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  • 2011-04-19 4:31 PM | Jigar Mehta

    This program is aimed at promoting a rare element in 24/7-news-cycle journalism -- in-depth and follow-up reporting on major events relating to South Asia or South Asians, long after the breaking-news crews have moved on.

    Full program details at

    Questions to Sandeep Junnarkar, Awards & Fellowships chair:

    NEW YORK, April 18, 2011 - As part of their mission to encourage in-depth coverage of South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora, SAJA and SAJA Group Inc are pleased to announce changes to its flagship SAJA Reporting Fellowship program (SRF), which will now provide greater flexibility while streamlining the application process. 

    Journalists will have two opportunities each year to apply for the fellowship, once each fall and spring, which we envision allows them to pitch more timely under-reported pieces. The spring round 2011 opens April 18, 2011.

    The application process has also been simplified. Journalists will now submit a short application that asks for their pitch and credentials. If the application is approved by our judges, SAJA will ask for more details about the project.

    With those changes in mind, SAJA and SAJA Group Inc. announces a call for submissions for the SAJA Reporting Fellowship. Open to freelancers and staff journalists in any medium, the fellowships are meant to encourage in-depth reporting projects by providing grants to cover a portion of reporting expenses.

    A total of up to $20,000 may be given out annually, divided among projects or a single project at SAJA's discretion. Each fellowship award is typically between $3,000-$7,000. 

    These Fellowships, launched in 2005 to ensure follow-up reportage about the 2004 tsunami and its victims, were initially funded by SAJA members, corporate donors and friends of SAJA. For the last five years, SRF received a major financial boost thanks to the support of the Mahadeva Family Foundation, which will make an annual contribution of $20,000. "The support of Kumar Mahadeva and Simi Ahuja, who have been part of the SAJA community for more than a decade, is critical to SAJA's core mission of improving the coverage of South Asia through the SAJA Reporting Fellowships and similar programs," said Sandeep Junnarkar, the group's Awards & Fellowships chair and professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. "This is going to have a major impact on the kind of stories that the Fellows do and how Americans learn about what's going on in South Asia today." 

    In the 2011 spring period, the fellowship is open to proposals on any in-depth topics covering South Asia or the South Asian Diaspora.

    SAJA will start accepting preliminary proposals on starting April 18-May 2. After reviewing the proposals and credentials, we will inform applicants whether we are interested in a full proposal. The deadline for the complete proposal, with supporting materials will be May 15, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

    Full program details, F.A.Q and application at

  • 2011-02-14 11:37 AM | Jigar Mehta

    NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2011: The South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) and SAJA Group Inc. are proud to announce the winners of the 2011 SAJA Reporting Fellowships Program.

    SAJA will support the following projects with a total of about $20,000 in funding:

    1. Freelancers Hilke Schellmann and Habiba Nosheen will work on a project about missing girls in Pakistan

    2. Poornima Weerasekara, a freelancer, will work on a project charting the reintegration of Sri Lanka’s ex-child soldiers.

    3. Rohini Mohan, a staff reporter for Tehelka magazine, will report on the shaping of identities in post-civil war Sri Lanka.

    SAJA received more than 50 entries for the 2011 program. A rigorous, three-round judging process was used to pick the winners.

    "The number of high-caliber entries made the judging process extremely difficult," said Sandeep Junnarkar, the chair of the SAJA Reporting Fellowships. "The judges found that the winners' projects stood out for their timeliness and compelling  storyline, and we're eagerly looking forward to seeing the finished work."

    The completed work is expected to be available to news organizations around the world at no cost in early July 2011.

    This year SAJA plans to provide another $20,000 in funding for the SAJA Reporting Fellowships in the Fall. Please check for more information in July, 2011. 

    Open to freelancers and staff journalists in any medium, the fellowships are meant to encourage in-depth reporting projects about South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora through special grants. The resulting work is available for use by news organizations at no charge. Last year, the inaugural fellowships' applicants were required to focus on the aftermath of the Tsunami that struck Asia in December 2004. The completed work of previous year's fellows may be viewed here.

    The judges for the final round were:  Deepti Hajela, a newswoman at the Associated Press and former SAJA president; Brent McDonald, a video journalist at the New York Times; and Steve Strasser, associate professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and former managing editor of Newsweek International. The judges for the first two rounds were members of the SAJA board.

    SAJA, the South Asian Journalists Association, was founded in March 1994 as a networking group for journalists of South Asian origin in New York City. It has grown into a national group of more than 1,000 journalists working for leading publications, broadcast networks and online outlets in various cities in the US and Canada.

    SAJA works closely with SAJA Group, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization.

    Details of SAJA's activities and resources for journalists are available at

    SAJA Group, Inc. is a non-profit charitable organization (EIN: 55-0844632) and is registered with the State of New York Charities Bureau (Registration Number 20-70-28). Please send any funding questions to

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