Diversity within the communications field has been lacking, so CSUF has clubs on campus like Latino Journalists of CSUF and National Association of Black Journalists. As these clubs keep growing with members, a new club has emerged in spring of 2022–– Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA).
AAJA is CSUF’s first chapter of the broader nonprofit organization. At the start of the spring 2022 semester, it was registered as an official CSUF organization with the guidance of Dr. Phoborisut, a CSUF faculty member in the Department of Communications.
Jessica Choi and Nicole Trinidad are journalism students who serve as co-presidents of the club. As co-presidents, their mission is to help the members achieve success while uplifting diverse voices. “The main goal of AAJA is to promote diversity with the news, media, storytelling and to give accurate representation [to] Asian American voices,” said Choi. Trinidad explained a lack of campus organizations that cater to Asian Americans, and AAJA hopes to address that issue. “I saw Latino journalists, and I saw Black journalists, but there wasn’t really anything for Asian American journalists,” she observed.
She added that there tends to be a lack of representation for Asian Americans in journalism and the general media. “I personally want to see more representation in the media and more people in my field, so I can learn from them,” Trinidad explained.
To help its members prepare for success in the professional industry, AAJA plans to offer resources such as networking events, guest speaker panels and to let the members know of any internship opportunities. It aims to bridge the gap between students and industry professionals, giving students a better understanding of what they can expect when they leave college. Along with professional events, there will also be social nights to help members connect personally. Choi explained that they want to build an inclusive environment where Asian Americans and allies have a place to go.
“I’m just really looking forward to building a community of journalists and like-minded people. Something important in the field of journalism and communications is having a strong networking community, having people around you to learn from and talk with,” she said.
AAJA raised over $2,600 during #TitansGive, which will be used to cover membership fees, future events and other club-related activities. Students interested in becoming a member can reach out to board members or message them on Instagram. There’ll be monthly Zoom meetings on the last Wednesday of every month.