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Announcing SAJA Convention 2008

Many thanks to all who made the 2008 SAJA Convention and Job Fair was a great success! You can read full coverage - both the serious and fun parts - at SAJAforum.org/convention and see photos here.

Check back shortly for a feedback form.

Please mark your calendars: 2009 SAJA Convention, for our 15th anniversary, is July 10-11, 2009 in NYC.

Hotels are available in the area, please contact Mellcrest our hotel suppliers for more information.

Sajacon- - -

The convention gets going on Thursday, June 19 with a special event: a screening of the new film Brick Lane at Columbia University that evening. The screening, sponsored by Sony Pictures Classics, will be followed by a Q&A with director Sarah Gavron and star Tannishtha Chatterjee.

On Friday, June 20, we head to CUNY's new Graduate Journalism School, where Robert Thomson, the new managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, will deliver the opening keynote before a day of workshops, panels, and salons.

Friday's evening reception will be held at the new New York Times building. The Times is sponsoring our welcome reception in this remarkable structure. There we'll hear from Times vice chairman Michael Golden and managing editor John Geddes.

Verjee_approved_2007On Saturday, June 21, we're back at Columbia's Lerner Hall for a plenary session about Decision '08: Reporters in the Trenches, followed by a day of discussion and ending with SAJA's signature awards & dinner gala. A Sunday brunch at a New York City restaurant will conclude the programming.

Our Saturday dinner keynote speaker is CNN's Zain Verjee, the State Department correspondent, and one of the best-known TV journalists in the world.

To register, please go to: http://www.ersvp.com/r/conv08

Advance registration ends on June 15, 2008. After that date, you may register on site.

For sponsorship details and opportunities, e-mail [email protected]

See below for more posts about the convention's workshops, panels, salons, and other activities.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

MAP: Where all the events are

Our four days of events are spread across four separate venues. See them all at the map below, or - even better, at this link.

View Larger Map

The Convention At A Glance

Thursday: Brick Lane screening at Columbia, sponsored by Sony Pictures Classics
6-6:45 p.m. reception, sponsored by Nair & Co.
7 p.m. screening (movie will start promptly)

Screening to be followed by a Q&A with SAJA Board member Aseem Chhabra, Brick Lane director Sarah Gavron and Brick Lane star Tannishtha Chatterjee.

Friday (CUNY campus):

9 a.m. Registration and breakfast

10 a.m. Opening keynote with Robert Thomson, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal

11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Superworkshops on Narrative Writing, Photojournalism, Videojournalism for the Web, and Broadcast Bootcamp (*you must select these options when you register)

12-5 p.m. Job Fair

1-4 p.m. Resume & clip critiques

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Salon for Students: The Washington Post's Amar Bakshi
Workshop: Writing Broadcast News with Merv Block
Workshop: Making the Argument: Opinion-Writing

1:15-2 p.m.:

Recruiter Panel

2:15-3:45 p.m.

Workshop: Long-form writing with Amitava Kumar
Panel: Documentary Filmmaking

4:30-5:30 p.m. SAJA Members Meeting

6:30-9:30 p.m. Opening Reception: A Conversation with New York Times Vice Chairman Michael Golden and Managing Editor John Geddes
The New York Times Building

6:30-7:30 p.m. Meeting for members of Buddy program, at reception

Saturday (Columbia campus):

9 a.m. Registration and breakfast

10-11 a.m. Plenary: Decision '08: Reporters in the Trenches

12-5 p.m. Job Fair

1-4 p.m. Resume, clip, & tape critiques

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Salon: Photographer J. Adam Huggins
Panel: Pakistan in Peril
Workshop: Radio and podcasting for print reporters
Salon: ESPN's Kevin Negandhi

1:15-2 p.m.:

Recruiter Panel

2:15-3:45 p.m.

Salon: Aisha Sultan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Workshop: The Editor's Take
Panel: Blogging to Augment Your Reporting

4-5:30 p.m.

Panel: Covering the Economy in a Time of Crisis
Salon Q&A: Reena Ninan of Fox News
Workshop: Freelance From Pitch to Print

6:30-7:30 p.m. Cocktail Hour

7:30-10 p.m. Annual SAJA Awards and Scholarship Dinner
Roone Arledge Auditorium, Lerner Hall

Sunday (Mint at 150 E. 50th St.):

11 a.m. -2 p.m. Brunch with comedians Dhaya Lakshminarayan and Dan Nainan and singer Jason Joseph

Thursday night: BRICK LANE

****Update: This event is now full. If seats are available, we will open the doors to those who have not registered around 6:50 p.m., on a first-come, first-serve basis.****




***YOU MUST BRING A PRINTOUT OF YOUR RECEIPT (from e-mail or from the

BRICK LANE, the widely acclaimed book by Monica Ali about Bangladeshi immigrants in London, is coming to U.S. theaters as a movie on June 20. On Thursday, June 19, the SAJA Convention & Job Fair is hosting a screening and discussion with director Sarah Gavron and star Tannishtha Chatterjee.

Here's the trailer [earlier SAJAforum coverage here].

Where: Roone Arledge Cinema, Columbia University
When: evening of Thursday, June 19
Reception: 6-6:45 pm, sponsored by Nair & Co.
Movie: 7 pm
Q&A with arts writer and SAJA Board member Aseem Chhabra: following the screening

Thanks to sponsor Sony Pictures Classics!

Brick Lane opens in NY and LA on June 20 and additional cities across
the US in the following weeks. More info at

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Basement Bhangra Deal for Convention Attendees

Experience a New York phenomenon—Basement Bhangra.

SAJA convention attendees get $13 admission all night and no wait (which is helpful because there is always a line). Head over after the Brick Lane event—and bring your badge!

***THIS IS NOT A CONVENTION EVENT*** but rather an event that is offering a special deal for attendees. SAJA and the convention staff are not responsible for this event.

This Isn't Desi Music

Basement Bhangra 3rd Thursdays are back!

2008 Summer Concert series curated by DJ Rekha kicks off this Thursday, June 19th, at SOBs!

June 19th: Abstract Vision with a special opening set by Katalyst

Featuring DJ Rekha and DJ Eddie Stats
Visuals by FICTIVE

Presented by DJ Rekha and ICED. Play the game at www.icedgame.com

SOBs, 200 Varick Street,
Subway: 1 to Houston St.
Info: (212) 252-2392


Friday, June 13, 2008

Speaking at SAJA

The following speakers will be joining us at the convention. Click each name to see where and when!

Jennifer Alban, Reuters

Aswini Anburajan, NBC

Vikas Bajaj, The New York Times

Amar Bakshi, The Washington Post

Andrea Bernstein, WNYC

Merv Block, broadcast news writing teacher

Christina Brown, MSNBC

Sewell Chan, The New York Times

Tanisttha Chatterjee, star of Brick Lane

Umar Cheema, 2008 Daniel Pearl Fellow at The New York Times /  reporter for The News International, Islamabad

Aseem Chhabra, arts writer and SAJA Board member

Sarah Gavron, director of "Brick Lane"

John Geddes, managing editor, The New York Times

Michael Golden, vice chairman, The New York Times

Ann Heppermann, radio producer

John Hilsenrath, Wall Street Journal

J. Adam Huggins, photographer

Leena Jayaswal, filmmaker, "Crossing Lines"

Jason Joseph, singer

Anil Kalhan, Visiting Assistant Professor, Fordham Law School

Kiran Khalid, Good Morning America, and filmmaker, "We Are Not Free"

Senain Kheshgi, filmmaker, "Project Kashmir"

Barbara Kiviat, Time magazine

Amitava Kumar, author

Rebecca Kutler, CNN

Carol Latter, editor, LIFE Publications

Dhaya Lakshminarayan, comedian

Jennifer 8. Lee, The New York Times

Steve Liesman, CNBC

Jigar Mehta, NYTimes.com

Jawad Metni, filmmaker, "Lebanon Cluster Bomb"

Dan Nainan,comedian

Kevin Negandhi, ESPN

Reena Ninan, Fox News

Kara Oehler, radio producer

Elaine Pofeldt, freelance

Renuka Rayasam, freelance

Pia Sawhney, documentary filmmaker

Hari Sreenivasan, CBS News

Mark Seibel, Online Managing Editor for McClatchy's Washington Bureau

Parvez Sharma, filmmaker, "A Jihad for Love"

Aisha Sultan, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Robert Thomson, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones

Nick Timiraos, Wall Street Journal

Annie Tritt, photographer

Tunku Varadarajan, NYU Stern School of Business

Leslie Wayne, The New York Times

Tom Zoellner, author

Monday, June 09, 2008

Salon: ESPN's Kevin Negandhi

SAJAer and ESPN sportscaster Kevin Negandhi joins us for a salon. It's your chance to ask the first national South Asian sports anchor in the U.S. your questions!

For SAJAforum coverage, check out this post.

Time: 11:30 am to 1 pm
Date: Saturday, June 21
Room: East Lounge, Columbia University's Lerner Hall

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Gala Scholarship & Awards Dinner

Verjee_approved_2007_2 This year's SAJA Gala Scholarship & Awards Dinner keynote speaker is CNN State Department correspondent Zain Verjee (pictured at left).




Our emcees: Hari Sreenvasan of CBS News (above left) and Reena Ninan of Fox News (above right). (You can chat with Reena on Saturday during her salon session.)

For a full press release about this year's SAJA Award Winners, go here.

SAJA Scholarship & Awards Dinner
Saturday, June 21
Cocktail Hour: 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Dinner: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Roone Arledge Auditorium, Columbia University's Lerner Hall
115th and Broadway
(Take the 1 train to the 116th Street stop.)

Resume, Clip & Tape Critiques

Want some feedback on your job hunt? Meet with a senior journalist to get some tips on your resume, clips, and tape!

Dates: Friday, June 20 @ CUNY and Saturday, June 21 @ Columbia
Time: 1-4 p.m.
Place: In the library @ CUNY and in room 568 @ Columbia University's Lerner Hall

Please sign up for a time slot IN ADVANCE by e-mailing [email protected]. Note that broadcast (tape) critiques will only be available on Saturday.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Workshop: Making the Argument: Opinion-Writing

Learn opinion-writing from one of the greats—Tunku Varadarajan. A longtime supporter of SAJA, Varadarajan has worked at the Times of London, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. At the latter publication he spent time as the op-ed editor and the chief television and media critic before becoming an assistant managing editor. A graduate of Oxford University, he is now a clinical professor of business at NYU's Stern School of Business. (See his official bio here.)

Manager: V.V. Ganeshananthan, Convention Chair

Date: Friday, June 20
Time: 11:30 am-1 pm
Place: CUNY, Room 434

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Panel: How Documentaries Get Made

Documentary films can be a powerful way to reach people —but how do filmmakers see it? Several directors with successful projects will present a closer view and explain what inspired them to tell their stories. At a time when the worlds of news and film are rapidly changing, they will discuss how they are reaching new audiences and shaping the conversation on topics they care deeply about. We will screen clips, so please arrive on time for this session. Docs cover a range of topics, including the clearing of clusters in Lebanon and being gay in the Islamic faith. Two films in this session are now in theaters, and the event is co-sponsored with ThirdI, a monthly South Asian film salon based in New York.


Date: Friday, June 20
Time: 2:15-3:45 p.m.
Place: CUNY, Room 330

Moderator: Pia Sawhney

Panelists: Leena Jayaswal; Parvez Sharma; Jawad Metni; Senain Kheshgi

Leenaheadshot300dpi Leena Jayaswal is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington DC. She is head of the Photography Concentration where she teaches photography, video, fine arts and theory classes.  She has also lectured on radical media internationally. Her work has been nationally recognized in galleries around the country, including the Arlington Arts Center, Lexington Art League, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, The Washington Project for the Arts/ Corcoran Gallery of Art, Kathleen Ewing Gallery and the International Visions Gallery. Her film, “An Impression: Dischord Records” has been screened in many juried film festivals around the country including the National Museum of Women in the Arts Museum and was awarded Best Selected Juror Film in the 2nd Annual Small International Film Festival at the Berkeley Art Center. Her slides are a part of the collection of the Asian American Arts Centre in New York.  She has worked for famed photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and with the Sandra Berler Gallery for many years.

Parvez Sharma

Parvez Sharma is a Muslim gay filmmaker born and raised in India. In the nineties, Sharma was a print journalist for several prominent Indian newspapers including The Telegraph, The Statesman, The Economic Times, The Business Standard, and India Currents Magazine. Sharma's first feature documentary, "A Jihad for Love" is co-produced with the UK's Channel 4, France's ARTE, Germany's ZDF, Australia's SBS, and U.S. LOGO. His work and the film have already been profiled by The New York Times, Variety, The Los Angeles Times, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Hollywood Reporter, indieWIRE, and NPR.             

Parvez speaks English, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Punjabi and has taught Indian film and other media courses at American University. He holds three Masters degrees.             

A clip of Parvez Sharma on CNN is on YouTube. His documentary "A Jihad For Love" will open in 35 cities across the country.

Jawad Metni

Jawad Metni is a director, editor and cinematographer with 15 years experience in documentary films. His credits as cinematographer include the critically acclaimed "Hell House" (2001) and "The Plutonium Circus" (1995). As a director, his films include "Downwind" (2001), dealing with Gulf War Syndrome and depleted Uranium weapons, and "Trading with the Enemy" (2004), which explores illegal cigar smuggling and sex tourism in Cuba. His work has taken him to Haiti, Palestine, India and Texas. As a producer and editor, he has done a number of productions for the History Channel, including several installations for the acclaimed "Slavery in New York" exhibition at the New York Historical Society.

He received his undergraduate film degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and his MA in Cinema Studies from New York University. "Lebanon Cluster Bomb" is his first feature documentary.

Senain Kheshgi

Senain Kheshgi is a Pakistani-American journalist and filmmaker who has produced, written and directed projects for CNN, ABC NEWS, PBS, Discovery, and the BBC. Senain co-produced her first feature documentary, THE FIRST YEAR, with Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim. The film was  broadcast on PBS and won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award.

Senain has been a Sundance Institute Fellow; a Tribeca All Access Fellow; a Rockefeller Foundation/ Renew Media's Media Arts Fellow; and an Asia Society Asia 21 Fellow. Senain recently served on the selection committee for the International Documentary Association's DocuWeek Documentary Showcase!, which helps qualify documentaries for Oscar® consideration. She has served on the Artistic Board of L.A. art festival ArtWallah.

Senain is currently working on a series of short films entitled A DAY AT THE BEACH, and developing a documentary about the current state of affairs in Pakistan. She has taught documentary filmmaking at Emory University. 

Moderator: Pia Sawhney

Pia is an award-winning independent producer and director. She has worked for PBS/Frontline, and her multimedia and audio projects have been published in the Los Angeles Times and aired on Radio Free Europe and Voice of America.

Pia completed a feature-length independent documentary in 2006 that dealt with Muslim immigrants selectively detained and deported by US immigration authorities after 9/11. The 66-minute version of the film, "OUT OF STATUS," was nominated for Amnesty's annual DOEN Award for Human Rights during the film's premiere in Rotterdam. It screened in festivals worldwide through 2006, and was broadcast in Europe, airing first on Channel 4 Television in the UK. "OUT OF STATUS" was reviewed by The New York Times, TV Guide, Variety, and New York Post and had a theatrical run in New York's Lower East Side in August 2007. Pia and her co-producer, Sanjna Singh, have been nominated for ABC's Talent Development Award. Until recently, Pia was an online producer at Human Rights Watch.


Panel: Blogging To Augment Your Reporting

Gone are the days when time constraints or column inches forced reporters to withhold valuable news nuggets.  Mainstream media outlets are using reporters' blogs to supplement their news coverage and provide a more timely, and often more immediate, way to connect readers with stories.  It's rapidly become clear that the lines between blogging and journalism are disappearing.  As online media converge, how can you use this tool to augment your reporting, further your story or help those following your beat really feel like it was worth the effort?  A panel of expert bloggers weighs in on the best ways to make the most of your blog entries.

Manager: Preston Merchant, Convention Photography Chair
Date: Saturday, June 21
Time: 2:15-3:45 p.m.
Place: Columbia University's Lerner Hall, Room 555


Speakers: Sewell Chan and Jennifer 8. Lee, reporters and bloggers (The New York Times and City Room, the Times' city beat blog); Mark Seibel, Online Managing Editor for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. Moderator: Sudeep Reddy, reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Recruiter Roundtables

Come ask recruiters your questions!

1:15-2 pm both days

Nancy Sharkey of The New York Times @ CUNY on Friday
Room 446

Jane Light of Reuters @ Columbia on Saturday
East Lounge

Workshop: Freelancing From Pitch to Print

If you already have a job, freelancing is a great way to expand your
portfolio or earn extra money. It can also be a viable full-time
career. Full-time freelancers Renuka Rayasam and Elaine Pofeldt will
guide reporters through how to generate ideas, pitch stories, sign
contracts, maintain relationships with editors and follow through with
assignments. They will address how to find opportunities and the
secrets of full-time freelancing such as keeping paychecks coming

Renuka Rayasam has almost a decade of experience in journalism and is
currently working on stories for Conde Nast Portfolio, the
Washingtonian, and INC Magazine among other publications. Prior to
freelancing she started the Washington D.C. bureau of Fortune Small
Business Magazine. She was also an associate editor at U.S. News &
World Report and a business reporter at the Austin American-Statesman.

Elaine Pofeldt has 20 years of experience in journalism. She worked
most recently as a senior editor at FORTUNE Small Business. Two of her
stories for FSB were nominated for the National Magazine Award, one
for feature writing and one for reporting. She ran FSB's website for
four years, building its traffic from 150,000 page views a month to 2-
to 5 million page views a month.

She has also has served as acting editor of Success magazine and as a
fashion features editor at WWD. She started her career in daily
newspapers, interning at the Los Angeles Times and Hartford Courant.
She earned her BA in English at Yale University.

Her freelance work has appeared in Crain's New York Business, Inc.,
Forbes, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, Publishers Weekly, Bottom
Line, and Working Woman. She has also done editorial work for Talk
Miramax Books. In addition, she provides web consulting services to
major publishing companies.

Manager: V.V. Ganeshananthan
Time: 4 to 5:30 pm
Date: Saturday, June 21
Room: 569, Columbia University's Lerner Hall

Salon: Aisha Sultan, Columnist, on How to Create and Get Your Dream Job

Sultan_aisha372_2 The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Aisha Sultan is a columnist for that paper, as well as its home and family editor. Come hear how she convinced her editors to create the job she wanted!

In this newspaper era of budget cutbacks and lay-offs, there are still opportunities to create your dream beat. Editors are looking to do more with less and paying attention to ideas that will attract readers—in print and even more so online. Listen to how Sultan pitched her column and blog idea for more than a year and how she finally convinced management—despite two massive rounds of buy-outs in the newsroom.

Sultan will share the PowerPoint presentation she used to present her column and website ideas, and then take questions.

Check out Sultan's blog website here and column website here.

Time: 2:15 to 3:45 pm
Date: Saturday, June 21
Room: East Lounge, Columbia University's Lerner Hall

Workshop: Radio/Podcasting for Print Reporters

Integrating audio into online newspapers has become almost standard practice throughout the industry.  Reporters are often asked to turn stories they wrote for print into audio pieces and to provide audio excerpts of interviews they have conducted.  The challenge for the reporter involves developing both new technical skills and a different reporting style.

First, how does one record and produce clean, professional-sounding audio? Second, and perhaps more importantly, reporters must know how to tell a compelling story with sound.  In this audio workshop, Peabody Award winning producers Ann Heppermann and Kara Oehler will discuss their work and others as they introduce print reporters to the richness of audio storytelling—from innovative interviewing techniques to writing for the ear to creating soundscapes to accompany photo slideshows and other visual presentations.

Annkaraweb Ann Heppermann and Kara Oehler have been producing radio together since 2002. Their work has aired nationally and internationally on public radio shows including: This American Life, Morning Edition, American Routes, WBEZ's Chicago Matters, Weekend America, BBC's A World in Your Ear, The Next Big Thing, Radio Lab, Re:Sound, Marketplace and numerous others. Kara and Ann created an experimental short documentary for the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2003 about illegal migrants' experiences crossing the Sonoran Desert. The piece has been featured at festivals around the world and also published in "Documentary 101: A Guided Listening Experience for the Classroom." Recently, it was part of the Peabody Award-winning Hearing Voices program: "Crossing Borders." The two have received honors from the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow awards, NFCB Gold and Silver Reels, the George Foster Peabody Awards, PRNDI, Associated Press and the Third Coast International Audio Festival. Currently, Ann and Kara are producing a series about 1968 for Weekend America and a new public radio show called, Hearing Voices.

Manager: V.V. Ganeshananthan, SAJA VP and convention chair
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1 pm
Date: Saturday, June 21
Room: 569, Columbia University's Lerner Hall 

Friday Opening Reception: See the New NYT Building

Meet the attendees at this year's convention as we mingle in the new New York Times building. The Times is sponsoring our welcome reception in this remarkable structure. Read more about the building here! See Annie Leibovitz's photographs of the building here.


Geddes190Where: 620 8th Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets
When: 6:30-9:30 pm, Friday, June 20

Speakers: Times vice chairman Michael Golden, former publisher of the International Herald Tribune; John Geddes, managing editor.

For more about John Geddes, check out this Times feature from the Talk to the Newsroom series. (Registration on the Times site required.)

Thanks to the Times for hosting us! Note that members of the SAJA Buddy program will be meeting during a part of the reception.

(left, John Geddes; photo by Tony Cenicola for The New York Times)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Friday Morning Opening Keynote: WSJ Managing Editor Robert Thomson

SAJA's 2008 Convention and Job Fair is pleased to welcome our opening keynoter, WSJ managing editor and Dow Jones editor-in-chief Robert Thomson!

Thomsonrobert2007 Thomson was previously editor of the Times of London and U.S. editor of the Financial Times.  Read more about Thomson in this Times profile, or his official bio on the Dow Jones website. 

Opening Keynote:

Time: 10 am
Date: Friday, June 20
Room: 308, CUNY (overflow space in the CUNY newsroom)

Job Fair 2008

We're thrilled to be hosting job fair 2008!

Confirmed recruiters include the New York Times, NYTimes.com, Reuters, the Associated Press, Newsday, the Wall Street Journal, CBS News, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

More recruiters are joining us, so be sure to watch this space for updates!

The job fair will run from 12-5 on both days—on Friday at CUNY, and on Saturday at Columbia.

We'll also be offering resume and tape critiques: resumes and clips on Friday, and resumes, tapes, and clips on Saturday.

Where: CUNY's newsroom on Friday; Columbia's Satow Room in Lerner Hall on Saturday
When: 12-5 both days

Check out our recruiter roundtable with Nancy Sharkey of The New York Times on Friday and our recruiter roundtable with Jane Light of Reuters on Saturday.  @ 1 pm (during lunch) on both days; locations TBA.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Workshop: The Editor's Take

Carols_ctb_4 Carol Latter is an editor with LIFE Publications, based in West Hartford, Connecticut. She is the senior editor of AllGreen, a statewide environmental magazine, and editor of CT Business Magazine. She is a contributing editor for Hartford Magazine, and produces a number of niche publications, including the Charitable Events Guide and Home Living. She was previously acting editor and commercial real estate editor for the Hartford Business Journal.

During this session, Ms. Latter will discuss what makes a compelling story, the importance of clarity and accuracy, and how to create a structure that makes a story resonate with the reader. Workshop participants are invited to submit articles for feedback on how Ms. Latter would edit them, and the rationale behind her editing decisions.

Manager: Anusha Shrivastava, SAJA Secretary
Time: 2:15 to 3:45 pm
Date: Saturday, June 21
Room: 569, Columbia University's Lerner Hall 

Hotels & Travel: Options for the convention

Some options for hotels and travel during the convention.

OPTION 1: $109 a night plus tax
Our Hospitality Sponsor, Vijay Dandapani of Applecore Hotels, has kindly offered SAJA a few discount rooms at $109 each per night for the weekend of the SAJA Convention (regular price: $180). To avail of this offer: visit applecorehotels.com, make a choice of hotel and e-mail Ms. Mohua - mohua [at] applecorehotels.com - with arrival/departure dates, along with credit card info. You will receive confirmation within 24 hours.  Limited supply of discount rooms, so you must book ASAP; first come, first served.

OPTION 2: Edgewater, NJ

10 The Promenade
Edgewater, NJ 07020
phone: 201-941-4700

One-bedrooms available for $179/night; studio-style setups available for $169/night. Both have in-suite kitchens, king beds and sleeper sofas. Breakfast is included. To get the discount, call and mention SAJA. Discount applicable only until June 13th. Ask for Mary Jacimovic.

The hotel provides transportation to the Weehawken ferry. From there, you can take the ferry's sub-10-minute ride to 39th Street and 12th Avenue—a brief walk from CUNY's campus, where we will be Friday. There are also free shuttles from the NYC end of the ferry ride to various destinations in the city. You can take the 1 train at nearby Times Square (42nd Street and 7th Ave/Broadway) to Columbia's campus on Saturday.

You can also take the bus from Edgewater. There is an NJ Transit bus stop within walking distance of the hotel. This would be a 25- to 30-minute ride to Times Square, depending on traffic and the time of day. Again, you can take the subway from there. Ask the hotel for details! (Thanks to owners Minesh and Atul Patel, and to Mary Jacimovic.)

OPTION 3: Hotel near Convention site - see below for list of hotels.

OPTION 4: Sharing hotel rooms
If you would like to share a room, please post a comment below. Say who you are, what you are seeking (you already have a room or want to get one, etc) and your e-mail address. SAJA is not responsible for the connections you make.


AIRLINE INFO: After years of contracting with a major airline, SAJA is NOT using a discount because of member feedback that they were consistently able to get cheaper tickets using services such as

    * Orbitz
    * Expedia
    * Travelocity
    * Kayak

Info on NY Airports
Includes ground transportation, airline links, etc

AIRPORT TIP: Of the three airports, LGA is the closest to Columbia (25 minutes and $30ish by taxi -- depending on the traffic; and about $2 and 1.5 hours by public bus, the M60. EWK and JFK are further than LGA is, but are roughly equidistant from Columbia. You basically can't go wrong with any of the three.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Salon: Photographer J. Adam Huggins

In the fall of 2007, on assignment for the New York Times, photographer J. Adam Huggins produced a story titled "New York Manhole Covers, Forged Barefoot in India" to widespread acclaim.  Co-written with Heather Timmons and also produced as a narrated multimedia piece, the story profiled the "barefoot, shirtless, whip-thin men rippled with muscle" in West Bengal who work in steel foundries, forging manhole covers for New York city and other municipalities throughout the United States.  The photo-essay drew attention to the lack of safety protections for Indian workers and prompted Con Edison to rewrite its future international contracts to include safety requirements.  He was subsequently awarded a Certificate of Special Merit at the 2007 Human Rights Press Awards in Hong Kong for this body of work.


In late 2004 Huggins also covered the devastation caused by the South Asian Tsunami to numerous fishing communities along the southern coast of India.

Huggins was born in Canada in 1981.  His photography has been exhibited at venues which include Centre Pompidou, La Triennale di Milano, the Shanghai Art Museum, and Shiodomeitalia Creative Center in Tokyo. He has worked with numerous publications which include The New York Times, ELLE, Der Spiegel, COLORS, and the International Herald Tribune.

Manager: Preston Merchant, Convention Photography Chair
Time: 11:30 am to 1 pm
Date: Saturday, June 21
Room: 568, Columbia University's Lerner Hall

Panel: Covering the Economy in a Time of Crisis

The economy and the troubles in the housing market have led the news for much of the last year, dominating front pages, magazine covers and the airwaves. Just as policy makers and industry officials have strained to respond to massive losses, journalists have struggled to make sense of this often complex story and explain it in simple terms to readers, viewers and listeners. A panel of economics and financial journalists discuss how they approached the story, the lessons they learned from it and how they are preparing for what's next.

Date: Saturday, June 21
Time: 4-5:30 pm
Place: Columbia University's Lerner Hall, Room 555


Jennifer Ablan, Reuters (reporter)
Jon Hilsenrath, Wall Street Journal (editor in Money and Investing)
Barbara Kiviat, Time magazine (reporter)
Steve Liesman, CNBC (reporter)

Moderator: Vikas Bajaj, New York Times reporter and SAJA VP emeritus


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Panel: Pakistan in Peril

The past year has been a defining moment for the country labelled as the Most Dangerous Place in the World by Newsweek.  From the Declaration of Emergency to the assasination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan has endured one of the most tumultous times in its 60-year history.  What lies ahead for this "democracy" that has seen more coups than periods of prosperity?  And what does that future spell for its burgeoning media and civil society movement?

This session will commence with a screening of "We Are Not Free," Kiran Khalid's short documentary about media in Pakistan.

Manager: Kiran Khalid, Convention Broadcast Chair

Time: 11:30am-1 pm
Date: Saturday, June 21
Place: Lerner Hall, Room 555


Anil Kalhan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Fordham Law School
Umar Cheema, 2008 Daniel Pearl Fellow at The New York Times /  reporter for The News International, Islamabad

Moderator: Kiran Khalid, Good Morning America and filmmaker, "We Are Not Free"

Panel: Decision '08: Reporters in the Trenches

If the race for the Democratic Nomination is any indication, the battle for the presidency will be unprecedented in its ability to rally the electorate.  Those covering the campaign trails have had a front row seat to history in the making.  Hear print and broadcast journalists share their stories about being in the trenches of the fierce battle of Decision '08.

Manager: Kiran Khalid, Convention Broadcast Chair

Christina_brown Time: 10-11 am
Place: Columbia University's Lerner Hall, Room 555
Moderator: Christina Brown, MSNBC (at left)
Speakers: Leslie Wayne, The New York Times; Aswini Anburajan, NBC; Nick Timiraos, Wall Street Journal; Rebecca Kutler, CNN; Andrea Bernstein, WNYC

Workshop: Long-form Writing with Amitava Kumar

AmitavaTell a tale with the tips and techniques shared here on how to write compelling magazine-style stories. Amitava Kumar is a professor of English at Vassar College and has written a novel and several works of literary non-fiction. He has also edited five anthologies. His non-fiction book, "Husband of a Fanatic," was on the Editors' Choice list in The New York Times. His novel, "Home Products," was published in early 2007 by Picador-India.

Manager: Preston Merchant, Convention Photography Chair

Time: 2:15 to 3:45 pm
Date: Friday, June 20
Room: 432, CUNY

Sunday Brunch: Convention Finale

We'll conclude the convention with brunch Sunday morning, at Mint, at 150 E. 50th St.

Time: 11 am to 2 pm
Date: Sunday, June 22
Place: Mint (read a rave review in TimeOut New York)
Performers: Comedians Dhaya Lakshminarayan and Dan Nainan; singer Jason Joseph

Students: $15
Everybody else: $20

Comedydhaya Dhaya (pronounced "Dye-yah," not "De-hiya" as some may think) is fiery yet enjoyable (much like masala). In past incarnations she's been a venture capitalist, researcher in Cuba, Ms. August '06 Saffron Rare Threads, teacher of "Charm School," and journalist at the Democratic National Convention before starting in the "funny" business of comedy. She combines her commanding 5-foot-tall stage presence with material and characters from her traditional Indian upbringing, nerd-pride, Alabama roots, and political activism. She was chosen to be part of the "Five Funny Females" & "Pundits with Punchlines" tours. She has performed at "Laughing Liberally San Francisco" and at showcases around the country including at the San Francisco Punchline, the San Jose Improv, and Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. She won third place in the 2008 Harvey's Political Comedy Competition, first place in the 2007 "Battle of the Bay" competition, and is current a finalist at the Rooster T Feathers Comedy Competition.

Headshot1 As a senior engineer with Intel, Dan Nainan presented technical demonstrations on stage with Chairman Andy Grove at events all over the world.  Nainan took a comedy class to help get over the fear of public speaking.  His first performance was a success, and his coworkers, upon viewing the videotape, invited him to perform at Intel's sales conference for 2,500 people.  His impressions of Grove and Bill Clinton had the audience rolling in the aisles.  Many in the audience thought that Nainan had been hired as a professional comedian.  He left Intel pursue standup comedy full-time.  Nainan has toured extensively as the opening act for Russell Peters. He performs all over the world and has performed with noted comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld and Tim Conway.   He has been seen on NBC's "Last Comic Standing" and on various television commercials.  He also does character voices on radio stations and is best known for his Bill Clinton impression.  Nainan is the son of a South Asian physicist and an East Asian child psychologist.  He recently signed a deal with a literary agent for a book about his life, and is opening a comedy club in Bethesda, Maryland. For more on Dan, check out his website, a recent New York Times piece, and this clip from a TV shoot.

Headshot Jason Joseph's powerful performances have led him to share the stage with many notable artists such as Missy Elliot, Craig David, Andrae Crouch, Zion I, Bebe Winans, & Erykah Badu...and his work has been featured on MTV, NBC, the CW, and the Cartoon Network.

Six songs, meticulously crafted, make up Side A of his new album Out of My Mind. These songs not only make you want to dance and sing along, but more importantly, they make you want to raise your hands and say what you feel. Out of My Mind :: Side A will be released on June 10th, 2008 via
Jaywalker/Adrenaline/Warner to all major digital outlets.

Salon: Reena Ninan of Fox News Channel


Meet Reena Ninan, who serves as correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in New York. She has spent a majority of her tenure reporting from the Middle East.

Read Reena's Blog

While at FNC, Ninan has provided extensive coverage of the Saddam Hussein trial from Baghdad. Most recently, she provided on-site updates of Iraq's first parliamentary elections. She also reported live from the hotel compound that was car bombed by Al Qaeda in Baghdad and interviewed top Shiite leader Abdel Aziz al-Hakim.

Prior to her position as a correspondent, Ninan served as a producer in FNC's Washington, D.C., bureau. In this role she assisted in the network's 2004 presidential election coverage, including the Iowa Caucus, the New Hampshire Primary and both the Democratic and Republican conventions.

Before joining FNC, Ninan was a producer for The Washington Post. She also worked as a freelance reporter for BET News and ABC News. Ninan graduated from George Washington University with a degree in Political Communication. (From Fox's official bio.)


Time: 4 to 5:30 pm
Date: Saturday, June 21
Room: East Lounge, Columbia University's Lerner Hall

SAJA Buddy Program Meetup at Friday Reception

If you participate in SAJA's Buddy Program, administered by SAJA secretary Anusha Shrivastava, meet up with your buddy from 6:30-7:30 pm at our opening reception.

Workshop: Writing Broadcast News

Ninety minutes guaranteed to improve your TV and radio writing skills, taught by the newswriting guru who has worked with some of the biggest names in broadcasting—back by popular demand!

For journalists of all levels; non-journalists welcome

Instructor: Mervin Block
Manager: Kiran Khalid, Convention Broadcast Chair

Time: 11:30 am to 1 pm
Date: Friday, June 20
Room: 308, CUNY

Salon: Amar Bakshi of The Washington Post, "How The World Sees America"

Come meet Amar Bakshi! Amar C. Bakshi spent the past year reporting for the online editions of The Washington Post and Newsweek, and traveled around the world looking at how America impacts ordinary lives in a dozen countries.


He posted text and video daily at www.washingtonpost.com/america. Before launching How the World Sees America, Amar worked with David Ignatius and Fareed Zakaria as the first editor of PostGlobal, an international affairs forum. Amar is also the founder of Aina Arts, a nonprofit organization connecting local artisans with schools in the developing world, and was the associate managing editor of the Oxford International Review. He graduated from Harvard in 2006, and wrote his thesis on media propaganda in Zimbabwe. Amar speaks widely on public diplomacy, arts exchanges, new media, public opinion among global youth, and America's image in the world at universities across the United States, think tanks, and on international TV and radio, including CSPAN, BBC, and NPR. More at www.amarbakshi.com

This salon is especially for our student and early-career members interested in breaking into journalism.

Time: 11:30 pm to 1 pm
Date: Friday, June 20
Room: 430, CUNY

Friday Superworkshop: Broadcast Bootcamp, "Live, Local, Late-Breaking"

Practice makes perfect but what they don't teach you in J-school is what you have to hone on the air.  That may be what makes the perfect live shot more elusive for some than others.  But whether you're in Market 198 or at a network, the ability to go LIVE is essential for any TV reporter and/or anchor.

Back by popular demand: SAJA's broadcast bootcamp—a workshop that examines the art of the live shot.  Participants will have the opportunity to synthesize information from a mock breaking news event before "going live."  The elements, including breaking information and time constraints, will be recreated to mimic the pressures involved in delivering a story live on the air.

Seasoned news professionals will then provide tips and feedback on the live shots, which will be recorded for on the spot critiques. Don't miss out on this invaluable opportunity to advance your skills in this critical area.

Sign up now, space is limited!

Since this is an all-day session, you may NOT sign up for other workshops on Friday.

You need not sign up for the rest of the convention to sign up for this class.

Register here.

Instructors: Andrew Siff, WNBC; Christina Brown, MSNBC
Manager: Kiran Khalid, SAJA Convention Broadcast Chair
Time: 11:30 am to 4 pm
Date: Friday, June 20
Room: 332, CUNY
Cost: $15

Friday Superworkshop: An Introduction to Video for the Web

***Update: This class is now full. If someone drops the class or does not show, you may be able to get in, but we will only know this Friday morning. If available, standbys will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.****

As broadband increases, web users are expecting video pieces to accompany print stories. Established print news organizations, from local dailies to international weeklies are creating compelling short form videos. This hands-on workshop will introduce you to the skills required to create video pieces. You will be pleasantly surprised at how simple it can be to produce pieces in this potent medium. The all-day session will be conducted in a computer lab at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism School and includes a break for lunch.

Instructor Jigar Mehta has over 10 years of experience in documentaries, from feature length to web shorts. As a seasoned cameraman and editor, he has reported from India, Mauritania, France, and Sri Lanka. Currently, he is a Video Journalist at The New York Times (nytimes.jigarmehta.com)..

For journalists of all levels but the following computer skills are a recommended: Basic video editing (Final Cut Pro, iMovie, or equivalent)

Since this is an all-day session; you may NOT sign up for other workshops on Friday.

You need not sign up for the rest of the convention to sign up for this class.

Register here.

Manager: Sandeep Junnarkar, SAJA President
Time: 11:30 am to 4 pm
Date: Friday, June 20
Room: 440, CUNY
Cost: $15

Friday Superworkshop: Going Longer in Narrative Writing

So you've written a lengthy article that cries out for even more space, and you've already had to cut out some of the best stuff. This was a story so good you didn't want it to end. Those images and characters have haunted you long after you pushed the "send" button. Unanswered questions abound and your initial interest has morphed into full-blown obsession. There's nothing else to do now, really, but try to make the perilous leap from journalist to author.

In this day-long session, you will learn how to turn a great long-form piece or idea into an even better book, with emphasis on structuring a book proposal in a way that makes your idea shine. You'll also learn how to ask the right questions of your sources – and yourself – to unearth the narrative foundation that a book demands.

Your speaker will be Tom Zoellner, a newspaper and magazine journalist who became a full-time author four years ago. His book The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit and Desire (St. Martins Press), reported from fourteen different countries, was named a "Notable Book of 2006" by the American Library Association and was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award. He is also the author of the forthcoming Uranium: A Biography (Viking/Penguin). He was previously a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle and a contributing editor at Men's Health magazine. His first job was at a 5,000-circ. biweekly newspaper in Superior, Nebraska.

Since this is an all-day session; you may NOT sign up for other workshops on Friday.

You need not sign up for the rest of the convention to sign up for this class.

Register here.

Manager: V.V. Ganeshananthan, Convention Chair
Time: 11:30 am to 4 pm
Date: Friday, June 20
Room: 446, CUNY
Cost: $15

Convention Overview

  • Job Fair
    Friday at CUNY and Saturday at Columbia: 12-5
  • Thursday
    Brick Lane screening and panel discussion at Columbia University.
  • Friday
    @ CUNY, 219 W. 40th Street
    between 7th and 8th Avenues
    9-10 am Breakfast and Registration
    10-11 am Keynote by Robert Thomson, WSJ Managing Editor and Dow Jones Editor-in-Chief
    11:30-4 Superworkshops
    11:30-1 Workshops, Panels, Salons
    2:15-3:45 Workshops, Panels, Salons
    4:30-5:30 SAJA Members Annual Meeting
    6:30-9:30 Reception @ NYTimes Building
    (6:30-7:30 SAJA Buddy meetup)
  • Saturday
    @Columbia's Lerner Hall
    115th and Broadway
    9-10am Registration and Breakfast
    10-11am Election Plenary
    11:30am-1pm Salons, Workshops, Panels
    1-2 Lunch
    2:15-3:45 Salons, Workshops, Panels
    4-5:30 Salons, Workshops, Panels
    6:30-7:30 Cocktail hours
    7:30-10:30 SAJA Awards Dinner
  • Sunday
    Brunch at a Manhattan restaurant 11am-2pm

Our partners

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