20150814_095023By Raji Ramanathan

The week started off with a bang – literally – as drums and dragons livened the stage at the 2015 Asian American Journalists Association convention in San Francisco.

As a UNITY Fellow, I participated in AAJA’s 2015 student newsroom program, VOICES.

As a VOICES student, I worked with my mentor, Michael Grant, on a features story and a news story.

It was fun for me as a Bay Area residence because I knew more about San Francisco than many of the other conference participants. So, I decided to do a fun, short ‘listicle’ on tourist hotspots that people can quickly visit using the Muni train, which is San Francisco’s public transportation system. It was an enjoyable experience because I took the camera and walked to some key spots for about four to five hours. I shot lots of video and photos, which I was able to incorporate into my story for the web.

Another story I worked on featured an entrepreneurial journalism panel at the convention. I had the pleasure of interviewing an accomplished journalist Yvonne Leow who redefined the meaning of entrepreneurial journalism to include not just businesses that involve the media, but to journalists in general. She said any journalist who takes a unique, fresh perspective on a story and can find a smart way to market it is an entrepreneurial journalist. I also attended the panel on how journalists can better sell their idea and how they can take their knowledge of the media industry and turn it into a business plan.

20150814_111518Whether it was going on a field trip to Discovery Digital Networks or singing karaoke alongside professional journalists, AAJA provided a plethora of opportunities for networking. VOICES mentors ensured that students walked out of convention with not only a handful of business cards, but also with valuable contacts and sources.20150815_213118

More from UNITY’s 2015 Reporting Fellow



When someone says, “I’m learning to come out of my shell,” he or she usually means it took them a while to get there. That might have been a few months, a few weeks, or in my case, a few days.

UNITY FELLOW: Kicking Off with NAJA

UNITY FELLOW: Kicking Off with NAJA

After a 10-hour red-eye flight from San Francisco, I dragged myself out of the airport to the hotel. I knew Washington, D.C. was going to be much hotter than California, but I underestimated the humidity.

About Raji

Raji Ramanathan, 22, is UNITY’s 2015 Reporting Fellow.

She is a University of California – Berkeley graduate.

The fellowship was created in 2014 based on feedback from the first annual diversity caucus convened by the UNITY board.

It is supported by funding from the Ford Foundation, and it allows college students to develop strong multimedia and cross-cultural reporting skills by attending five diverse journalism conventions this summer.

Learn more about the fellowship here, and watch for the application in the spring in the Opportunities section of this website.

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