The Asian American Journalists Association’s Sports Task Force is proud to announce Anish Vasudevan as the recipient of the 2022 Al Young Sports Journalism Scholarship.
Vasudevan is a sophomore at Syracuse University pursuing a Magazine, News & Digital Journalism major. He is the seventh winner of this award, second consecutive sophomore and second journalism student from Syracuse, following the footsteps of his friend, Roshan Fernandez (2020).
The 19-year-old Indian American serves as the assistant sports editor at The Daily Orange student-run newspaper and beat writer for Syracuse’s storied lacrosse program.
Vasudevan, a second-time applicant, was shocked when he received the news of winning the Al Young Sports Journalism Scholarship.
“I was walking in a snowstorm when I got a call,” Vasudevan said. “It was Al and I was just in disbelief. It’s amazing knowing of his status and how he has paved the way. The fact he took the time to read my story and just receiving his recognition is amazing.”
The Al Young Sports Journalism Scholarship is a $2,000 award that celebrates the nation’s first Asian American sportswriter at a metro daily newspaper who also blazed a trail as the first to cover the NFL as a beat writer and first to write a weekly column focused on women’s sports. During his four-decade career, Young was a writer and editor at several publications, including the Boston Globe, USA Today and the New York Daily News, before retiring in 2012.
“Besides his writing skills,” said Young, a founding member of AAJA’s Sports Task Force, “what impressed me was the epiphany Anish related in his essay about writing the story on Syracuse football player Ahmad Masood, one of the school’s rare Asian American athletes of similar South Asian descent and background as himself.”
Vasudevan said his goal was to give Masood a voice to represent his Pakistani heritage at a campus where Asian American students make up less than 7% of the school’s population. The statistic came as a culture shock to Vasudevan, who graduated from Monte Vista High School in Cupterino, CA that had a 90% Asian student body, including 50% Indian American.
Vasudevan further saw that lack of diversity while covering games at the Carrier Dome at Syracuse, and while shadowing a reporter at San Francisco 49ers training camp.
“Anish realized then that his role and mission moving forward as a journalist of color was to use his platform, in newsrooms that often lack diversity, to provide vital insight necessary to highlight story of minority athletes,” Young said.
“Hopefully winning this scholarship will help Anish move another step closer to his sports career goals.”
Vasudevan said he’s fired up to receive the scholarship and aspires to start a pop culture magazine for Syracuse. After graduation, he dreams of writing “the weirdest and most creative leads” for an outlet such as The Ringer, marrying his passions for sports and pop culture.
“I’m grateful for everything,” said Vasudevan. “I’ve had a lot of people help me along the way. Getting recognition from somebody with Al’s stature is amazing. You wouldn’t be able to tell me in ninth grade that I would get something like this. I can’t be more thankful and grateful.”
For additional information regarding AAJA’s scholarship/fellowship opportunities, please visit : www.aaja.org/news-and-resources/scholarships-internships/.