Cronkite School establishes AAJA student group

Students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University have founded the first university-based organization affiliated with the Asian American Journalists Association.

This is the fifth student journalism organization at Cronkite dedicated to issues of diversity in the news and in newsrooms. AAJA-ASU joins the Association of Multicultural Journalists, student chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the first campus chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

Established in 1981, AAJA is a nonprofit professional and educational organization that provides support to Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists and offers information, guidance and scholarship assistance to Asian American and Pacific Islander journalism students.    

AAJA-ASU was founded by students Kiali Wong, Karen Schmidt and Raffy Ermac with the assistance of former Cronkite faculty associate Yvonne Leow and Arizona Republic reporter Michelle Lee, a board member of AAJA’s Arizona chapter.

"We founded AAJA-ASU with the mission to help foster a sense of togetherness and community,” Ermac said. “I have met so many great people, and we can all relish the fact that we all share not only a cultural heritage but the same career goals and aspirations.”

Michael Wong, Cronkite director of career services and an AAJA member, said that the organization provides excellent professional development opportunities for students.   

“Students have opportunities to apply for scholarships and fellowships, find mentors and network with professionals,” Wong said.   

Among the group’s activities this year were a recruitment event, a resume workshop and a joint social event with ASU’s student chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.