AAJA Chicago Newsletter: September 3, 2020

Greetings from AAJA Chicago!

Chicago is a journalism town like no other. There’s a deep bench of media outlets — expanding constantly in ways that get your heart racing over the sheer possibilities of what they will produce — and a community of reporters, editors, freelancers, photojournalists, designers, researchers and all the other sleep-deprived, ink-stained wretches who will tell it like it is while doing anything they can to give their fellow comrades a leg up (just as long as it doesn’t involve a scoop). Like other cities, Chicago has stories tucked away in every nook and cranny, hidden in shadows, unable to see the light of day. The best of us coax those defining tales out and get them the attention they deserve. 

But sometimes we need a little help. 

Maybe you’re a newly minted college grad, testing the freelance waters while you search for that first great job. Perhaps you’ve put in your time, honed your craft, and want to share that hard-earned knowledge with the next crop of gumshoes. You might have a thousand questions; you might have no idea where to begin. Either way, AAJA Chicago wants to help.

The Asian American Journalists Association has been in Chicago since 1989. Linda Yu, an ABC-7 news anchor, and David Ibata, a former Chicago Tribune editor, formed the chapter in a time when journalism was nothing like it is today. It would be 17 years before Twitter became a website and Facebook went public. There was no World Wide Web. You didn’t catch an Uber to an assignment, and you couldn’t take your laptop with you to write a story on the fly. 

But there are other, bigger things that remain the same. Public officials still dodge reporters; a dogged determination for the truth remains as important as it ever was. Sports journalists have to catch the action and hold organizations accountable. Critics are still needed to lend their acerbic assessments, and we need copy editors to catch our thumbed typos now as much as we ever did. 

Newsroom diversity remains just as vital, and we still have a long way to go before the institutions of journalism have staffs that reflect the communities they cover. As it has been for generations, the news is always there, and it needs a sharp-witted, devoted, and uplifted legion of journalists to cover it in insightful, poignant and meaningful ways.

Since we, the 2020 board members of AAJA Chicago, were elected in December, we have worked toward becoming a chapter that can help its members do all that and more.

And while we knew we were facing a challenge, we hadn’t quite planned for a pandemic to get in the way. Despite it, we hope you enjoyed our first few events of the year, from our Lunar New Year mixer (in partnership with the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association) to our virtual panel of journalists from the Chicago Tribune, WBEZ, NBC-5 and the Sun-Times sharing insight on how they cover communities of color in the city. Our summer intern, Siri Chilukuri, landed at Block Club Chicago just as unrest was boiling over onto city streets. This fall, Michael Lee, a graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and Ohio State University, will be an AAJA-sponsored intern at the Sun-Times. 

We have so much more to come in 2020, but topping the list is the return of the AAJA Trivia Bowl, which long served as the chapter’s top fundraising event for our internship program. We hope you will consider taking part. 

In the meantime, we want to make sure AAJA Chicago is here for you. Our Facebook and Twitter pages are great ways to keep tabs on what we’ve got going on, but we hope this newsletter will help spread the word about all the great things happening in our little pocket of the universe. Below, you’ll find a calendar of upcoming events, some news of interest, and any job or event listings that have come our way.

Have a question? Is there something you’d like to see at AAJA Chicago? Email us at chicagoaaja@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you. 

Until then, keep fighting the good fight. 

Nader Issa, president
Ariel Cheung, vice president
Taylor Moore, secretary/treasurer


A list of upcoming events

Join us for a virtual happy hour every first Thursday of the month. We’ll also be hosting an online workshop about data journalism Sept. 17. In October, we’ll assemble a panel of Chicago journalists to discuss how they navigate objectivity in journalism, followed by a freelancing workshop in November. To wrap up the year, our Trivia Bowl fundraiser makes a smashing return in December with a virtual battle royale of knowledge. Stay tuned for more information in coming weeks, and check out our AAJA Chicago Google calendar, which you can sync with your own online calendar for the most up-to-date information.

Chicago Journalists Association presents Millennials in Media

Sept. 15: The Chicago Journalists Association will be hosting its next virtual panel discussion, “Millennials in Media,” on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 6 to 7:30 p.m. The event will highlight Millennials who have carved a unique path in Chicago media, covering a diverse range of opportunities that — despite the rumors — still exist on the media landscape, from legacy newspapers, television and radio news, to digital startups. Panelists include Mina Bloom (Block Club Chicago), Angel Idowu (WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight”), Nader Issa (Sun-Times/AAJA Chicago president) and Ankur Singh (Cicero Independiente). **RSVP required; email to chicagocja@gmail.com. A Zoom link will be send upon registration.**




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