Denise Hassanzade Ajiri

MJ Bear Fellow/ Web Writer, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty

I was born in Tehran in 1983, the daughter of an Azeri Muslim father and an Assyrian Christian mother. My undergraduate training is in Anthropology from Tehran University. While in Iran, I worked in a variety of jobs, from NGO projects to teaching piano to translating books to pharmaceutical sales.

In 2008, I moved to the Czech Republic for both academic and professional growth. I earned my Master’s in Communication and Public Relations from La Salle University in Prague in 2010. Concurrently, I began my career as a freelance journalist with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. I was later offered a full-time position with RFE/RL’s Persian-language section, Radio Farda.

I have since worked as one of eight journalists charged with maintaining Radio Farda’s website, one of the internet’s most visited Farsi-language websites. I write daily news stories for the website. I also produce more extended feature stories on political and cultural issues in Iran. I also compose an extended 10-minute podcast that analyzes international developments in culture.


  • Saturday, 3:30 pm
    Garden Room A-B

    Unconference Session – Innovation and Trends in Video Storytelling

    More of a conversation than presentation, let’s get together and share some of the cool ways we’re using video to tell stories.

  • Saturday, 2:15 pm
    Garden Room A-B

    Unconference Session – How Do We Keep the “Story” in Alternate Story Form?

    Do we lose narratives with alternate story forms? Where's the context? This session encourages discussion about what works and what doesn't.

  • Saturday, 11:30 am
    Garden Room A-B

    Unconference Session – Is Tumblr the New Time, Inc.?

    Are journalists’ future homes in places that aren’t primarily about journalism, and should it be?

  • Thursday, 9:00 am
    Hospitality Room

    Intro to Design Thinking

    This session will be led by staff of Stanford’s world-renowned Hasso M. Plattner Institute of Design — commonly called the

  • Thursday, 9:15 am
    Grand Ballroom B, Garden Room AB

    Law School for Digital Journalists

    A full day of practical training, taught by leading experts on digital media law.

  • Thursday, 4:30 pm
    Bayview A

    Entrepreneurial Pop-Ups

    Have a challenge? Work with our presenters for one-on-one consults in which they lend their expertise to help you solve your biggest struggle.

  • Thursday, 3:45 pm
    Bayview A

    The Rise of University News Startups

    J-Schools are launching news sites as outlets to teach students both reporting and entrepreneurship skills. Hear about several models that are working.

  • Thursday, 3:00 pm
    Bayview A

    Collaboration vs. Competition

    When should a news start-up partner with a mainstream news outlet? A look at collaboration models, do’s and don’ts and guerrilla marketing.

  • Thursday, 2:00 pm
    Bayview A

    Engaging Audiences

    Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. A discussion of the four strata of engagement and successful engagement strategies.

  • Thursday, 1:15 pm
    Bayview A

    The Art of the Close

    Journalists are great at producing content and covering stories. Ask them to sell an ad, though, and generally they can’t close the deal.