A.J. Chavar is an award winning cinematographer, photographer, multimedia journalist and producer in New York City whose clients include the WSJ, NPR, Storycorps, IDEO, NYT, Visura, Vanderbilt University, and many others. Currently, A.J. is Creative Strategist for The New York Times R&D lab, exploring and explaining emerging technologies in the pursuit of journalism, a role largely defined by his 10+ years of experience as a visual journalist and producer across many major newsrooms and various forms of stories.
Beginning in July 2023, A.J. assumed the role of teaching fellow in immersive journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in addition to his role with the R&D lab. He chairs the National Press Photographers Association's Best of Photojournalism contest, managing a small team of cross disciplinary journalists and a network of hundreds of volunteers in coordination with support from the University of Georgia to maintain, run, archive, and expand the contest.
As The New York Times Washington, D.C. video journalist, A.J. was part of a team that filmed the newspaper's first ever exclusive video interview with a sitting President, Barack Obama. During his time in the Washington Bureau, he filmed several more exclusives with POTUS, oversaw a team of producers for news video coverage of national and international news, and earned several White House News Photographer "Eyes of History" awards.
Prior to the Times, A.J. was a video journalist for The Washington Post. In his first year at the paper, he earned an Edward R. Murrow award for breaking news reporting on the shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Other work was awarded several local Emmys, ranging from interview and explanatory series to historical documentary and heritage reporting. His feature and political reporting were recognized by the White House News Photographer "Eyes of History" awards and the Virginia Press Association.
A.J. began his professional journalism at Syracuse University when, along with several other students, he was awarded the Carnegie-Knight News21 fellowship to document the lasting effects of war on veterans and families at home in rural America. He credits his time as photo editor and editor in chief at the campus newspaper, The Daily Orange, with teaching him how to be an effective journalist.