Monday, May 10th


Deconstructing the Reporting on Anti-Asian Racism and Violence

In honor of Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month, we invite you to a special panel with AAJA-SF President Cecilia Lei (‘19), The New Yorker’s Michael Luo, NPR’s Alyssa Jeong Perry (‘16) and Markkula Center’s journalism ethicist Anita Varma, to deconstruct the media coverage of anti-Asian racism and violence, and the March 2021 spa shooting in Atlanta, Georgia.

Hosted by Dean Geeta Anand and moderated by Imran Ali Malik (‘22)

Presented by Berkeley Journalism and the Asian American Journalist Association (AAJA) student chapter. 

Cecilia Lei (‘19) is a multimedia producer and reporter who has covered issues of race, immigration, criminal justice, as well as the Asian American community in the Bay Area. Her audio and written stories have been published on Vox.com, KQED, NPR and the East Bay Express. Currently, she is the co-host and producer of Fifth and Mission, San Francisco Chronicle’s flagship daily local news podcast. Most recently, she produced ‘Today, Explained’, Vox Media’s daily news podcast. Previously, Cecilia was a media executive who spearheaded campaigns and initiatives to support diversity in media representation. She was born and raised in the Bay Area, and is a graduate of Berkeley Journalism. Cecilia currently serves as the San Francisco Bay Area chapter president of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA).

Michael Luo is the editor of The New Yorker’s website and writes regularly on politics, media, and religion. Previously, he spent 13 years at the New York Times, mostly as an investigative reporter and editor. His reporters were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize four times. He also covered the Great Recession as a national correspondent; reported on three presidential campaigns; and did stints in the Washington and Baghdad bureaus.

Just before he left the Times, in 2016, he wrote an open letter to a woman who had screamed at him and his family to go back to China that ran on the front page and helped to spark a national conversation about Asian Americans and race.

He is a past recipient of the George Polk Award for criminal-justice reporting and the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.

Alyssa Jeong Perry (‘16) is a podcast producer at NPR’s Code Switch. Prior to joining NPR, she was a health reporter at KPCC, a producer and reporter at KQED in San Francisco, and moonlit at Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. She reported and produced a radio story on Tesla at Reveal that has won multiple awards. She is a graduate of Berkeley Journalism.

Anita Varma is a publicly engaged journalism ethics educator and researcher. She is the assistant director of Journalism and Media Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics (Santa Clara University), where she leads the Solidarity Journalism Initiative with support from Democracy Fund. Her research focuses on how journalists represent and serve marginalized communities. Varma also serves on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists (Northern California Chapter). She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and her ancestral home is in Chakia, Bihar, India.

Imran Ali Malik just completed the first year of his master’s candidacy at Berkeley Journalism. He writes about politics, identity, and religion. Imran’s path to journalism began with creating American Submitter, a longform narrative podcast about Muslims in the U.S. that the L.A. Review of Books said “translates what it means to be a conscious Muslim in America.” Before that, Imran graduated from medical school in Pakistan, and was a member of The Kominas, a Muslim Punk Band that started in the years right after 9/11, that wrote songs and took to social media to combat wrongful portrayals of Muslims in the media.



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Julie Hirano