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  • 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: http://www.saja.org/scholarships. 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 saja@saja.org

    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 (SAJAForum.org) 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 [http://www.drunkenboat.com], 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 saumya.vaishampayan@gmail.com 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.

  • 2012-11-08 2:51 PM | Jigar Mehta

    The SAJA board would like to announce and invite any SAJA full member who wants to run for this year's SAJA board elections. Our organization has more than 750 paid members and we are continuing to grow as we speak!

    Seven SAJA board member positions are open for the two year term of 2013 & 2014. In December, these spots will be filled through our elections. 
    Only full members, not associate members, of SAJA are eligible to contest for the board member slots. 

    Those who have a strong interest in journalism and coverage of South Asia(n) issues are urged to consider running for the election. 
    People involved in public relations, law, accounting or marketing can make valuable contributions to SAJA's board as well. We would like members based outside of New York City to contest as well. 

    Important requirements for serving on the board are a spirit of teamwork, leadership and the commitment of at least a few hours each week, on activities ranging from organizing events to judging applications for awards/scholarships.

    If you have any questions about running or serving on the board, you can reach out to SAJA President Anusha Shrivastava:  President@Saja.org
  • 2012-07-15 1:53 PM | Jigar Mehta

    The Daniel Pearl Award for outstanding reporting about South Asia: All media
    The Unwinnable war, Aryn Baker, Time

    War pulls apart Afghan families, Joshua Partlow, The Washington Post

    At Afghan military hospital, graft and deadly neglect, Maria Abi-Habib, The Wall Street Journal

    Outstanding enterprise reporting about South Asia or the worldwide South Asian diaspora: All media
    Series: On the smuggler’s trail, Stewart Bell, The National Post

    From Kerala to Dayton, Arthur Pais, India Abroad

    Outstanding breaking news reporting about South Asia or the worldwide South Asian diaspora: All media
    No Finalists

    Outstanding business story about South Asia, or the worldwide South Asians diaspora: All media
    J.P Morgan’s hunt for Afghan gold, James Bandler, Fortune


    Outstanding arts, culture, or travel story about South Asia, or the worldwide South Asians diaspora: All media
    Kabul rock city, Ali M. Latifi, Al-Jazeera


    India’s vanishing vultures, Meera Subramanian, Virginia Quarterly Review

    Outstanding editorial/commentary on South Asia, or the worldwide South Asians diaspora: All media
    When parochialisms collide, Parthiv N. Parekh, Khabar

    China’s century -- or India’s? Zoher Abdoolcarim, Michael Schuman and Bill Powell, Time

    The politics of grief, V.V. Ganeshananthan, Granta

    Outstanding visual storytelling about South Asia, or the worldwide South Asians diaspora (includes audio slide shows, photo essays and video stories)
    Why are children smoking in Indonesia? Jon Meyersohn and Dan Harris, ABC News

    With newborn baby, Bhutanese refugee family plants American roots, Matt O'Brien and Jane Tyska, Inside Bay Area

    Photographs of Afghanistan show a country carved up by war, Balazs Gardi and Teru Kuwayama, The Daily Beast

    For journalists of South Asian origin working in North America for any media outlet: Outstanding story on any subject: All media

    Born on 9/11- Ten Children, Ten Years Later, Zain Shauk, Susan Carroll, Johnny Hanson, Tanyia Johnson, The Houston Chronicle

    Outstanding editorial/op-ed/commentary on any subject: All media


    Outstanding story on any subject by a South Asian student in the US or Canada: All media
    A double edged sword: gay and illegal in America, Kumutha Ramanathan (FIRST prize)

    Squeezed out in India, students turn to U.S, Nida Najar (SECOND prize)

    JUDGES: Franz Strasser, The BBC; Mark Stein, Dow Jones; Tiffany Harness, The Washington Post; Prabha Natarajan, Dow Jones; Jonathan Capehart, MSNBC contributor; Blake Hounshell, Foreign Policy.

  • 2011-12-12 3:04 PM | Jigar Mehta

    Ten candidates ran for four open board seats

    SAJA members re-elected three incumbents and added one newcomer to form SAJA's 2012-2013 board, in an election where ten candidates vied for four open seats.

    Those elected at the annual meeting on Dec. 8 were Sovy Azhath, Anup Kaphle, John Laxmi and Anusha Shrivastava.

    The other candidates, in what was a close election, were Tejinder Singh, Masum Momaya, Devin Banerjee, Sopan Deb, Malini Doddamani  and Shefali S. Kulkarni.

    Shrivastava, reporter, foreign exchange at Dow Jones Newswires/The Wall Street Journal, is SAJA's current vice-president. Laxmi, a partner & chief operating officer at Alinda Capital Partners LLC is SAJA’s current treasurer and has served on the board since 2001. Azhath is a CNN headline news producer and SAJA’s current secretary. Kaphle, online world and national security editor for  The Washington Post, joins the board for his first term.

    They join current board members Jigar Mehta, Aseem Chhabra, Sree Sreenivasan, Ismat Mangla, Amita Parashar, Sharaf Mowjood and Raakhee Mirchandani.
    The annual meeting took place just prior to SAJA's festive holiday parties in New York.

    After nine year including two as President, Sandeep Junnarkar is stepping down from the SAJA board. Junnarkar said that despite stepping off the board, he hopes to actively help SAJA with its long term strategies and fundraising efforts.

    "It's been an honor to work for SAJA's members for nearly a decade," he said. "The growing number of members is a testament to the association's success with its scholarships, fellowships and events programming."

    The board will hold its first meeting in January, 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 saja@saja.org

    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.

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  • 2011-10-29 9:47 PM | Jigar Mehta
    SAJA Board Elections
    With November around the corner, the SAJA board would like to announce and invite any SAJA full member who wants to run for this year's SAJA board elections. Our organization has more than 750 paid members and we are continuing to grow as we speak!
    Four SAJA board member positions will be open for the two year term of 2012 & 2013. These spots will be filled through these elections later this fall. 
    Only full members, not associate members, of SAJA are eligible to contest for the board member slots. 
    Those who have a strong interest in journalism and coverage of South Asia(n) issues are urged to consider running for the election. People involved in journalism, PR, law, accounting or marketing can make valuable contributions to SAJA's board. We would like members based outside New York City to contest as well.
    Important requirements for serving on the board are a spirit of teamwork, leadership and the commitment of at least a few hours each week, on activities ranging from organizing events to judging applicationsfor awards/scholarships.


    If you have any questions about running or serving on the board, you can reach out to SAJA President Jigar Mehta at President@Saja.org
  • 2011-09-29 7:36 AM | Jigar Mehta

    NEW YORK, September 29, 2011: The South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) and SAJA Group Inc. are proud to announce the winners of the 2011 Second Round SAJA Reporting Fellowships Program.

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

    (1)   Lily Jamali: $4,995

    Lily Jamali, a freelancer multimedia journalist who has produced pieces for PRI/BBC's "The World," CNN and Time.com, will document how climatic changes are affecting the island nation of the Maldives.


    (2) Erik Olsen & Matthew Orr: $7,000


    Erik Olsen and Matthew Orr, are video journalists at the New York Times, will produce a piece about how a group of isolated tribes living near the Bay of Bengal are coping with the growing encroachment of modern society. 

    (3)   Brent Lewin: $5,360


    Brent Lewin, a freelancer who has been published in the Global Post, Bloomberg and Discovery Channel Magazine, plans to report on the continued use of children as miners in the India coal industry.

    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 January 2012.

    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. [link: http://saja.org/srf]

    The judge for the final round was:  Raju Narisetti, the Managing Editor of the Washington Post. 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

  • 2011-09-22 10:25 AM | Jigar Mehta

    For more information, contact Sandeep Junnarkar at awards@saja.org.

    NEW YORKundefinedThe South Asian Journalists Association is pleased to announce four outstanding journalists who have won the 2011 Knowledge@Wharton Awards for Business Journalism, sponsored by SAJA, the Wharton School and the Knowledge@Wharton online business journal. 

    –Tanzina Vega, a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a reporter for The New York Times, won the NAHJ-Knowledge@Wharton Award.

     Kimberly Chou, a member of the Asian American Journalists Association and a news assistant at the Wall Street Journal, won the AAJA-Knowledge@Wharton Award.

    –Priyanka Dayal, a member of SAJA and a business reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (a New York Times Co. newspaper), is one of the recipients of the SAJA-Knowledge@Wharton Award.

    –Aruna Viswanatha, a member of SAJA and a journalist Reuters in New York, is another winner of SAJA-Knowledge@Wharton Award.

    The awards provide journalists with a scholarship to attend the prestigious Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists (www.wharton.upenn.edu/journalists) at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in October. Knowledge@Wharton and SAJA launched the award in 1999 and later expanded it to include the four organizations in UNITY: Journalists of Color -- AAJA, NABJ, NAHJ and Native American Journalists Association. (This year there were no NAJA applicants.)

    "A mortgage crisis, global market turmoil, federal, state and local government budget cuts and tracking federal stimulus money. It’s clear that economic and business coverage is important no matter what beat a journalist covers," said Sandeep Junnarkar, the SAJA Fellowships and Awards Chair. "The Wharton seminar is an immensely valuable opportunity for journalists to learn about intricacies of business coverage. We're grateful to the Wharton School for the 12th year of continued support."

    Any member of SAJA, AAJA, NABJ, NAHJ or NAJA who is a reporter, editor or producer (including freelancers) currently living in the United States or Canada and working in business journalism or a field that overlaps, such as healthcare or technology, is eligible to apply for the scholarship. Applicants must be available to attend the Wharton program this year. Individuals with two to seven years of experience as a business reporter or those new to business reporting, but with five to 10 years of experience as a reporter in another field, are encouraged to apply.

    "Knowledge@Wharton seeks to disseminate the knowledge behind the news, and the continuing support of the Knowledge@Wharton Awards for SAJA and the UNITY organizations fits in well with this mission," said Mukul Pandya, executive director and editor in chief of Knowledge@Wharton. "We are delighted to welcome this year's winners to the Wharton Seminars."

    The judges for this year's awards were members of the SAJA Board.

    About Knowledge@Wharton and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
    http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/is a free biweekly online resource that captures knowledge generated at Wharton through such channels as research papers, conferences, books, and interviews with faculty on current business topics, and distributes that knowledge online to a global business audience. The Knowledge@Wharton network includes more than 1.3 million subscribers and contains more than 2,000 articles and research papers in its database, with more added every week.
    The Wharton School -- founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school -- is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world, Wharton bridges research and practice through its broad engagement with the global business community. The school has more than 4,600 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 8,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and an alumni network of more than 85,000 graduates.

    About the South Asian Journalists Association
    The South Asian Journalists Association http://www.saja.org, 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 800 journalists working for leading newspapers, broadcast networks and new media outlets in various cities in the U.S. and Canada. The organization is best known for its web-based SAJA Stylebook for Covering South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora (http://www.saja.org/stylebook) -- "Learn to tell your Hindi from Hindu, and much, much more" -- and its annual SAJA Journalism Awards, which recognize outstanding coverage of South Asia and excellence in reporting by South Asian journalists and students in the U.S. and Canada. Each year, more than 700 journalists attend the SAJA National Convention in NYC.



  • 2011-06-19 10:00 PM | Jigar Mehta
    June 19, 2011

    NEW YORK The South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) and SAJA Group Inc. are pleased to announce the winners in its annual journalism awards contest.

    Winners for the SAJA 2011 Journalism Awards for work published in 2010 include NPR, Time, The New York Times and Glamour.

    This year, SAJA received more than 200 entries in 10 categories. The winners were selected through an tough two-step judging process that involved more than 20 judges. Each award winner and the finalists received a certificate at SAJA's 17th Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at Columbia University. The student winners received an additional cash prize.

    Category 1 - The Daniel Pearl Award for outstanding reporting about South Asia, or South Asians in North America: All Media

    Winner: The Shadow War (Series) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 -- Mark Mazzetti,Dexter Filkins, The New York Times

    Judge’s Statement: The Shadow War exemplifies the very best of investigative reporting. It breaks significant news, tells a larger tale and explains policy implications along the way. The reporters' access and doggedness was most impressive.


    Along The Grand Trunk Road: Coming Of Age In India And Pakistan  --  Steve Inskeep; Julie McCarthy; Phillip Reeves, NPR
    On Patrol (Series) 1, 2, 3, 4 -- Christopher Chivers, The New York Times
    India’s Diabetes Epidemic Cuts Down Millions Who Escape Poverty -- Jason Gale, Bloomberg News
    Afghan Women and The Return of the Taliban -- Aryn Baker, TIME

    Category 2. Outstanding story about the worldwide South Asians diaspora: All Media

    Winner: Bhutanese refugees series -- Matt O'Brien, Jane Tyska, Contra Costa Times / Bay Area News Group

    Judge’s Statement:

    The Bhutan series is a meticulously detailed account of a development that with different players is evident all around the U.S.  Immigrants and refugees form a new community in a seemingly disparate place.  In this case Bhutanese refugees in northern California.  The reporter and photographer documented this in print, video and pictures in a way that is seldom seen-- as a continuum starting with the journey from the refugee camps and proceeding through the immense cultural adjustments to be made after arrival.  Extraordinary work.

    An American Honor Killing -- Abigail Pesta, Marie Claire
    Nikki Haley  -- George Joseph, India Abroad
    They've Struck Oil, But They're Not Rich -- Sachi Cunningham, Los Angeles Times

    Category 3. Outstanding business story about South Asia, or the worldwide South Asians diaspora: All Media

    Winner: The Organ Dealer -- Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, Discover magazine  

    Judge’s statement:

    The Organ Dealer is meticulously reported and compellingly written, so much so that you feel you are at the author's side during his investigation. Mr. Bhattacharjee's writing conveys an impressive knowledge of the complex health and business issues  involved with the black market for kidneys. An investigative tour de force.

    Suicides in India Revealing How Men Made a Mess of Microcredit -- Yoolim Lee, Ruth David,  Bloomberg News
    Tax-Free Living in Pakistan -- Adam Ellick, The New York Times

    Category 4. Outstanding arts, culture, or travel story about South Asia, or South Asians in North America: All media

    How India's Success Is Killing Its Holy River --  Jyoti Thottam, TIME    

    Judge’s statement
    This well-researched, wide-ranging piece expertly explains how industrial development in India is causing a water crisis that’s crippling communities along a 600-mile stretch of the Ganges River. By examining the historical, environmental, geographical and religious components of India’s “war over water,” Thottam illuminates a complex issue that has global implications, and brings it home through finely etched personal stories.


    Street Food Goes Gourmet -- Preeti Chandan, India-West
    A Normal Man In A Not So Normal World -- Amitava Kumar, Preston Merchant,  The Caravan
    Behind the Scenes at the South Asian Spelling Bee -- Dr Mona Khanna, Shar Adrias, southasianspellingbee.com

    Category 5. Outstanding editorial/commentary on South Asia, or South Asians in North America: All media

    Winner: My Mother's Last Sari -- Madhulika Sikka, Daily Beast

    Judge’s Statement:
    My Mother's Last Sari is a beautifully crafted poignant essay which manages to be both moving and unsentimental which is  a remarkable feat given the subject - a daughter writing about her mother's passing. The death of a parent has been the subject of many moving essays and tributes but Madhulika manages to weave in a much larger story of immigration and the courage of these early immigrants, the traditional women whose courage and bravery is too often dismissed, sometimes even by their own children. The sari becomes a symbol of something far more than six yards of cloth, rising beyond being a repository of cultural tradition to an emblem of courage and strength.


    Obama's Pakistan Dilemma -- Matthew Kaminski, The Wall Street Journal
    But Is It Racist? -- Tanzila Ahmed, Sepia Mutiny
    Photojournalist notebook: Reflections on a visit to Bhutan and Nepal, Jane Tyska, The Oakland Tribune/Bay Area News Group

    Category 6. Outstanding photograph about South Asia, or the worldwide South Asians diaspora (single or series)

    Winner: Women of Afghanistan Under Taliban Threat -- Jodi Bieber, TIME


    Jodi Beiber did an amazing job with a difficult topic and one endemic to countries beyond Afghanistan's borders. Bieber's very human treatment highlights the subject of abuse and violence against women without exploiting the woman as victim. It highlights her inherent beauty as well as the offense.


    The Mainali Family Journey Part 1 & 2 -- Jane Tyska, The Oakland Tribune/Bay Area News Group
    Along The Grand Trunk Road: Coming Of Age In India And Pakistan  --  NPR

    Category 7. Outstanding coverage of the South Asian environment, including the Pakistan floods (All Media)

    Winner: NPR Flood Coverage -- Julie McCarthy, NPR

    Judge’s statement:

    These are exceptional reports. Everything that journalism should be.  While the coverage is outstanding in every way I was particularly impressed by the elegant writing of the narration.


    Coal India Limited -- Srinivas Kuruganti, Blurb books
    Inside the Flood Zone -- Reza Sayah, CNN

    Category 8. Outstanding story on any subject: All media

    Winner: The Most Wanted Surrogates in the World -- Habiba Nosheen, Hilke Schellmann, Glamour

    Judge’s statement:
    A very-well reported piece on surrogate mothers that not only addresses the personal and emotional cost of the practice but also highlights a conundrum for policy makers --  which insurance company pays for the medical care of these pregnant women, who may sometimes  profit from bearing another couple's child. And getting it published in Glamour, competing against headlines like "30 Flirty Dresses under $125" ...priceless!


    More airport security screenings for Sikhs (Series) -- Anju Kaur, Sikh News Network
    Rwanda: Take Two -- Pia Sawhney, The Washington Post
    Warlord Reflection On Liberia's Bloody Wars -- Seema Mathur, Mike Martin, CNN
    SF Police Chief: Muslims a Possible Threat -- Anser Hassan , Illume Media

    Category 9. Outstanding editorial/op-ed/commentary on any subject: All media

    Winner: Across the Border - Tech-savvy, Poverty-ridden -- Sujeet Rajan, The Indian Express North American edition

    Judge’s Statement:

    In his thought-provoking essay about the parallel worlds of progress and poverty, Mr. Rajan cautions readers not to forget about "Shining India"'s darker side. He uses vivid examples to make his points, while staying focused and tight in his writing.


    Let These Women Pray! -- Asra Nomani, Daily Beast
    Detention Reform and Its Discontents, Anil Kalhan, Dorf on Law

    Category 10. Outstanding photograph about South Asia, or the worldwide South Asians diaspora (single or series)

    Judges did not select a winner in this category.

    Category 11. Outstanding story on any subject by a South Asian student in the US or Canada: All media

    First place:
    Watch and learn -- Riddhi Shah, Boston Globe - ($500 Prize)

    Judge’s Statement: Riddhi Shah’s piece is an enjoyable read with history and context. The reporting, tone and writing was compelling and kept me engaged.

    Second place--tie: ($300 Prize)
    Canadian women getting controversial surgery to mimic virginity -- Tamara Baluja, The Province
    Rogue militias abuse rural Afghans -- Mujib Mashal, Al Jazeera English

    Third Place--tie: ($200 Prize)
    $325 a week; living as a newspaper vendor -- Vishal Persaud, The Wage Divide
    The Heretics -- Vivekananda Nemana, Shoeleather Magazine
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