Social Media One Night Stand
    Hello Seattle!
    SAJA along with The University of Washington Communication Leadership Program will co-host a Social Media One-Night Stand with Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia University's Chief Digital Officer and CNET News Blogger. This event is also in partnership with the Seattle Times and the Seattle chapters of SPJ and AAJA. Come and meet SAJA national President Sovy Azhath of CNN who will be visiting Seattle from NYC.

    Sree will talk about:

    • How to deepen your connection with your audience via social media
    • New tools you must absolutely know and use
    • How to build your personal brand
    • How to find, on deadline, specific types of people you need for work
    • The best ways to increase your followers, fans, and connections
    • How to get the "right" followers, fans, and connections
    • Metrics: why you need to understand them and how you can do just that
    • Sustainable social media undefined how to keep from drowning in information and make time to participate efficiently

    When: Monday, March 18, 2013

    Time: 6:00 P.M. (Light refreshments will be served!)

    Where: University of Washington, Husky Union Building (HUB), Lyceum

    Campus Map:

    Get your tickets here before they sell out: Tickets are $10 -

    SAJA & AAJA Career Expo
    This summer SAJA is teaming up with AAJA during their national convention in New York City to provide our members an exclusive day pass to the AAJA convention on Friday, August 23rd. This pass will not only include the Career Expo, but will also include access to SAJA panels and mixers at the convention. It's a great opportunity to connect with AAJA members and a wide variety of media companies and employers.
    If you are interested in attending the full AAJA convention from August 21 - August 24, you can get a SAJA discount rate as well!

    Register before April 12, 2013 to get the Early Bird Special Discount!

    To purchase tickets (the day pass or the full convention tickets) please visit and follow this instructions on this page:


    For more information and prices please visit:

    SAJA Awards Are Now Open For Submissions
    We are now taking submissions for our annual SAJA Awards! We have 11 different categories to choose from that include journalists and students of South Asian decent as well as reporters who cover the South Asian diaspora.

    Submissions can include: print articles, editorials, photographs and new media pieces published, and broadcast aired in 2012.

    And good news students: this year we've eliminated the entry fee for all of you, but you are limited to submitting one entry.

    We've extended our deadline for award submissions to SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2013.

    For more information please visit:

    If you have any questions about this year's awards please send an email with 'SAJA Awards 2013' in the subject line to board member Anup Kaphle:

    We are also looking for volunteers to help us judge this year's award submissions. If you have the time and are interested in helping us out please send Anup an email with 'SAJA Judge' in the subject line at:
  • 2013-03-05 11:39 PM | Anonymous
    SAJA Scholarships Due March 10!

    Don't forget! This year the National Board approved $60,000 in scholarship money to help journalists starting out their careers. High School, Undergraduates and Graduate students are encouraged to apply, but the deadline is March 10th, so hurry!

    To learn more about our scholarship opportunities and to apply visit:

    Final Stretch: Broadcast Challenge End March 15

    We're on the final leg of the SAJA Broadcast Challenge and we need all the help we can get to raise funds for scholarships, reporting grants, workshops for mid-career reporters and a variety of other events for our members. Top South Asian broadcast journalists from around the country have offered to match donation SAJA receives from its members. Their special pool of money will match, dollar-for-dollar, all donations made, up to a total of $10,000.

    March 15th is the last day of the SAJA Broadcast Challenge! Please chip in! No amount is too small! You can donate here via credit care or Paypal:
    Any checks made out to us should be to SAJA Group Inc. and should be mailed to:

    John Laxmi, Treasurer

    17 Cotswood Road

    Greenwich, CT 06830
    All donations must be sent to SAJA Group, Inc. (not to SAJA). Donations to SAJA are NOT tax deductible.

    SAJA Group, Inc. is a tax-exempt charitable organization which supports SAJA's programs and activities. Donations to SAJA Group, Inc. are tax deductible under current laws. SAJA Group, Inc.'s Federal tax ID number is: 55-0844632 and New York State ID is 20-70-28.

    SAJA/AAJA Career Fair & Expo In August

    Good news! This year SAJA will be having its Career fair in conjunction to the AAJA National Convention this summer. SAJA members will have a special one day rate ($150) on Friday August 23, 2013 with complete access to the job fair as well as workshops, panel discussions, and AAJA's silent auction that evening.

    When: Friday, August 23, 2013
    Where: Hilton New York in Midtown Manhattan, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10019

    To register and for more information visit:

    Register before April 12 for Early Bird Discounts!

    SAJA Toronto: Discussion Panel on "South Asian Stories In The Newsroom"

    Attention SAJA Toronto Members! SAJA is proud to co-sponsor a panel discussion on Thursday March 21 at the University of Toronto.

    South Asian Stories In The Newsroom
    It’s 2013. Visible minorities are 50% of the GTA population. What impact has this had in the coverage of stories that fall outside what is considered "the mainstream?" Are the shootings at the Sikh gurdwara in the U.S., Tamil protests in Toronto or the Shafia murders treated like any other story or treated as stories about a specific community? Who does the reporting and does ethnic background make a difference in reporting style?

    When: Thursday, March 21, 2013
    Where: 208N, North House, Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Toronto

    Register Here:

    Moderator: Rita Trichur: a telecom reporter in The Globe and Mail's Report on Business and writes about a variety of topics ranging from manufacturing to maple syrup.
    Stewart Bell: an award-winning Canadian journalist and the author of three non-fiction books, Bayou of Pigs, The Martyr’s Oath and Cold Terror, a national bestseller. In 2009, Stewart won a South Asian Journalists Association Award for his writing about the civil war in Sri Lanka.
    Nicholas Davis: the Manager of Program Development for CBC Radio. He is an accomplished journalist and writer who has worked in radio, television and print and has done so for the past 26 years covering everything from current affairs to the arts.
    Noor Javed: an award winning reporter with the Toronto Star, and is currently a feature writer at the paper. She fulfilled a life-long dream when she joined the Star in 2007, and since then has been working to tell the stories reflective of the city’s diverse communities.

    SAJA DC: UNITY Panel with LOOP21 At The National Association of Broadcasters

    Loop21, along with UNITY will host a panel discussion on "Race in the Media" at the National Association of Broadcasters on Friday March 8. The event is free and open to the public and will include a lunch. Panelists include:
    Joseph Torres, co-author of the New York Times bestseller, "News for All The People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media"
    Gautham Nagesh, an editor for CQ Roll Call who reports on politics, race, media and technology
    Jenée Desmond-Harris, White House correspondent for the Root
    And Steve Holmes, executive director for the Office of Standards and Practices at CNN, will moderate the discussion.
    Where: National Association of Broadcasters, 1771 N Street NW, Washington D.C. 20036
    When: Friday, March 8, 2013

    To register email: and for more information email:

    SAJA Members Judge the Pulitzer Prizes

    This year's Pulitzer Prizes are getting a look-over from three SAJA members! Peter Bhatia(Editor of The Oregonian), Davan Maharaj(Editor of the Los Angeles Times) and Raju Narisetti (Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal's digital network) are serving on the jury for the Pulitzers, which will be announced in April.

    As SAJA board member and co-founder Sree Sreenivasin wrote on our blog SAJAForum, South Asians are making waves in the media world, "there are several other senior editors running news operations in the U.S." Many of them featured in last year's Editors Challenge and this year's Broadcast Challenge.

    Take a look at SAJAForum for other interesting media insights from our members. And if you are interested in volunteering by blogging for us, please contact SAJA Secretary Shefali Kulkarni:
  • 2013-02-21 11:44 PM | Anonymous

    The South Asian Journalists Association has now opened up applications for its various scholarships. This year the National Board members have approved up to $60,000 in scholarship and internship funds. High school, undergraduate and graduateapplicants are encouraged to apply. The deadline for these scholarships is March 10, 2013! Apply now!

    And be sure to check out and 'like' the SAJA Students Facebook page for more information on jobs, internships and fellowship opportunities.
  • 2013-02-10 11:30 PM | Anonymous
    Dear Members,

    It is my privilege and honor to serve as SAJA's national president this year. We will continue to work to further SAJA's mission: helping include more South Asian journalists in newsrooms and encouraging the in-depth news coverage of South Asia and the South Asian diaspora.

    We are planning to organize several events, including newsroom visits, resume critiques, mixers, workshops and panels. We will hold our annual awards dinner this summer in New York City and hope to see you there.

    The national board already approved up to $60,000 in scholarships and internship funds for its student members. These funds will help young South Asian journalists and students advance their media careers.
    We rely entirely on donors for our funds and we would like you to show your support by contributing to SAJA. The funds raised will be used toward reporting projects, journalism student scholarships and workshops for mid-career journalists.

    We are currently in the midst of the SAJA Broadcast Challenge where some fabulous current and former broadcast folks have come together to create a challenge grant for SAJA members and friends. Their special pool of money will match, dollar-for-dollar, all donations made, up to a total of $10,000.

    We have until March 15 to complete this challenge! Please help us by contributing to this challenge - no amount is too small! You can donate here via credit card or Paypal:

    Any checks made out to us should be to SAJA Group Inc. and should be mailed to:

    John Laxmi, Treasurer

    17 Cotswood Road

    Greenwich, CT 06830

    All donations must be sent to SAJA Group, Inc. (not to SAJA). Donations to SAJA are NOT tax deductible.

    SAJA Group, Inc. is a tax-exempt charitable organization which supports SAJA's programs and activities. Donations to SAJA Group, Inc. are tax deductible under current laws. SAJA Group, Inc.'s Federal tax ID number is: 55-0844632 and New York State ID is 20-70-28.

    Please don't hesitate to contact me or Sharaf Mowjood, the vice president, with any questions, suggestions or concerns. Email us at &

    We are looking forward to hearing from you.

    Warmest regards,

    Sovy Azhath
  • 2013-02-04 11:47 PM | Anonymous
    SAJA's New Executive Board

    During SAJA's first board meeting of the year, members voted for their new Executive Board. Sovy Azhath, a producer/writer for CNN Headline News, was elected as this year's president. Sharaf Mowjood, associate producer for NBC's Rock Center, was elected as vice president. Shefali Kulkarni, a multimedia reporter with Kaiser Health News, was elected as secretary. Long-time SAJA board member, John Laxmi was re-elected as the organization's treasurer. And Raakhee Mirchandani-Singh, fashion editor for the New York Daily News, was re-elected as the officer-at-large.

    Other board members include: Aarti Virani, an arts and culture writer, Amita Parashar, a producer for NPR's Tell Me More, Anusha Shrivastava, assistant director of Career Services for Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, Anup Kaphle, digital editor for foreign and national security for the Washington Post, Jigar Mehta is the director of operations at Matter and Sree Sreenivasan, founder of SAJA and Columbia University's chief digital officer.

    Funds Approved For Student Scholarships & Internships

    To learn more about SAJA scholarships & other funding opportunities visit: The new 2013 national board voted on approving up to $60,000 in scholarships and internship funds for its student members. These funds will help young South Asian journalists and students advance their media careers.
  • 2012-12-05 4:26 PM | Anup Kaphle

    SAJA members re-elected five incumbents and added two new members to the board for next year, in the annual election where ten candidates ran for seven open seats.

    Those elected at the annual meeting on Dec. 4 were Sree Sreenivasan, Jigar Mehta, Amita Parashar, Sharaf Mowjood, Raakhee Mirchandani, Shefali Kulkarni and Aarti Virani.

    The other candidates, in what was a close election, were Nausheen Husain, Ravi Shankar and Shaumya Vaishampayan.

    Sreenivasan, a co-founder of SAJA, is 
    the chief digital officer at Columbia University. Mehta, a former SAJA president is the director of operations for Matter, a new media organization that supports journalism entrepreneurs. Parashar is a producer at NPR's Tell Me More and administers SAJA's scholarship program. Mowjood is an associate producer for NBC's Rock Center. Mirchandani is the deputy features editor and the fashion editor at the New York Daily News.

    Kulkarni is a multimedia journalist with Kaiser Health News and Virani is an arts and culture writer.

    They join current board members Anusha Shrivastava, Sovy Azhath, John Laxmi and Anup Kaphle.

    Leaving the board after five two-year terms is freelancer writer Aseem Chhabra, who will continue to run our New York City chapter events. 

    The board will hold its first meeting in February, when it will elect officers for SAJA's executive committee made up of SAJA's president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and an at-large officer.

    The new board hopes you will get involved in SAJA activities in the new year. Send ideas, tips, suggestions to

    If you haven't made a donation to support SAJA's work this year, please consider doing so -- every dollar goes to support our programming, scholarships and fellowships.

    If you haven't signed up or renewed your membership (just $40 for journalists; $40 for non-journalists; $20 for students), please do so now.

  • 2012-11-17 3:23 PM | Jigar Mehta

    Link to voting

    Nausheen Husain


    Though I started as a New York-based SAJA member, I am running for the SAJA board from the West coast.  I studied Journalism and Middle Eastern Studies at NYU and am now a graduate student of journalism at  University of  California ,  Berkeley . A 2011 recipient of the SAJA internship fund, I have a special interest in covering issues relating to  South Asia  and the American Muslim community. I have reported for a variety of organizations, including Oakland North, Suburban Life Publications, the Huffington Post, Newsweek International and Reader’s Digest.


    Since I will be based in  Berkeley ,  California  for the next two years, I’d like to represent SAJA in northern California  by planning and implementing events for students of journalism, media and communications. Since most SAJA members are based in the northeast, I am specifically interested in promoting SAJA membership in the West and making this organization a resource and asset for the West-based South Asian journalist community. We need more events, collaboration and programming in the West to grow our establishment.


    As a student, I will have access to the student population in northern  California . In the past three months, I have already made connections with  Berkeley ’s South Asian and Muslim communities, and there are many student journalists here looking for guidance and opportunities for networking. I’d like to be a point person for these students and I know I can do that with the support of the wider SAJA community. I would like to serve on our board to create a wider and more connected SAJA.

    To learn more about me, see my resume and read through my clips, please visit my online portfolio.


    Link to voting

    Shefali S. Kulkarni


    I joined SAJA in 2003 as a graduating high school senior embarking on a career in journalism. Since then, I’ve worked at a variety of media outlets-- from Dallas Morning News to The Village Voice to my current job as a reporter for Kaiser Health News in  Washington   D.C.  And my participation in SAJA is an integral part of my journalistic path.

    As a college student I attended the national conventions in  New York . I blogged about a variety of South Asian-relevant topics like the 2008 presidential election, Desi women in the fashion industry and a Q&A with singer Jay Sean. I turned to SAJA for resume help, to meet inspirational leaders in the media industry, and to get unique story ideas.

    As a graduate student at  Columbia   University ’s  Journalism   School , I organized SAJA meetings, trips to The New York Times, a multicultural potluck and brought speakers like author Basharat Peer.  Today, I help SAJA student members find internships and jobs through our growing Facebook group, promote SAJA events through social media and volunteer for various SAJA events.

    In  Washington , I coordinate with board members of SAJA to organize happy hours and talks, helped with our first DC-based national convention, judge scholarship applications and network with local journalism schools.

    As a board member, I would revamp SAJA’s blog ( and increase student involvement. Furthermore, I’d promote the benefits of SAJA using social media, face-to-face networking and collaborate with other minority journalism groups as well as other South Asian groups to help expand our membership. I've seen SAJA grow, not just in numbers, but into a well-respected organization. This organization plays a vital role in my career, but I want to ensure that it will continue to help aspiring journalists.


    Link to voting


    Jigar Mehta


    I am asking for your support in 2012 SAJA Board election. It would be an honor to continue to serve our membership. During my previous two terms on the board (including two years as President), I've helped to revamp many of the core SAJA programs from the awards to reporting fellowships to our annual gala. Also been involved with the redesign of our fundraising efforts to focus more on challenges, we are about to launch our second one, the SAJA Broadcasting challenge.


    My association with SAJA started when I was a grad student at UC Berkeley. After attending my first convention I became a life member. I went on to be a SAJA Reporting Fellow, creating a multimedia story about the aftermath of the 2005 Tsunami in  Sri Lanka . After helping at local SAJA events and participating in membership outreach, I decided to accelerate my involvement by joining the board.


    As our industry faces challenges, it is important for SAJA to evolve and stay relevant. As we approach our 20th anniversary, I want to help drive the conversation of what SAJA looks like in the next 20 years for our members. I hope you elect me to the board so I can continue to work for you – the members.


    Link to voting


    Raakhee Mirchandani


    I'm Raakhee Mirchandani and I'm asking for your vote in the next SAJA election. I'm currently the Fashion Editor and Deputy Features Editor at the NY Daily News. When I'm not playing with shoes inside the fashion closet, on-set with Snooki or Steve Madden or waxing poetic about lip gloss, chances are you'll find me hunched over my laptop handling SAJA business. No, really. I field hundreds of SAJA-related e-mails a week and I love it.

    In 2011, my first year on the board, I helped plan the convention and gala awards dinner, SAJA's marquee event. As convention co-chair I helped organized everything from a full-day of panels and speakers to logistical issues. This year, I was instrumental in helping to bring the SAJA gala and awards ceremony to D.C. With my convention co-chairs Amita Parashar and Sharaf Mowjood, we were able to take the event to the nation's capital and engage SAJA members in a whole new way.


    Our decision to move the awards ceremony out of  New York  and program an Oscar-style ceremony that included awards presentations from some of the country's leading South Asian journalists including CNN's Ali Velshi, Frontline's Azmat Khan and the NFL Network's Aditi Kinkabwalla is an achievement I am particularly proud of. If elected for another term as a SAJA board member, it is my goal to continue to widen SAJA's reach while continuing to find new and creative ways to engage our  New York  members. I think that monthly mixers, including resume workshops, mock interview sessions, social media seminars and job fairs are critical to SAJA's continued success. And together with my fellow NYC SAJA board members, I'd like to take responsibility for reinvigorating the NY Chapter. I would also like to find a way to grow SAJA's usefulness amongst mid-career journalists.


    Link to voting


    Sharaf Mowjood


    When I first ran for the SAJA Board, I wrote that my family is full of doctors, Sri Lanka Muslim doctors to be exact, and added that I often have to field the question, “So when are you going to medical school?” Now after two years on the SAJA board, I don’t get that question as much, instead I am asked, “So when are you getting married?”  I’ve worked with some of the brightest, most talented, and award winning SAJA journalists, and yet that’s the question I get the most. The emergence of SAJA within South Asian communities has not only created an institution for young aspiring journalists to tell their stories, but also a place for journalists to connect, inspire, grow and help one another. This to our parents raises the marriage possibilities!


    Working for NBC News, I am grateful for this opportunity to ask for your support in seeking another term as a SAJA Board member. Since I was first elected two years ago, I have helped raise over $10,000 for scholarships and fellowships; I’ve brought in new donors from the east and west coasts; and I’ve organized new programming including an exclusive private viewing of the new Islamic Art Exhibit at the MET (complete with curator discussion moderated by CNN’s Ali Velshi), a book reading of “Love Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women,” and assisting in gathering a variety of guests for the banquet and convention.


    However, I am not asking you to support me for my past accomplishments.  We all have accomplishments and my colleagues running for this board are among the most talented and amazing individuals I know.  I ask you to support me for what I want to continue to bring to SAJA.  For the next two years, I’d like to not only continue fundraising and bringing in new donors but also to develop a long-term fundraising and major gift giving strategy. Accomplishing this will mean less talking and more listening to what the community, the South Asian diaspora, wants in how their stories are told and how they want SAJA to empower journalists to tell those stories affectively. 


    My commitment is to furthering SAJA’s goals and making the organization the best that it can be.


    Link to voting


    Amita Parashar


    I'm a producer at National Public Radio's Tell Me More, a national program based in  Washington   D.C. , and I’m running for re-election to SAJA's board. As a member of SAJA’s board for the past two years, I co-chaired this year's awards dinner and gala, held in D.C. for the first time. In addition to the gala, I’ve organized a number of events for the D.C. SAJA community, including a book talk by NPR's Steve Inskeep. I believe that I’ve fostered a strong community of journalists in the nation’s capitol and I look forward to continuing to grow SAJA’s efforts outside of the  New York City  area. I would also like to bring the SAJA newsroom tours to  Washington   D.C.  to allow young journalists the opportunity to meet top journalists and see where they work. 


    Nationally, I've administered SAJA's student scholarship program for the past two years, most recently awarding $50,000 in grants. I’d like to help SAJA continue to serve our students’ needs through this program and also through mentorship and by growing college chapters. SAJA is an organization that draws strength from its membership. If elected for another term, I’d like to help that membership stay connected and widen our reach even further.


    Link to voting 

    Ravi Shankar


    I would be glad to serve as a member of the SAJA Board as I believe I represent an important though under-represented part of the organization's constituency. I am a lifetime member of SAJA but a practicing poet and an Associate Professor of English at  Central   Connecticut   State   University . I have published or edited 7 books and chapbooks of poetry, including the W.W. Norton anthology "Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from  Asia , the Middle East & Beyond," called a "beautiful achievement for world literature" by Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer. This collection includes numerous South Asian and South Asian American poets, from places such as  India ,  Pakistan ,  Sri Lanka ,  Bangladesh ,  Nepal ,  Tibet , the  Maldives   Island , and  Bhutan . In putting this anthology together and traveling the world to meet with the contributors, I gained a good sense of the kinds of issues that these communities have and it would be my honor to help represent their voices and interests on the the SAJA Board.

    As the founding editor of the international online literary journal, Drunken Boat [], I have published many South Asian authors and artists, I have also judged numerous contests for fellowships/awards and scholarships in the past and being based in Connecticut, I feel I could bring a perspective to the Board outside of those who live in New York City. I am also close enough that I would be available to be present at SAJA functions. I'm also deeply committed to social justice and to helping South Asians cope with the often misguided representations of themselves in the mass media and am particularly sensitive to helping cover South Asians in the arts. It would be my honor to serve you as a Board Member for the upcoming years.


    Link to voting

    Sree Sreenivasan


    It's been my honor to serve SAJA for 18 years and I have the nerve to ask you all to let me serve SAJA for two more. SAJA is already one of the most dynamic groups in American journalism, but it's poised to move to greater heights. I am excited about the energy and achievements of the current Board and am looking forward to working with returning and new members to set the stage for SAJA's next phase, especially as we hit the 20-year milestone in 2014. As co-founder and former president, I know where we have come from, and I want to work with the next Board to see where we can go. If elected, I would focus on these two areas: raising funds so we can give out more scholarships and mid-career fellowships; and mentoring the next generation of SAJA - and journalism - leaders. Succeeding in these areas will require time and energy and I am willing to give both, working closely with the rest of the Board, the members and the larger journalism community to succeed.

    Link to voting

    Saumya Vaishampayan
    There is a lot of talk about how the journalism industry is changing. I’d like to play an active role in making sure that our members –especially those still in school – are equipped to rise to the challenge. I believe that starts with engaging students who are in high school or pursing undergraduate degrees. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with alumni from my university who were kind enough to tell me about how they got their start in journalism, and I wouldn’t be here today without them. A professional organization like SAJA is so much better equipped for this type of mentoring; I think it just needs a board member who would make it her priority. I would actively reach out to our younger members to see what type of programs or mentoring would be the most useful and then facilitate communication with more experienced members. As a board member, I would like to expand existing programs like SAJA@Work, which provides access to editors and producers, and organize more informal networking events.

    I’m a recent graduate of  Tufts   University , where I studied quantitative economics and was the managing editor of the student newspaper. I am currently interning with the investing team at Bloomberg News in  New York .

    The many hours spent working in my college newspaper office – the basement of the coffee shop – sparked my passion for journalism and I’m eager to bring this to a board position at SAJA. Please email me at if you have questions, comments or if would like to commiserate about the difficulties of spelling out your last name over the phone.

    Link to voting

    Aarti Virani


    As the daughter of Indian immigrants, born and raised in  Japan  and educated in  America , I aim to bring a panoramic and global perspective to the SAJA board. Currently, as an arts, culture and entertainment writer covering the New York metropolitan area, I regularly contribute to publications including The Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure and Vogue India, keeping a vigilant finger on the cultural pulse of the South Asian American community. I have tackled a broad range of subjects, including the predominance of Gujarati Americans in the U.S. motel industry, the "Hollywoodization” of Indian production companies, and South Asian American TV and film personalities wanting to take on roles that aren't just steered by ethnicity. Most recently, I joined forces with the South Asian Women’s Leadership Forum (SAWLF) to craft a series of profiles spotlighting the many fascinating women that make up the groundbreaking non-profit.


    If elected to the SAJA board, I would be thrilled to organize more events that connect seasoned journalists with newcomers to the field, providing younger members with a closer, behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the news business. In an effort to encourage more South Asian Americans to pursue journalism, I would also be interested in facilitating outreach to schools and universities, including my alma mater, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Most of all, I am eager to direct my energy to make SAJA a network and resource that ensures mainstream news media organizations provide fair and accurate coverage of the increasingly diverse South Asian American community - an issue that was especially relevant in the aftermath of the Wisconsin gurdwara shootings earlier this year. 


    Ultimately, I am committed to helping South Asian Americans become active participants in the process of their own media representation and believe SAJA plays an instrumental role in that process. I would consider it a privilege to serve on the board.

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