AAJA 2013 National Convention

Article By William Kustiono
Photo credit: AAJA

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) 2013 National Convention has commenced in New York City, with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg who welcomed all participants at the National Convention. The event lasted five days from August 21 to August 25 and was held in several places throughout New York City. The main event was located at the New York Hilton in Midtown; others were conducted across Manhattan such as in Google New York, CUNY Center, NYU, and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

There were nine events for participants to choose:

The Reporting Track offered workshops to fellow journalists to enhance and increase their knowledge on news reporting. Some of the reporting workshops were conducted by the National Public Radio, investigate reporters, and editors. This workshop also allowed journalists to question and ask panelists about useful ideas that can be used during news reporting.

The Programming-Design Track provided workshops involved in coding and software journalists use to research the news or report. One of the workshops conducted in Google New York involved journalists to utilize Google Maps software. They were trained on maps, trends, and data analysts. Journalists also got the chance to participate in a training that would improve the audience’s engagement through Google+ and learned how to visualize big data through Google Maps.

The Career Track focused on future journalists who wanted to pursue the career. The Career Track covered workshops from the next step after being out of college, searching for a job in journalism, using journalism to make a difference, to building a successful freelance career. It provided the how-to and resources journalists need to survive within the industry.

The Future Track was to predict the future of journalism. What can journalists do to ensure their future and adapt to the changes within the industry? The future of journalism is digital –print ads, pay walls, and print subscriptions are being canceled – due to the advanced technology we have today. For those who have already started their own entrepreneurial ventures, workshops were provided for the next step and the security of their business.

The Digital-Social Track focused on journalists using social media sites, emails, blogs, and other platforms to retrieve and share news. The future is digital and the workshops provided inform participants on how to build an online portfolio, to brand themselves, and to use the networking tools to their fullest potential.

The Broadcast-Visual Track prepared journalists to be camera ready. Workshops were provided to teach journalists the do’s and don’ts of TV news reporting, the art of the interview, freelancing stories, and the journalism changes from pen and paper to mobile devices. This event was a great opportunity for journalists and TV reporters to obtain more knowledge and information on the process of TV news reporting.

The Data-Design Track taught journalists how to introduce and present information to designers and developers in the newsroom. Their workshops showed participants how to break the barriers between the editorial side and the tech side to present the information to the audience in a creative and innovative way. The way information is presented can influence an audience’s engagements and attention.

The Photojournalism workshops showed the importance of a photograph. “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” Participants were able to pick at the mind of professional and experienced photographers, including National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita and AP photojournalist David Guttenfelder. Other workshops included the basics of photography and edit, the art of freelancing, and how to build an audience by creating a professional website. Photojournalism is a unique form of journalism and art.

The Convention highlights included the open reception, AAJA membership meeting, bagels at the booth, a silent auction, scholarship and awards gala, and AAJA Annual karaoke night. Bagels at the booth may sound like free bagels, but it was actually an opportunity for students and entry-level journalists to learn how to develop viable job skill and turn internships into options.

This convention was a gold-mine of knowledge and resource for future journalists, entry-level journalists, and professional journalists. The workshops provided covered all aspects of the industry and was an experience that will never be forgotten. Opportunities like these do not come around very often, so our advice to you is to take it and to seize it.

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