Editor's Note: At this year's SAJA Gala Awards & Scholarship Dinner, three of the most senior South Asian Journalists in the United States were asked to appear on a panel called "View from the Top". Two of them - Madhulika Sikka, executive producer of NPR's Morning Edition; and Raju Narisetti, managing editor of the Washington Post - are winners of this year's SAJA Journalism Leader Award, given for outstanding leadership. The third speaker, Jai Singh, won the SAJA Journalism Leader Award, in 2003, along with Rena Golden, then head of CNN International and the late Peter Jennings.
Interview by Pia Sawhney, summer intern at International Crisis Group and a documentary
film director. She is pursuing a master's degree in public policy at the
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
At 19, when Jai Singh talked of a career in journalism, friends and family discouraged him, calling his choice impractical and esoteric.
"I was an anomaly," Singh said in an interview from his office in New York City. "When I started my career, there weren't too many Indians studying journalism. My parents worried whether I would be able to put food on the table."
Singh, managing editor at The Huffington Post, has done better that that. He has weathered a turbulent tide that has roiled the industry over the past decade, and found new ways to blend his penchant for storytelling with emerging digital platforms.
Singh began as a reporter at The Eagle, the newspaper at American University. He was the paper's editor. After graduating from college, Singh worked the cop beat and tracked City Hall ledgers in Washington, D.C. Then he took a left turn, joining an early digital publication in 1984 incubated by Reader's Digest magazine. The outlet produced stories in electronic format. He later became Editor-In-Chief of the technology news team at CNET.com where he was responsible for overseeing reports published in real-time.
"I knew, while I was at CNET.com, the internet would take off," Singh said. "I didn't know exactly how or when, but I knew it would happen."
Since then, he has been part of the evolution of online journalism. He firmly believes that developing successful online reporting models are simply a matter of time.