Idea No. 24 for keeping AAJA extraordinary:
I think AAJA needs to applaud and amplify the great work of journalists working overseas, especially those filing stories at great personal danger or in countries that persecute journalists.
Remember when Laura Ling and Euna Lee told us at the 2010 Los Angeles Convention how their North Korean captors had heard about the AAJA members calling for their release? Talk about shining a light in dark places! To think that media coverage of the vigils that AAJA members and others had held in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Washington, D.C., had somehow reached their prison cells on the other side of the world…
Why do this? Our colleagues in NAHJ, NABJ and the UNITY Journalists’ alliance all have members dedicated to tracking and (when appropriate) speaking out about the plight of foreign journalists, and we should join that chorus of voices calling for change.
What does AAJA get out of it? Speaking up for other journalists not only raises AAJA’s profile internationally, it also reminds us as individuals of the freedoms and protections we too often take for granted.
AAJA members are already working for media companies worldwide, including our impressively-growing Asia Chapter, so it may be as simple as highlighting the stories they’re already covering. But by using AAJA’s website, newsletters and social media platforms, we’ll magnify that coverage, educate our members and reassure those journalists that AAJA has their backs.