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Elections & Board Candidates

SAJA Board members are elected by Full Members of SAJA, at annual elections.  The most recent election was held online and concluded on WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2020.  Results were announced at the SAJA annual Members' Meeting that same evening.

Six board member positions were open for the two-year term beginning in January 2021. The following candidates' statements were posted at SAJA website leading up to the election date.  The six candidates who won are: Jennifer Chowdhury, Aishwarya Kumar, Karen Mahabir, Nidhi Prakash, Pia Sarkar and Mihir Zaveri.

CANDIDATES FOR 2021-2022 TERM

Anupama Bhardwaj

Founder, Women Investing in Women Digital
Tequesta, Florida
Twitter: @womeninvesting

Why do you want to run for SAJA board?

I am ready to serve and would love to focus on South Asian women’s content, writers, and advancing more young women in this space.

Please tell us about your journalism experience.

I started Women Investing in Women Digital almost 6 years ago, and most recently The State of Women Podcast Network which includes 300 women podcasters from around the globe!


Jennifer Chowdhury

Freelance journalist
Brooklyn, New York
Twitter: @Jenn_Chowdhury

Why do you want to run for SAJA board?

SAJA needs a more diverse board and membership within. As with most South Asian organizations, it can feel very Indo-Pak centric. Bangladeshi, Nepali, Sri Lankan and other South Asian voices are often missing. As a Bangladeshi-American journalist that just spent two years reporting in my motherland--partially funded as a SAJA Reporting fellow--I’d love to bring home my experiences and help promote Bangladeshi-origin journalists and amplify other missing voices and reporting from the region.

Please tell us about your journalism experience.

I am a freelance journalist and communications consultant and have spent the majority of career reporting on the South Asian diaspora with a specific focus on Bangladeshi and Muslim communities. My work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBCNews.com, Vice.com, Elle.com, NPR, Marie Claire magazine and others. Over a decade ago, I started out working in fashion and lifestyle magazines  and eventually transitioned to writing feature stories on global women’s issues. I just spent two years living and working in Bangladesh covering the Rohingya refugee crisis. I also reported on climate change and Bangladesh’s textiles industry and consulted in the communications department of The World Food Programme. I’m now back home in New York City, reporting nationally. I am passionate about covering stories about women of color whose voices are stifled by patriarchal attitudes, systematic racism and socioeconomic burdens.

Alisha Ebrahimji

Writer/Producer, CNN
New Jersey
Twitter: @AlishaEbrahimji

Why do you want to run for SAJA board? 

I've been wanting to get more involved with SAJA and feel like a leadership role would be the best way to jump start it. I'm passionate about advocating for more SA voices in our newsrooms and even though we're making progress, there's so much more work to be done. I hope to help cultivate the growing SA journalism community.

Please tell us about your journalism experience. 

I'm a journalist with over 7 years of professional experience in local news as a broadcast reporter, producer and writer and now at the network level. I'm a breaking news producer for digital as well as a trends and culture writer for CNN.

Sonali Gupta

Freelance writer
Marlboro, N.J. and Mumbai, India
Twitter: @sonaligups

Why do you want to run for SAJA board? 

I've been freelance writing for over four years and taken on the role of editor for a International Women's group I'm part of in Mumbai. As I work and travel between the US and India, I've noticed a cultural shift in both countries when it comes to owning/understanding our South Asian identity and how it relates to the work we do. I'd love to be able to expand on those conversations, especially by helping Westerners break their misconceptions about India and Indian culture. You can view my published work here: www.sonaliguptawriter.com

Please tell us about your journalism experience. 

I've freelanced for my career due to health issues. I curated content and data for TV Asia and worked for a communications company for two years before going full-time with my freelance work. I've written personal essays and reported pieces for BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Vogue Indian and other publications. I'm looking to bring my perspective of being South Asian American and living in Mumbai independently.

Aishwarya Kumar

Staff writer, ESPN
Hartford, Connecticut
Twitter: @kumaraishwarya

Why do you want to run for SAJA board?

I've been an active part of community of South Asian journalists over the past four years. I've mentored South Asian students in journalism, I've participated in and attended panels at universities and professional organizations to talk about my experience as a South Asian woman in journalism, particularly sports journalism, an area where it's hard to find many people that look and talk like me. I use sports as a vehicle to tell the bigger stories on race, culture and society. I've recently also started contributing features on immigration to National Geographic. Within ESPN, I'm on the leadership team on ABLE (Asian Business Leaders of ESPN) and have helped organized and lead panels on cricket, Diwali and yoga. After my feature, The Grandmaster Diet, was selected to be featured in The Best American Sports Writing 2020, somebody tweeted at me and said I might be one of the first South Asians to have made the anthology. This made me realize that I want to take leadership and staff writing roles at ESPN to SAJA board and bring  nuance to South Asian stories. I hope to engage in cultural conversations and I hope to be a mentor for aspiring and current journalists looking for guidance.

Please tell us about your journalism experience. 

I am a feature writer on the multi-sport team at ESPN. My role is nebulous -- I write long-form features with focus on race, culture, religion and society. Here are a few highlights of 2020: My story, The Grandmaster Diet, on ESPN.com was picked as an entry for the Best American Sports Writing 2020 anthology. The book will be released November 2020. My profile of Chanel Miller, the survivor of sexual assault by a Stanford swimmer, was selected by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for mass consumption for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and was also picked by ESPN as one of the best works of storytelling for the month of March. My feature on Tani Adewumi will be made into a movie by comedian and Daily Show host, Trevor Noah. The story was read by two million people in a week, and shared by Drew Barrymore, Trevor Noah and Jill Filipovic. My feature on why a former Olympic site is finally removing this Native American slur from its name was the second-most read ESPN story on Apple for September, with more than 1.3 million page views. I also wrote a personal essay detailing my experience as an immigrant on a visa in Trump's America for Nat Geo, and led the website for a week. Following that, I wrote a reported long-form piece on how the then ban on U.S. student visa was affecting international students.

Karen Mahabir

Fact Check & Misinformation Editor, The Associated Press
New York
Twitter: @KarenMahabir

Why do you want to run for SAJA board?

Throughout my career, I have served as a mentor to dozens of young journalists and been committed to boosting and supporting diversity and inclusion in newsrooms at all levels. Across many newsrooms, I have heard from journalists of color who were concerned about being pigeon-holed into certain areas of coverage because of their background, as well as from those who have felt they can’t move beyond their jobs for the same reason. I am now seeking a more formal role of providing guidance and opportunities to South Asian journalists by assisting with fellowships and scholarships, and keeping the community strong through networking events. As someone who is biracial -- I am half Trinidadian, half Salvadoran -- and worked her way up the newsroom ladder, I also believe I can offer a unique perspective on the board and would be eager to work with other groups, such as NAHJ and AAJA. With increased efforts to raise diversity and inclusion at many outlets, this is an exciting time to become part of a community dedicated to lifting our individual and collective voices, and I want to be part of those conversations. I am especially interested in being involved in discussions around the standards and language that will be used to define how stories of diversity, including our own, are told.

Please tell us about your journalism experience.

I have been a national and international journalist for 23 years, and I am currently the global Fact Check and Misinformation Editor for The Associated Press. Prior to this role, I spent more than a decade working as a reporter, editor and producer for the AP in its Mexico City, Washington and New York offices. I also served as Managing Editor of News for The HuffPost for two years, and spent many years working as a reporter and columnist at newspapers in the New York and New Jersey area, including The Record, The Jersey Journal, The International Herald Tribune and The Village Voice. I have a master’s degree in International Journalism from City University of London, and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, with a concentration in African, Asian and Caribbean Studies, from the University of Sussex in England.

Sabrina Malhi

Multiplatform Editor, The Washington Post
Washington, DC
Twitter: @sabrinamalhi

Why do you want to run for SAJA board?

I want to encourage people to reach for their journalistic passions and being on the SAJA board would afford me that opportunity. Growing up in a community built on success has caused many desi children to strive for STEM careers — we’re surrounded by peers that have gone on to do amazing things in fields such as law and medicine. Their successes are usually the litmus test of what is means to make it and any career that veers away from this stereotypical view of success is oftentimes stifled — writing and creativity are usually not welcome.  I understand why — many of us are first-generation Americans and being successful was necessary for survival. We live in a colorful world with so many stories to tell and these stories are often not expressed because of cultural or societal expectations. Being on the SAJA board would allow me to help people who want to have a voice in journalism today. To me, journalism gives a voice to those who cannot be heard.

Please tell us about your journalism experience. 

I graduated with my BA in English in 2008 — and some would say it was probably one of the worst times to graduate and find a job. It seemed like everything was crashing around me — people were losing their jobs left and right and no one, especially in journalism, seemed to be hiring.Nevertheless, I decided to get my MA in journalism and focused on my writing. A Year and a half later, when I graduated from journalism school and I couldn't find a job in my field, I felt like a complete failure. Why did I pick a career with basically no prospects and no money? Newspapers were laying people off and the digital age of journalism was coming to fruition. The years following were difficult — I worked odd jobs and was willing to write for free. I did anything that would allow me to write and I didn’t care if it was paid. Three years later, after graduation, I found my first journalism job at Medical Daily. I didn’t care that I was only making $32,000 a year; I was just so happy to be a paid journalist. After I left Medical Daily,I moved on to working for a Conde Nast magazine before I moved down to Washington, D.C. Working in D.C. politics at The Hill was one of my career highlights thus far — I interviewed the Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. I’ve also freelanced and written for Newsweek and The Juggernaut. My current position as an editor at The Washington Post. These experiences are something that my 19-year-old self would have ever thought possible. But when I look back and think about my struggles and failures during these past 10 years, I know that I want to help young journalists and I want to do everything to help them succeed in this amazing field.

Syma Mohammed

Manager, StoryCorps
Based in New York City
Twitter: @Syma_M

Why do you want to run for SAJA board? 

I've attended SAJA events over the years, and have enjoyed both the events and the community aspect of the organization. I'd like to get more involved and help give back given I myself have benefitted in being a member.

Please tell us about your journalism experience.

I trained in radio and TV operations at the BBC, and worked as a television researcher for 2.5 years. I then went into print journalism, starting out at local newspapers in London and worked for a national newspaper in Scotland. I freelanced while in New York City, and was a fellow at the Asian-American Writers' Workshop.

Suman Naishadham

Desk editor and reporter for the U.S. West, The Associated Press
Phoenix, AZ
Twitter: @Sumannaishadham

Why do you want to run for SAJA board?

I am thrilled to run for the SAJA Board in order to further build community among journalists of South Asian descent or who cover South Asia and the wider professional fraternity. One way I would do this is by building relationships between SAJA and journalism departments around the country. As a Missouri Journalism School graduate, I would be happy to reach out to former administrators, professors, and student groups to invite more student journalists into the fold and grow SAJA's reputation at the Missouri journalism department and other campuses across the country. As a board member, I would find new ways to highlight the journalistic excellence of SAJA members by pitching events like (virtual, for now) "brown bag" discussions where we invite SAJA journalists who land a big scoop or write an exceptional long-form story to talk about their reporting/writing process and promote it on social media. I would enjoy judging applications for SAJA awards and scholarships as someone who was recently awarded one and who understands the value of these grants in freelance reporting. My reporting experience in India and Mexico makes me think critically about the coverage of countries outside the U.S. and my experience as a freelancer and staff reporter would bring a rich comparative and analytical perspective as a judge. Lastly, I remain a frequent reader (and sometimes editor) of South Asian news, which I think is key to being in a position of assessing applications for projects that cover topics in South Asian news for a global audience.

Please tell us about your journalism experience.

My journalism career started in India in 2016 as a freelance reporter. At the time, I was based in Hyderabad, India, and covered topics in politics and human rights in South India such as the Rohingya refugee settlements in the city, the government's response to a devastating heatwave, men's rights activism in India, protests against Uber India, the shortage of narcotics pain-relief and more. My work appeared in VICE, GQ, Roads & Kingdoms, Scroll.in and other outlets. In 2017, I started a Master’s program in investigative journalism at the Missouri Journalism School and was awarded an Overseas Press Club Foundation Scholarship for my work in India. The fellowship placed me with Reuters in Mexico City during the historic presidential election of 2018. I graduated from the Missouri Journalism School in May 2019 and went back to Mexico, working for The Wall Street Journal for a 3-month fellowship where I covered business news. I then got a job in Mexico with a Bloomberg vertical covering topics in cross-border trade and tax policy. I also wrote for Foreign Policy and Al Jazeera about political and economic news. In June 2020, I was hired by the Associated Press as a desk editor and reporter covering 13 U.S. states, where I’ve written and edited stories on everything from the summer’s protests against racial violence, Latino voters for Trump, wildfires, the coronavirus, and more.

Tejal K Patel

Deputy Press Secretary, City of Houston Mayor's Office
Based in Houston, TX
Twitter: @tejalkpatel

Why do you want to run for SAJA board? 

I have spent my entire career being the first Indian hired in so many of my newsrooms and workplaces. I want to be able to advocate for South Asian hires and offer opportunities to those who are coming up after me. Being part of this community and not feeling as if you're the only one makes it easier to take up space in newsrooms when so often you are taught not to. I believe my experience in TV news and in communications/media relations in the political sphere and public sector will make me an asset to the board.

Please tell us about your journalism experience. 

I spent nearly 10 years in TV news as a producer, assistant managing editor, interim executive producer of a special projects/investigative unit and as a special projects producer. I started at abc13 in Houston as a production assistant and seven years later landed my dream job as special projects producer in Dallas where I was able to produce long form pieces and collaborate on investigations. I've won awards for newscasts I've produced, but my highest achievement was raising the ratings of my newscast at KOB in Albuquerque by 100% in a single year.

Nidhi Prakash

Politics Reporter, BuzzFeed News
Based in Washington, D.C.
Twitter: @nidhiprakash

Why do you want to run for SAJA board? 

I'm at a point in my career now where I'd really like to give back and work to support not just South Asian colleagues but also budding young South Asian journalists. I've really valued the support and the space to make connections through SAJA (there was no such organization in Australia where I grew up). As a queer South Asian woman working in news, I think it's more important than ever that we have conversations about our place in the news industry, and encourage newsroom leaders to value their employees and contributors of color in a substantive way, beyond platitides. I think SAJA plays an important role in doing that and I'd love to be part of it. I'd love to be of help as a board member in whatever capacity I can. I'm interested in helping to connect newsroom leaders with resources as they move towards more equitable and diverse newsrooms, and for resources on covering South Asian communities/issues. I'm also big on mentoring and if there's anything I can do to help SAJA with mentorship programs I'd love to do that too. I'm also an adjunct professor at New York University in the journalism department, and would hope to continue fostering relationships with colleges in my capacity as a board member of SAJA.

Please tell us about your journalism experience. 

I've been a journalist for over ten years, starting my career at the public broadcaster (the ABC) in Australia, then working a little in Chile and the UK before coming to the US about seven years ago. Since coming to the US, I've focused on journalism that centers communities of color, including South Asian communities, and holds powerful people and institutions accountable. Some of the work I'm proudest of includes my work covering the Biden campaign this past year, breaking important stories on the undercounted death toll in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and work covering FEMA and HUD that has led to Congressional inquiries and the crafting of legislation. I am at a point in my career where I have contacts across different parts of the industry, and am a respected leader in my own newsroom in my capacity as a reporter and mentor. I have some radio and editing experience but my main focus has been on reporting and writing investigative stories, breaking news, and features.

Vignesh Ramachandran

Co-Founder, Red, White and Brown Media
Based in Denver, Colorado
Twitter: @VigneshR

Why do you want to run for SAJA board? 

I attended my first SAJA conference as a college student more than 10 years ago. At that first conference, I got to meet so many fellow journalists of South Asian descent, many of whom are still contacts and mentors today. The SAJA community was inspiring as I got my start in journalism, so I’d love to give back by serving on the board. While there are so many conversations about improving coverage of diverse communities in newsrooms across America, I want to be a part of the action to help make that happen. I co-founded Red, White and Brown Media back in 2016 to spark conversations about culture and politics in the United States through the lens of South Asian American race and identity. As a former staffer at ProPublica, I worked with young journalists on Chicago’s West Side. I’m still very interested in ways to build a pipeline of diverse talent toward beats like investigative reporting. I’m currently a freelance journalist covering South Asian Americans and inherently interested in how our community can be better represented across all news media. Thanks for considering my interest to serve the community through this work.

Please tell us about your journalism experience.

I am currently a freelance journalist and co-founder of Red, White and Brown Media. I was previously on staff at ProPublica, The Juggernaut, the Stanford Computational Journalism Lab, Mashable and NBC News Digital.

Aditi Sangal

Associate Producer, CNN
Based in Brooklyn, New York
Twitter: @AditiSangal

Why do you want to run for SAJA board?

The events of this year reinforced the importance of communities like SAJA to actively engage in conversations happening inside and outside newsrooms. I applaud the current members on doing a great job so far, and the possibility that I could take this work forward is an exciting one. When the Trump administration briefly announced its international student policy, I understood the support our immigrant student members would need having been one myself. I volunteered to be regularly listed on the SAJA newsletter for students to reach out to and several other members followed to contribute. I would love to further build such resources as a SAJA board member and encourage participation to make this community more valuable for every member.

Please tell us about your journalism experience.

I write breaking news at CNN for the digital live news platform that closely covers live, major news events. This involves writing news that breaks on air daily, creatively packaging it with headlines, multimedia and related material for homepages as well as social accounts. I also helped relaunch CNN’s morning audio news briefing for smart speakers. Prior to this, I worked at Digiday as a podcast producer, where I covered the business of media and technology. Originally from New Delhi, India, I moved to the U.S. five years ago and have a master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School.

Pia Sarkar

Business News Editor, The Associated Press
Based in Philadelphia
Twitter: @PiaSarkar_TK

Why do you want to run for SAJA board?

When my parents imagined a career for me, journalism was never on their list. And until college, it hadn't been on mine either. I didn't grow up with any journalists, nor did I even know anyone who wanted to be a journalist. But once I joined my college newspaper, I was hooked. Years later, I discovered I was not alone. I joined SAJA soon after its creation and was amazed to see how many other South Asians had followed a similar path. It was a unique bond I hadn't experienced in any of the newsrooms I'd worked in. When I moved to California, I fell out of touch with SAJA but still longed for that bond. I became active in AAJA, and for the past four years I have served on its national board. But now I am eager to return to SAJA and help build it into a bigger, stronger organization, where we can see more of us in each other.

Please tell us about your journalism experience.

As a business news editor for The Associated Press, I oversee coverage of retail, airlines, autos and energy, including breaking news and enterprise. I am also an editor on the National Race and Ethnicity team, helping steer coverage on issues of race as they intersect with business, politics, education, law enforcement, entertainment, and sports. I am a member of the AP's Stylebook committee. I previously served as an editor for legal trade publications, including The American Lawyer. Before that, I was a reporter for TheStreet.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Bergen Record and the Providence Journal. I received my master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Afia Sengupta

CEO and Chief Correspondent,  Current Affairs Times
Based in Jersey City, NJ
Twitter: @Currentafftimes

Why do you want to run for SAJA board? 

I found my organization which in a limited span of a few months has gained popularity in an attempt to encourage free flow of information. Our goal is to make media more accessible to the public. SAJA and our team can help each other and mutually collaborate.

Please tell us about your journalism experience. 

I own a media outlet.

Nirvi Shah

Senior deputy editor, Politico
Arlington, VA
@NirviShah

Why do you want to run for SAJA board? 

In my current role as a senior newsroom manager at POLITICO, I make hiring decisions and contribute to our recruiting operation. This year shined a spotlight on how much work newsrooms, including my own, still have to do on diversifying their staffs and bringing in voices from a greater cross section of society. Through its work supporting young journalists, journalism that captures the experiences of South Asians and the South Asian diaspora, and its training programs to help working South Asian journalists grow, SAJA is perfectly positioned to help newsrooms broaden their hiring pipelines and match them with potential hires. As part of the SAJA board, I would bring my experience to build on the organization’s strong foundation and work to improve newsroom diversity at my own outlet and others across the country, as well as ensure that South Asians are represented fairly and accurately on every platform. This work is only more urgent in the era of a U.S. vice president of South Asian heritage.It would be an honor to contribute to SAJA’s work in any way possible as a member of the board. Let's do this!

Please tell us about your journalism experience. 

I've spent the last 7.5 years as an editor for POLITICO, where I have launched dozens of new streams of content both in the U.S. and for POLITICO's European operation in Brussels. I am the founding editor of POLITICO's education policy coverage in the U.S. As the editor in charge of subscription policy news services in Brussels, my work helped POLITICO Europe eventually generate nearly half of its revenue from readers willing to pay for must-read policy news. My experience also includes reporting for metro dailies (The Palm Beach Post, The Miami Herald) on the education, business and local government beats as well as covering national and state education policy news for Education Week.

Prerana Thakurdesai

Freelance filmmaker
New York City
Twitter: @preranatd

Why do you want to run for SAJA board?

I have been on the SAJA board for the past 4 years and served as its President for two years. As an immigrant myself, I've found comfort in the inclusive community that SAJA has managed to create for people with a shared heritage and otherwise. In the past four years, I have contributed to creating a wider membership base, including all South Asian ethnicities in SAJA programs, leading the SAJA@25 mega conference, raising funds, re-connecting with SAJA's old members, supervising all of SAJA's programs and forming individual connections with members. I'd like to continue this work on the board to ensure that SAJA has a bigger representation of all the South Asian ethnicities and minorities, make SAJA a more interactive space that its members can take ownership of, and create skill sharing and mentorship programs that help our members navigate the industry.

Please tell us about your journalism experience. 

I was a full time journalist in India between 2004-2011. I worked with national news organizations, both print and broadcast. Later, I turned creative producer for an investigative, documentary talk show, Satyamev Jayate, hosted by Aamir Khan. After moving to the US in 2013, I have been, intermittently, reporting for Indian news organizations from New York. As a documentary filmmaker and use journalistic practices in my field.

Mihir Zaveri

Reporter, The New York Times
Based in Brooklyn, NY
Twitter: @mihirzaveri

Why do you want to run for SAJA board?

I've been the president of SAJA for one year, and a member of the SAJA board for two years. Before that, I was a SAJA member based in California and Texas for about six years. As part of the organization's leadership, and as a member, I have developed a strong understanding of the organization's strengths, weaknesses and full potential, and if elected, I intend to continue to shepherd SAJA toward reaching its potential. Here are some of the recent achievements: -- In 2019, we put together an all-day conference and awards ceremony in NYC to celebrate the organization's 25th anniversary. -- We have given out thousands of dollars in financial support in internship support and scholarships to dozens of students. -- Last year, we waived member fees when the pandemic hit. -- We put on a series of virtual events this year, examining mental health, allyship in newsrooms, and much more, culminating in a keynote event and awards ceremony with some of the top names in the industry. -- We've grown our membership base by over 50 percent. -- Partnered with organizations like the Asian American Journalists Association and the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association. I plan to continue to make SAJA relevant to its members, and use the organization's pulpit to help change the industry: better coverage of South Asia and its diaspora and better diversity in newsrooms across North America. We will step up our efforts outside NYC and develop innovative ways to bolster formal and informal mentorship among members. And we will continue to partner with other organizations.

Please tell us about your journalism experience.

My interest in journalism began as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, where I joined the student newspaper The Daily Californian as a news reporter and later became an editor there. I interned at the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian, The Washington Post, and the Center for Investigative Reporting. I studied multimedia journalism at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and interned at the Associated Press in San Francisco. After graduating, I became a reporter at the Houston Chronicle, first covering the suburbs, and then county government (and many floods). I was briefly a member of the Asian American Journalists Association board. More than two years ago, I joined The New York Times as a breaking news reporter, and more recently I have joined the Metro Desk. At every stage of my education and career, I have helped lead efforts advocating for diversity in newsrooms, either through organizations like SAJA, or internal committees.

SAJA Board Candidates

Below, you will find the candidate statements for those running for a position on the SAJA board (in first name alphabetical order). There are (5) candidates running for (5) open seats on the board.

Then, log in to your SAJA account (click on the little blue icon on the top right of the web page) and VOTE HERE.

Deena Zaidi

Freelance Data Journalist

Why do you want to run for the board?

I started my writing journey in 2013 after publishing a working paper with the University of Singapore. I started with my own blog and wrote on economics, money and banking. I soon started freelancing for TheStreet.com for about two years or more.

I understand freelance is an uphill battle for those who start fresh and I think SAJA will be a great platform to initiate such conversations for those who are new to journalism or don’t have a degree in journalism but want to have a reporting career.

As someone who doesn’t have a journalism degree, I hope to provide a unique perspective and trigger discussions that allow freelancers to better understand the resources and process of moving from freelance to full time or vice versa.

Since I have worked as a full-time data reporter with a local newspaper and single-handedly compiled a large database for the local newsroom, I am keen to share my learnings, insights and the value of strong data journalism in these most testing times.

What is your journalism experience?

I started my journalism journey with TheStreet.com in 2013 and crafted stories on earnings report, market reactions to IPOs, and the impact of geopolitics on global economies. I've written for Truthout, Seeking Alpha, and VentureBeat. I also wrote for a local non-profit The Borgen Project to alleviate global poverty. I have worked as a fact-checker for a local magazine called Seattle Met.

In 2018, I started working as a full-time data reporter with a local newsroom, The Puget Sound Business Journal in Seattle, where I reported on local businesses and compiled weekly lists for the newspaper. My focus was on data-driven stories that looked beyond the numbers. For the newsroom, I covered different industries in Washington state and the pandemic impacts on small businesses in the region.

I moved from Seattle in October 2020 and currently live in Toronto. I currently work as a freelance data journalist.

Farnoush Amiri

Congressional Reporter, AP

Why do you want to run for the board?

I am currently the vice president of SAJA and it has brought me immense joy and honor to be a part of this organization and represent it. I would like to continue to meet and work with journalists from the South Asia region and help connect them to resources SAJA provides like scholarships, internship grants and mentoring. I believe the representation that organizations like SAJA provide are a necessity to the industry and ensuring it is representative and accurate.

What is your journalism experience?

I am a congressional reporter for AP, based in Washington D.C. Before this role, I was a statehouse reporter in Columbus, Ohio, through the AP-Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Before coming to the AP, I was a national and breaking news reporter for NBC News. My AP career started in New York City in 2019 as a news associate.

John Laxmi

Freelancer

Why do you want to run for the board?

You have elected and re-elected me to serve as a Board member or Advisor to the Board and as Treasurer of SAJA since SAJA’s formal inception in 2001. I bring EXPERIENCE and CONTINUITY to SAJA. In voting for me, you will be endorsing FOCUS, DEDICATION, DISCIPLINE and COMPLIANCE.

FOCUS: As SAJA grows, so do demands and pressures on the organization’s capacity and resources, requiring triage, prioritization and focus on our core mission. My goals are to sharpen SAJA’s focus on core programs: Scholarships, Educational and Training programs and SAJA Reporting Fellowship Program.

DEDICATION: SAJA depends on each of us to devote CONSISTENTLY to its programs. Over the past two decades, I have actively participated in SAJA’s activities, despite significant demands on my time from my personal and business interests.

DISCIPLINE: While many non-profit and journalism groups have suffered severe financial setbacks, SAJA’s financial reserves and donor base have remained stable; SAJA has ZERO debt. This gives SAJA a strong outlook for maintaining its educational and outreach programs. As treasurer and Board Member, I have contributed to SAJA's financial stability and discipline.

COMPLIANCE: For nearly two decades, SAJA has entrusted to me important record-keeping and regulatory reporting obligations. All these responsibilities have been fulfilled consistently and accurately.

Working with members like you, volunteers and other board members, I will continue to help in SAJA’s governance, financial management, fundraising and membership drives. I will champion quality, excellence and controlled growth. If you have any questions, please contact me at johnlaxmisaja@gmail.com. Thanks.

What is your journalism experience?

For the most part, I am a freelance writer, except for one year (2000) during which I worked as a Contributing Writer at Global Finance Magazine. Topics I have written about include economics, arts, finance and politics.

Mythili Sampathkumar

Freelancer

Why do you want to run for the board?

I created and run the current iteration of SAJA's weekly newsletter, sharing members' work, announcements, and other important items. I would love to continue to bring that resource to members and survey all of you to keep improving on it because I think it's a small but important way for all of us to stay connected and know all the amazing things our members do. If I get elected again, I'm most looking forward to helping plan our first in-person event since a few months after I joined the board in 2020! I made such great friends through past SAJA events and it would be wonderful to see that happen for more members. My goals for a second term are to push for more book talks with South Asian writers, help expand our outreach for scholarship applicants across the country and not just well-known j-schools, continue to serve as an informal resource for SAJA freelancers, and keep making sure we have more diverse representation on our panels. I hope to also hold events with freelancers and local journalists from all over North America too, who often don't get the recognition they deserve.

What is your journalism experience?

My reporting has appeared in the LA Times, New York Times, NBC News, Fortune, Vox, Teen Vogue, The Daily Beast, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, Digital Trends, Mic, The Hindu, Times of India, and The Independent, where I was a staff reporter in the New York bureau. I have also authored to children's textbooks about social studies and edited two books: a photojournalism book about the pandemic and a guide to public health and climate change written by Yale professors. I have also done a variety of journalism-related copywriting and consulting work with organizations like the Committee to Protect Journalists, Facebook, and Twitter's news curation team.

Sabrina Malhi

Multiplatform Editor, The Washington Post

Why do you want to run for the board?

I never felt represented in my journalism career, and I want to help other young journalists find their representation and help them do good work. As an organization, SAJA has helped thousands of South Asian journalists, and I would like to keep being a part of that.

What is your journalism experience?

I am a multiplatform editor at The Washington Post. Previously, I was an associate editor for The Hill's opinion section and I was a reporter for several years covering healthcare.

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