My first AAJA National Convention | Rise & Revolutionize

"Asian American Journalists Association is a membership nonprofit advancing diversity in newsrooms, and ensuring fair and accurate coverage of communities of color." (

I recently had the opportunity to attend the AAJA 2017 convention here in Philly. It was only right that it was held in Philly, home to award-winning community and national journalism.

My favorite part of the convention had to be the Gala Scholarship & Awards Banquet. It felt like the Grammy's for AAPI's! 

I've been to banquets and galas, but this one takes the cake. Everyone was dressed UP like really really UP. Gowns, dresses, suits, and all. It was kind of a fashion and media heaven for me all in one room.

Our co-hosts for the night were NBC 10 Weekend Night Anchor, Denise Nakano and Bloomberg TV Anchor and Reporter, Ramy Inocencio. We heard two fireside chats on stage featuring Rich Cho, General Manager of NBA Team The Hornets, and Eddie Huang, Author of Fresh Off The Boat. They chatted it up with Sports Anchor at SNY, Michelle Yu, and NPR Codeswitch reporter, Kat Chow, both award-winning journalists. Nick Ut, photographer for the Associate Press / Los Angeles was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for his excellence in photojournalism. He took the iconic photo of "Napalm Girl" in 1972.


Sitting in that audience while diving my fork into cheesecake while also simultaneously trying to get video for my Instastory, I was reminded of a feeling I hadn't felt in awhile.

It was the answer to my question of "WHY."

Why I do what I do, and why the community does what it does to share stories. These stories, creative projects, and moments all mean something. It's an accumulation of years and years of trailblazers and go-getters who paved the way for us to work in communications. The convention in itself reminded me of the urgency and importance of storytelling in all forms of media. 

Even though I come from a public relations and social media background, this convention was 100% relevant and probably would be to anyone who works remotely close to creative storytelling. It also reminded me that as Asian Americans Pacific Islanders we have the responsibility to support other marginalized groups of color and help bring their stories to the surface too! 

It has seriously always been the right time to "Rise & Revolutionize."

Here are some pictures & videos from the event. 

My Instastory of the Gala. @melissalamly

Denise Nakano NBC 10 


Weekend Night Anchor



Eddie Huang & Kat Chow

AAJA 2017 Gala

Salary & Negotiation Workshop

Facilitated By Deborah Cai

June Kao

Marketing Consultant for AARP

Chief Emeritus, Board of Directors, ECAASU

Photo by: Gil Asakawa

Melissa Ly