AAJA Author archives for Sanjay Bhatt

Sanjay Bhatt jumped into journalism in 1996, landing his first job at The Times Leader, a daily in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He juggled covering 12 school districts and loved turning out enterprising, investigative pieces. Within a year, he got hired by The Palm Beach Post of West Palm Beach, Fla., where he spent the next six years building a reputation as a top health reporter. The biggest story he covered there was the 2001 anthrax investigation. In 2003, he joined The Seattle Times, where he has examined public schools, neighborhood issues, the economic crisis and local government. He enjoys producing mini-documentaries, trying new ideas online and learning new technologies.

June 7: Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship reception

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On June 7, KING will host AAJA Seattle’s Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship reception. Mark your calendars now.

Each year the scholarship recognizes talented young incoming and existing college students from Washington state who have their sights set on a career in journalism. AAJA Seattle has awarded scholarships to more than 120 students, who have gone on to work for The Seattle Times, The Los Angeles Times, CBS News and Sony Pictures, among other places.

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Free Dorothy on Friday on Facebook, Twitter

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On Friday, May 6, it will be one week since the Syrian government detained former Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter and AAJA Seattle member Dorothy Parvaz.

Download your “Free Dorothy” Facebook profile pic here, swap it out with your personal profile pic, and show solidarity on Friday with her family and friends. If you feel so moved, swap it out with your Twitter pic too!

If the link above is broken, go to http://aajaseattle.org/FreeDorothy.jpg

Many thanks to designer Wendy Wahman for producing this quickly, and to Kristen Young who posted it initially Thursday as her Facebook profile picture!

Be sure to “Like” the Free Dorothy page on Facebook.

Ever since Al Jazeera first reported that 39-year-old Parvaz was missing after being sent to cover news there, the number of people calling for her release has multiplied day by day. Because she worked at both The Seattle Times and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and hails from Vancouver, naturally the journalists in the Pacific Northwest began flooding the Syrian embassy’s inbox earlier in the week. The Seattle media have been following her story closely.

Her story quickly circled the globe. A few:

New Zealand

– Washington, D.C. (NPR, Washington Post)

Toronto and Vancouver, Canada



We don’t know how long it’s going to take to bring Dorothy back home, but her supporters are determined to keep up the pressure on our Congressional representatives, the U.S. State Department and the Syrian government. This is not an issue that will be allowed to fade into the background.

If you’d like to join our campaign, send an email to aajaseattle@gmail.com. Several groups are coalescing around this campaign and will be developing strategies to keep Dorothy’s case in the spotlight.

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Dorothy’s friends, colleagues call on Syria to free her

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From coast to coast, friends and colleagues of Al Jazeera reporter D. Parvaz are calling on Syria to return her home safely. Dorothy, or “D,” as she was known to her many friends in the Seattle area, has been missing in Syria since last Friday afternoon, according to Al Jazeera, which has demanded her immediate return.

Today is World Press Freedom Day. It’s time for governments everywhere to release journalists and respect Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Be sure to send a tweet today with #FreeDorothy.

Here’s a copy of a letter AAJA National President Doris Truong and I sent this morning. Feel free to adapt it to your needs and email your own to as1@syrembassy.net. The more people they hear from the better!

Ambassador Imad Moustapha

Embassy of Syria

2215 Wyoming Ave N.W.

Washington D.C. 20008 USA

                                                                                                                      May 3, 2011

Dear Sir:

We have learned that one of our friends and colleagues, Dorothy Parvaz, has been missing in Syria since Friday afternoon. Al Jazeera reports that it sent her there to cover news and lost contact with the 39-year-old after she arrived in Damascus on a Qatar Airways flight.

By now, the Syrian government is well aware that Dorothy’s family, friends and colleagues are concerned for her safety. We are alarmed by the government’s silence on her status, especially at a time when so many journalists in the Middle East are being killed or attacked.

The disappearance of a journalist should be troubling to all who long for peace. We rely on journalists as honest brokers of information and perspectives. They keep us aware of what is happening on the ground. They are our wise eyes.

Dorothy wrote for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, was a member of the Asian American Journalists Association and received fellowships to study at Harvard University and Cambridge University in England.

Today is World Press Freedom Day. The Syrian government has an opportunity to do the right thing. The Director-General of UNESCO put out a statement worth repeating:

“Silencing the media or attempting to intimidate them is an unacceptable assault on the right of citizens to be informed. I call on all countries in the world to respect the right to free expression, as laid down in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the right to freedom of information.”

On behalf of the 1,500 members of the Asian American Journalists Association, we respectfully call on your government to release Dorothy Parvaz and allow her to return safely to her family and colleagues. If she is not in custody, we respectfully ask that you cooperate with the U.S. State Department’s request to locate her. We will remain vigilant in monitoring your government’s actions and reporting on her status.


Doris Truong

National President, Asian American Journalists Association


Sanjay Bhatt

Seattle chapter president, Asian American Journalists Association


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Dorothy Parvaz, former Seattle P-I writer, missing in Syria

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One of our own, Dorothy Parvaz, a former Seattle Post-Intelligencer writer and AAJA Seattle member who joined Al Jazeera in 2010, is missing in Syria.

Some suspect she has been detained by Syrian authorities. This could be a fast-changing situation, so please tweet updates using hashtag #FreeDorothy.

Al Jazeera has demanded her return safely. She left Qatar on Friday for Syria to help cover events taking place there. Al Jazeera reports there has been no contact with the 39-year-old since she disembarked from a Qatar Airways flight in Damascus.

An Al Jazeera spokesman said: “We are concerned for Dorothy’s safety and wellbeing. We are requesting full cooperation from the Syrian authorities to determine how she was processed at the airport and what her current location is. We want her returned to us immediately.”

Read more from Al Jazeera here: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/20115211460620208.html

Some of you know Dorothy well, while others may only have read her byline. I pray she is safe and will come back to her colleagues as soon as possible.

I’m in touch with the Committee to Protect Journalists and monitoring this to see how AAJA Seattle might offer constructive support. We will continue to post updates as we receive more information.

On Twitter, some AAJA members already have begun to call on the Syrian government to release Dorothy. Hashtag is #FreeDorothy.

Former colleague Larry Johnson advises:
“She’s been missing since Friday. Everyone should contact the Syrian embassy in Washington, D.C. Calls are best, emails help. We need to do this now!” he wrote to P-I Help Google group.

Marsha Milroy provided contact info:


The Embassy Main Line (202) 232-6316 And their press office: as1@syrembassy.net; 202-232-6313 x139

I will be crafting a letter on behalf of AAJA Seattle to the Syrian embassy.

In unity,

Sanjay Bhatt
President, AAJA Seattle
Reporter, The Seattle Times

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SPJ offers travel writing seminar on Monday

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MONDAY, May 2, 7 p.m., Seattle Times auditorium

Learn what it takes these days to make a go of travel writing, get tips on producing compelling travel stories and find out what editors are really looking for – and how to pitch them.

Free for members of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association.  $10 for non-members.

Free parking and pizza included.

This program is part of the SPJ’s Spring continuing education series. For all the classes go to http://www.spjwash.org

The Seattle Times is located at 1120 John St., Seattle, in the South Lake Union area. WA 98109. Free parking is available in the visitors lot across John St. from the main entrance.

Please RSVP to Hilary Reeves at hilary.j.reeves.com

Speakers for this seminar:

Paul Frichtl, editor, Alaska Airlines Magazine

Cathy McDonald: freelance writer, author of The Seattle Times’ popular Walkabout column and editor/researcher for Rick Steves

Joe Myxter, travel editor, MSNBC.com

Chris Solomon, who writes for New York Times travel section, Outside, Ski Magazine and other publications

Moderator: Kristin Jackson, a travel writer and editor at The Seattle Times

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