AAJA: Pew Report Points to Need for Newsroom Diversity

The following text is from a press release issued today by AAJA:

The Pew Research Center just released a ground-breaking report on the growth of the Asian American community in the United States.

Several groups representing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have expressed concern that the Pew analysis reinforces “model minority” stereotypes, especially as it pertains to education. The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) shares these concerns, which is why we believe that newsrooms need more AAPI journalists to effectively interpret studies like Pew’s report and to present accurate and fair information to the public.

The study says Asian Americans are the fastest-growing minority group in the country: 5.8 percent of the nation’s population, up from less than 1 percent in 1965, when the modern immigration wave from Asia began.

Yet a recent survey by the American Society of News Editors showed that overall newsroom representation by journalists of color, including Asian Americans, fell for the fourth consecutive year.

Pew found that Asian Americans have the highest incomes and most education among all racial groups in the United States, the type of audience that newsrooms typically covet.

“Pew’s research reinforces the importance of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as a segment our society that newsrooms need to pay attention to,” said AAJA National President Doris Truong. “It was disappointing to see a lack of diverse perspectives — especially from major news networks — in covering this story. AAJA is well positioned to help hiring managers find talented journalists who can connect with increasingly diverse communities.”

Without the benefit of diverse voices to help educate within the newsroom, some news organizations risk losing credibility with their audience. Not only is diversity in hiring the right thing to do because it mirrors the changing complexion of our nation’s cities, it makes economic sense. Hiring journalists who can speak to a 21st-century audience — one in which people of color will be the majority — allows news organizations to remain relevant.

The Asian American Journalists Association is a nonprofit professional and educational organization with more than 1,500 members across the United States and in Asia. Founded in 1981, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry. AAJA’s mission is to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to enter the ranks of journalism, to work for fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs, and to increase the number of AAPI journalists and news managers in the industry. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists, along with the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. For more information about AAJA, visit www.aaja.org.

Asian Pacific American Legal Center Taps Rachanee Srisavasdi as Communications Director

Longtime Southern California courts reporter Rachanee Srisavasdi joins the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, today as its communication director.
Srisavasdi will oversee communication activities and strategies for APALC’s work across its program areas, including impact litigation, direct legal services and policy advocacy. Srisavasdi will help ensure that communications strategies are effectively deployed to increase the impact of APALC’s work on behalf of the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community.
Since 1997, Srisavasdi has served at the courts reporter for The Orange County Register covering civil and criminal cases with widespread public impact. As a journalist, Srisavasdi broke stories on the options backdating trial of former Broadcom Corporation CFO William Ruehle, and the public corruption trial of former Orange County Sheriff Mike Corona.
Srisavasdi previously covered the 2007 investigation on the beating death of jail inmate John Chamberlain, which resulted in the firing of top Sherriff’s Department officials and widespread reforms at the department’s jails. She also served at the lead reporter for the The Register’s coverage in 2005 of the $100 million legal settlement between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and the clergy’s abuse victims.
A former board member and co-president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association, Srisavasdi holds a B.A. in American Literature with a specialization in Asian American Studies from UCLA.
“Rachanee’s extensive experience investigating, reporting and writing on court cases, as well as her demonstrated commitment to the Asian and Pacific Islander community, will be tremendous assets to APALC” said Karin Wang, APALC Vice President of Programs and Communications. “We are excited that Rachanee joins us at this critical time in APALC’s history.”
Founded in 1983, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for civil rights, providing legal services and education, and building coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Pacific Americans and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. APALC is a member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, which also includes Asian American Institute (Chicago, IL), Asian American Justice Center (Washington, DC) and Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco, CA).