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Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, an Associated Press veteran now teaching at the University of Southern California, will join the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in August as the Los Angeles bureau chief of Cronkite News.
A national search landed Tayefe Mohajer, a key hire given the importance of Southern California to Arizona State University and the Cronkite School. She will help students identify and produce daily digital and broadcast content for existing partners and will work to establish new media relationships in the region.
“When you combine Shaya’s long history with the Associated Press and Southern California and her love of teaching, it’s a perfect fit,” Cronkite Associate Dean Mark Lodato said. “She will help the students connect with the community. We’re excited for the students to meet her.”
Tayefe Mohajer joins ASU after teaching at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism for the past two years, most recently as director of writing for the student-led publication, Annenberg Media. Prior to working at USC, she spent more than a decade in national news reporting on a broad range of stories. While working as a reporter for The Associated Press, she covered poverty in West Virginia and health care in California. As an Iranian American who is fluent in Farsi, she contributed to coverage of Iran throughout her career at AP, including a stint in Cairo during the 2009 Green Revolution. Prior to AP, her career began in network news, working for the NBC-TV “Today” show in New York City.
Tayefe Mohajer worked in news leadership at Participant Media, developing innovative digital content dealing with social justice and global human rights issues. She writes on newsroom diversity and fairness in coverage for The Columbia Journalism Review, and her long-form work has been published in Curbed and The Intercept. Tayefe Mohajer holds bachelor's degrees in political science and English from the University of California, Irvine. She earned a master's degree in journalism from New York University.
“I'm deeply honored by the opportunity to lead Arizona State University's Cronkite News bureau in Los Angeles where I'll work with a highly select group of students to develop rich storytelling and quality news coverage,” Tayefe Mohajer said. “Simply put, becoming a professor of practice and a Los Angeles bureau chief is a dream realized for me. I treasure this chance to teach, to lead and to share the gift of Los Angeles with bright, curious minds.”
The Los Angeles bureau will move next year into the historic Los Angeles Herald Examiner building. The downtown Los Angeles building commissioned by William Randolph Hearst will be home again to deadline-chasing journalists, “a fact that charms me to no end as we help grow Arizona State’s presence in Los Angeles,” Tayefe Mohajer said.
“Shaya will be able to build upon our already-strong sports journalism presence in Los Angeles, giving our Cronkite students even more opportunities,” Lodato said.