Amudalat Ajasa is what makes me think of Timbuk 3. It’s a pop song from 1986 that says, “The future’s so bright I gotta wear sunglasses.”
Ajasa has not been seen in shades, even in Las Vegas’ scorching desert sun. But she may be interested in Ray Bans. Ray Ban might want to invest in her. She is a St. Paul native, and a recent Hofstra University graduate. She is confidently moving into her bright future. She’s even doing it in the spotlight.
Ajasa is currently interning at The New York Times through Ida B. The NABJ Student Journalist of Year was awarded to Wells Society of Investigative Reporting.
She joins an increasing number of Twin Cites Black journalists who are taking their place on the national stage. Charles Hallman, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, was recently inducted into NABJ Hall of Fame. NABJ also honored Libor Jany as Journalist of The Year last year. He was recognized for his work covering George Floyd’s murder for the Star Tribune. Since then, he has moved to the Los Angeles Times.
Ajasa’s rise was fueled by taking a chance on a chance encounter.
Ajasa said, “I was at Jamba Juice when I met Angela Davis (former WCCO anchor) and we talked about my interest in journalism. She told me about a lot opportunities including the Twin Cities Black Journalists TCBJ.” “And TCBJ gave my first chance at an internship during the pandemic, when outlets didn’t offer internships.”
TCBJ recognized Ajasa’s talents early.
Nicole Norfleet (president of TCBJ) said, “We are so happy that we can be a part of Amudalat’s journey as she grows as a young lady and a journalist.” “She started her career at the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, which is the oldest Black newspaper in Minnesota. As she began her career, mentors were provided by several of our chapter members. As our region continued to be a hub for revolution, we shared the various freelancing opportunities available with her and other members, such as The Guardian, where Amudalat contributed.
For the St. Paul native, aged 22, the honor of being named Student Journalismist of the Year is an honour.
“It was quite a surprise to be awarded this award. Ajasa said that there are many student journalists in the country who work so hard so it was truly an honor.
Added Norfleet “Amudalat’s success story shows that young people can excel when they are given the opportunity and the support they require.” Amudalat went from having no journalist experience to working at The New York Times in just two years. To continue telling our stories, we need journalists like Amudalat. We are proud to have been able to help her. She will be my boss in just a few more years, I’m sure!”
Ray Bans, Amudalat… You’ll need them.