What’s on the plate for AAJA Seattle

Outgoing and incoming AAJA members hold a retreat to discuss 2012.

Members of the old board and freshly-elected AAJA Seattle board met at a retreat last week to hand off ideas and kick off the new year. Thanks to all the board members for coming, and to Sharon Chan for hosting the event in her condo building. Here are some raw notes from the meeting about what we have planned for 2012.

Sanjay, the outgoing president, outlined the chapter history for new board members:

    • Founded in mid-’80s, 1986. Third nat’l chapter after LA and SF
    • 2006 reached milestone of raising 100k
    • Founders scholarship, try to give out one per year

Three priorities that AAJA Seattle has established

  1. Outreach – partnership with SPJ for savings for AAJA members. Trying to figure out how to engage members more.
  2. Mentoring
  3. Training

A few words of wisdom from outgoing president Sanjay Bhatt

  • “If you’re doing it right, it should be a lot of fun. It’s a way to make an impact in the community,” Sanjay told us, adding that success only comes with everyone stepping up to lead in their own way; an ethic of giving.
  • Encourage all of you to think of leadership at the national level. Back in mid- 80s it wasn’t trendy to back diversity. They were viewed suspiciously back then. But Seattle Times and KING5 have been huge partners.
  • Hoping we can figure out ways to get a lot more people involved. We’re here for the members, we can only do
  • People renew with us because we’re a tight-knight community, more so than any other organization.


  • AAJA is doing an audit with all chapters
  • Relationship between national and chapter — we all operate under the same TAX ID#. Need to send reports to national finance board.


  • $600 carryover from last year
  • Need to be more creative about how to make money without sacrificing our principles. Don’t ask a company you cover to pay for money.
Community engagement
  • Reach out to new members, welcome them to the area– look at membership trends. Fastest-growing segment was students and freelancers — bulk is print and broadcast
  • What are the issues they’re dealing with?
  • Holding smaller events, training is effective

Design workshop

The second part of the retreat was a “design workshop” where all board members (outgoing and incoming) got post-it notes and were asked to write down three answers to each question Sanjay posed.

Question 1: What do we love about what AAJA Seattle already does?

What we love: Community, outreach

Question 2: How do we want to improve AAJA Seattle in the upcoming years?

Plans for the future: Outreach beyond UW students, financial stability & fundraising, larger pool of active members, broader range of involvement from active members, Web video film festival, more transparency, more journalism (TECH) training, engagement with the wider community – awareness, brand awareness, job board, visibility, transparency, journalism inspiration.

Areas we’d like to strengthen:

  • Member involvement/engagement
  • Member growth/student recruitment
  • Financial stability/fundraising
  • Student/univ involvement
  • Training
  • Job board
  • Engagement w/public
  • Fairness & accuracy in coverage of AAPIs
  • Training: Free for AAJA student members and recently-laid off members, different levels of training, constant surveying of the needs of members

Stay tuned for more details soon on the AAJA Seattle Lunar New Year event. We’re finalizing a few details now and will start selling tickets soon!


About Lauren Rabaino

Lauren is an associate producer at The Seattle Times. Before moving to the Pacific Northwest, she worked with journalism startups in California, where she was raised and went to college. View all posts by Lauren Rabaino →
This entry was posted in Meeting notes, News. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.