Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity hands

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion 

Scroll down to Scholarship section for information on the Gotham Ghostwriters’ Ghostmasters scholarships.

ASJA serves all independent nonfiction writers, embracing the rich spectrum of voices that make up America.

ASJA is committed to being a diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive organization that reflects the demographics of our country, our world, and our profession. ASJA works to create a welcoming community for writers of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, ages, abilities, and cultural and religious beliefs, at all membership levels and in all leadership roles.

At ASJA, our goal is to ensure that diverse members feel included, supported, and valued, especially writers from underrepresented groups. We continually strive for diverse representation in our events, activities, and communications, from conferences and publications to webinars. We encourage members to seek out diverse sources and stories that reflect our world.

True diversity comes when we all commit to this goal.


Note: ASJA pledges to address any violations of this policy. Our goal is to be an organization where writers of all backgrounds feel just as empowered as they are when interacting with others of their own backgrounds and identities.

DEAI Task Force

In 2021, ASJA formed a Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) Task Force which meets regularly to enlarge and enhance impactful diversity programming and ensure that we operate as a fully open and inclusive organization. Meetings are open to all ASJA members. If you’d like to attend a meeting, please email the ASJA office.

Scholarships

As part of ASJA’s DEAI commitment, the organization offers scholarships to members from historically underrepresented populations, including to conferences or other educational programs run by the organization or its partners. Depending on the event, scholarships may be open to professional members only, professional and associate members, or to nonmember writers and students as well as members.

  • Ghostmasters. ASJA is partnering with Gotham Ghostwriters to offer five scholarships to qualified ASJA members to Gotham’s Ghostmasters fall 2024 virtual course on the business of ghostwriting, to help increase diversity among ghostwriters. The Ghostmasters course runs Sept. 30 to Oct. 11 and includes recordings. ASJA’s DEAI task force will evaluate scholarship applications from ASJA professional and associate members from historically underrepresented populations. Apply for the Ghostmasters scholarship here. The deadline for applying is Aug. 1. Recipients will be notified at a yet-to-be determined date in advance of the course.
  • 2024 virtual conference. In 2024, ASJA will offer scholarships to the 2024 virtual conference, which takes place Sept. 24 to 26. Watch this space for scholarship application information.
  • 2023 virtual conference. For the ASJA 2023 virtual conference, ASJA offered nine scholarships to freelance writers and students from historically underrepresented populations. The scholarships were funded through generous donations made by board members and conference attendees. Scholarship recipients received free registration to the conference and were offered an opportunity to become an ASJA member at a discounted price. Qualified applicants who did not receive a scholarship were offered a 50 percent discount on their registration.
  • 2022 in-person conference. For the ASJA 2022 conference in Jersey City, New Jersey, ASJA offered five scholarships to journalists of color. The package included free registration, two hotel nights, some travel expenses, and an opportunity to become an ASJA member at a discounted price.

Cultivating the next generation of diverse journalists stands at the heart of ASJA’s DEAI mission, and ASJA anticipates repeating and expanding this program in future years.

DEAI Facilitator

In 2023, ASJA hired Janet Stovall of Pragmatic Diversity as a consultant on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI). This is part of ASJA’s efforts to increase diversity and inclusion of underrepresented freelance writers in its membership and build a professional community that reflects the true diversity of independent non-fiction writers.

Ms. Stovall is working with board members, committee chairs, and ASJA leadership to develop programming and resources that support and encourage diverse freelance writers and build diversity and inclusion within ASJA membership and the community of independent writers. Her keynote address at the 2023 ASJA Virtual Annual Conference discussed why everyone has implicit biases, and what writers can do to uncover, question, and redirect the biases that can prevent us from writing objectively, compellingly, and with impact.

Ms. Stovall’s work with ASJA is made possible by an Amazon Literary Partnership grant as well as funding from the Authors Coalition of America.

ASJA’s Dynamic Commitment to Inclusivity

Additionally, we emphasize diverse representation in all ASJA educational offerings and publications. This includes at ASJA in-person and virtual conferences, webinars, ASJA Magazine, Weekly, and Confidential blog posts.


ASJA DEAI Resources

Column written by ASJA President Emily Paulsen: “ASJA’s Role in Creating a Stronger, More Diverse Freelance Community

Free Recordings

  • 2024 ASJA Webinar: Do You Really Want to Say That? Q&A on Inclusive Writing with Janet Stovall — In this session featuring Janet Stovall of Pragmatic Diversity, moderators and ASJA DEAI Co-Chairs Gabrielle Gayagoy Gonzalez and Leanna Lee will delve into the nuances of inclusive writing lifted up by ASJA members, such as exploring language choices, sourcing, and managing pushback from editors. Topics include the use of pronouns, when to capitalize mentions of race, how to write about older adults, writing about addiction and ableism, and more.
  • 2023 Virtual Conference Keynote with Janet Stovall, “The Art of Not Saying Stupid Sh*t,” discusses that everyone has implicit biases and outlines what writers can do to uncover, question, and redirect the biases that can prevent us from writing objectively, compellingly, and impactfully.
  • 2023 Virtual Conference session, “The Power Story Edit,” presenting in collaboration with the Institute for Independent Journalists, tackles the ways we can reframe, report, write, and structure our stories in light of our privilege and the power hierarchies among the people we interview.
  • 2023 Virtual Conference session, “Coverage Matters: Building a Sustainable, Inclusionary Reporting Practice,” examines how to develop a more inclusionary reporting practice, one that looks beyond merely diversifying sources to represent the continent’s population and people’s varying points of view more accurately.

General DEAI Resources

Style Guides for Inclusive Language:

Other Resources: