Today is the 20th anniversary of South Asian Journalist Association — a group that was co-founded by Dilip Massand, MK Srinivasan, Sree Sreenivasan and me in New York. When we started the group, there was a handful of us who met at the Maharaja restaurant in Manhattan. It was hop, skip and jump from the United Nations. It was started because we felt isolated as we tried to find our way in the confusing and often difficult media landscape.
Dilip and MK, who co-founded Masala magazine have left the media business. We had a great time working on that magazine and I wonder how things would be now! My life took its path – I moved out west and concentrated on my own company, it was Sree who powered SAJA forward with his relentless energy and efforts. He used his office at Columbia Journalism School to turn SAJA into a movement and deserves a very special mention for his tireless efforts. He now works for the Met!
But SAJA is more than the founders — we provided the spark but the work was done by hundreds of volunteers who have spent a lot of time making SAJA what it is today. It is hard to name one person, for this has been truly a collective effort. Today there are hundreds of journalists of South Asian origin including many who are editors at influential publications. What was a desire to be a support group for a few people is now a group that offers scholarships and represents a growing presence in US newsrooms.
Looking back, I am really proud of SAJA and the role it plans in the modern media. Here is to a whole new generation of journalists and looking forward to celebrating their achievements every day!