The Los Angeles Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association

Community College students get career advice at convention

By John Sakata

It was almost as if the clock had been turned back a decade.

Asian American Journalist Association board member Subha Ravindhran, a fill-in anchor and general assignment reporter for KABC 7, would have been a USC college student in that scenario.

The community college students in attendance for the 55th annual Journalism Association of Community College convention at the Renaissance Hotel on April 9 were not receiving their news from sleek hardwire devices with internet capacity; there wasn’t an Apple iPad or Amazon Kindle in sight. Newspapers, gawky broadsheets, were in high fashion, visible from every corner of the convention room.  Stack upon stack of newspaper rested on a table near the far corner edges of the room.  Student representatives from 45 community colleges across California roamed the hotel facilities; a conspicuous herd of students were visible in a convention room, where breakfast catered by the hotel was being offered, where they sipped coffee, picked at their plates, and peered over a competing university’s newspaper.

Ravindhran, Trang Ho, a reporter for Investor’s Business Daily and also an AAJA board member, and another representative from AAJA, were in attendance to meet 620 students and faculty from California and Rhode Island, informing students about the opportunities that AAJA membership had to offer at one of largest community college journalism events hosted in the state.

Hours earlier, Ravindhran was in the KABC newsroom past midnight, after covering a fundraiser for two Orange County military personal who had died overseas.  One of the youngest reporters at KABC 7, Ravindhran attended USC before receiving her first television job in Amarillo, Texas, a city six hours west of Dallas.

“It was a great place to start,” Ravindhran said.  “I hit the ground running as soon as I got the job.  I was doing live shots, putting stories together, basically getting everything I needed for the tape I used to get my next job.  It was a very lucrative experience for me.”

Ravindhran answered questions posed by students, and also let them know about the bountiful opportunities that the upcoming August AAJA national convention, the first in 17 years to come to LA, offered.

“Most people do not know, but AAJA is one of the leading journalism organizations in the nation,” Ravindhran said.  “You do not have to be Asian to join.  Our mission is to promote diversity in the newsroom.  People who join get access to job posting, to network, to attend our national convention…  AAJA is just a great platform for people who want to be part of this industry, to network, to get their foot in the door, and to build a camaraderie with other people in the same field.  It’s a great community to join. “

The convention included an opening day presentation from California Watch, a recently launched investigative news website, and offered 70 workshops and 13 on-the-spot competitions for community college students.