By Kay Mills
People usually learn about the Journalism and Women Symposium–JAWS–the same way: word of mouth. Skeptical journalists, they may doubt whether it’s a group for them. They attend, and then they vote yes by returning year after year. That affirmation is a critical part of the history of JAWS. Indeed, it is JAWS.
JAWS grew out of discussions at a 1984 gathering at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, which appropriately is now JAWS’ home base. Jean Gaddy Wilson invited a few women journalists to return to campus to talk about their lives and work. They had such a good time that Tad Bartimus, an Associated Press correspondent and Missouri alum, invited the women to join her and several other Colorado journalists at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park in September 1985. That meeting was attended by Tad Bartimus; Jean Gaddy Wilson of the University of Missouri; Jane Marshall, then with the Denver Post; Carole McKelvey, then with the Rocky Mountain News; the late Janet Chusmir, then publisher of the Boulder Daily Camera; Judy Miller, Denver TV news producer; Pam Johnson, then with the Kansas City Star; Anne Banville of Washington, D.C.; Christy Bulkeley, then with the Gannett Foundation; Lucy Conant of Sheridan, Wyo., Trisha Flynn of the Denver Post; Jennifer Gavin of the Associated Press in Denver; Susan Harlow of the Sheridan Press; Ramona Rush of the University of Kentucky; Harriet Simpson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Tay Thomas of Anchorage, Alaska. Ever after, the fall JAWS session has been known as “camp”–but we tell our bosses it’s a symposium.
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Word spread, and the group decided to convene again the following fall at the Aspen Lodge overlooking Longs Peak outside Estes Park.
JAWS was still small–20 women attended that year–and informal. Although we didn’t realize it at the time, we had the nucleus of the current format–chats with people who make news or have covered the year’s big stories as well as time to get advice from our pals. We sat around a campfire and exchanged points of view about press coverage with the head of Denver’s social services department. We heard from one of the few female Teamster officials. We heard Tad Bartimus and Edie Lederer, also of the Associated Press, swap war stories–literally–about covering the Vietnam War. We moaned and groaned together about editors who don’t get it. And we sustained a tradition that lasted as long as we met around Estes Park, that is, shopping ’til we dropped at La Place de Jo, owned by camper Jo Jones. There was even a shopping trophy, too bulky to carry on a plane and superintended in the off season by Judy Miller. As Tad put it in the first-ever JAWS newsletter afterwards, the folks at the dude ranch “liked us because we were good tippers and could pour our own coffee in a crisis.”
That first newsletter also contained articles by Dorothy Jurney, a pioneering women’s section editor in Detroit and Miami, as well as Glenda Crank Holste, then the national-foreign editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Its masthead credited Sybil Barnes for editing, Dean Wariner for graphics and design and Tad Bartimus for motivation. Tad kept JAWS going in the early days out of her hip pocket and her heart. Sybil served as secretary, keeping the mailing list and helping set up camp for the next four years.
For JAWS III, we gathered at Black Canyon Inn in Estes Park. We heard from more remarkable women, including Ellen Dolan, who, after swearing she had no skills, told us how she and her husband had worked to save their family farm near Trenton, Missouri. Julie Ashbrook, another Missourian, had us in stitches with her descriptions of small-town newspaper reading (especially the part about coverage of giant vegetables). You probably had to be there. It was at this JAWS as well that Edie Lederer became the chief recruiter for people to work on the program or newsletter or other tasks. She lives in London and couldn’t do JAWS chores during the year, so she was designated to talk to people at camp and find those who could do them.
Kay Mills became the newsletter editor in the fall of 1987 and for a time was joined by Jenny Campbell, then of the Orange County Register, as the JAWS cartoonist.
JAWS IV in Allenspark, Colo., in September 1988 is enshrined in memory as “Ptomaine Jaws” because so many campers became ill. Whether it was food poisoning or flu, the ailment made this trip to Colorado low on the list of all-time greats for some among our numbers. JAWS was growing, but it’s hard to tell how much because so many people were abed at the time for the team picture. Forest fires were raging, then it snowed. At lunch the last day, the hardy survivors and stragglers noted a group of polyester-clad men heading for a luncheon meeting in the back dining room. “Poor babies,” said Jane Marshall, anticipating what might lie ahead for them, “they don’t know how to take care of themselves.”
Despite the misadventures, we started wrestling with the future of JAWS. This was no small debate. Some wanted to keep JAWS small and social; others saw growth as inevitable and wanted to channel the energy toward more help for women in their profession. Each side had merit and, while JAWS has grown, planners have done their best to retain the informality and the chance to commune with kindred spirits and get revved up for whatever lies ahead in the next year.
The JAWS connection also started to bring dividends, in addition to friendships, for our members. Over the years, it has resulted in editors hearing about new columns to run or books to review, women finding new jobs, conference planners learning names of good speakers, members getting tips on stories or how to set up a new beat, and from thankful personal experience, writers finding wonderful folks with whom to stay while on research trips or book tours.
For JAWS V, we returned to Black Canyon Inn in Estes Park. For that camp, we offered our first scholarship out of proceeds from our silent auctions and donations. We talked about Jean Gaddy Wilson’s New Directions for News, newsroom angst, covering reproductive rights, and covering race. That discussion, led by Betty Anne Williams of USA Today, Leola Johnson, then at Pennsylvania State University, and Marian Duncan, from a Minnesota radio station, put us on notice that white journalists not only had to stop relying on their black friends to explain “the black community” to them but that JAWS itself should do more to bring women of color into the circle. To quote the newsletter: “…White women must stop sitting back and start attacking the problem within themselves and in their newsrooms…In terms of news coverage, the media must stop, for example, covering the black community only when there are gang slayings or drug busts. Write about solutions as well as problems.” Hannah Marshall, there with a sitter and her mom Jane, became the first JAWS baby. She was nine months old.
This was clearly a pivotal year for JAWS. We continued our discussions on the future of JAWS and decided on a more formal organizational structure, both for self-protection and self-preservation. Jane Marshall became the first president of JAWS and an interim board of directors was named. A regular board with staggered terms was to be selected at JAWS VI. That interim board consisted of Jane Marshall, who had moved to the Houston Chronicle; Tad Bartimus, Associated Press; Joan Cook, New York Times; Margie Freivogel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Glenda Holste, St. Paul Pioneer Press; Leola Johnson of Penn State; Pam Johnson of the Phoenix Gazette; Connie Koenenn of the Los Angeles Times; Carole McKelvey, Rocky Mountain News; Kay Mills, Los Angeles Times; Eileen Shanahan, Governing Magazine; Peg Simpson, Ms. Magazine; and Betty Anne Williams, USA Today. Glenda Holste led the effort to secure non-profit status for the organization. Margie Freivogel joined Kay and Lisa Clausen of the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph in putting out the quarterly newsletter.
Plain old fun, it should never be forgotten, has always been the centerpiece at JAWS. It may have been a cookout in the mountains, a swim in the pool, tennis or horseback riding, an early morning walk with friends, a hair-raising drive along the precipices of Rocky Mountain National Park or through the glaciers in Montana, but JAWS members have always found times and places for relaxation and rejuvenation. Santa Fe, New Mexico, certainly would offer multiple choices when JAWS met there in 1990 and 1991.
But first, the interim board met in April 1990 at a beachhouse in Galveston, Texas, for a key meeting along the road to reorganization. Jane Marshall hired Janet Cohen, a consultant with extensive experience helping non-profit groups. She helped the board develop a mission statement, not an easy task for a group of sharp, opinionated journalists. All groups need mission statements to guide their planning, Janet told us. After considerable discussion, the mission statement agreed upon was:
“The Journalism and Women Symposium, a national organization, supports the personal growth and development of women in the newsroom and works toward a more accurate portrayal of the society as a whole.”
The board felt this statement maintained the duality that is JAWS. It covered camp–the personal ties that can be formed there, the good advice people inevitably pick up or dish out, the chance to enjoy restful settings. It also encouraged projects that could offer creative solutions to collective problems. High on the agenda was pulling in more women of color. And yes, Virginia, there would always be camp–that was why and where we started and how we kept our contacts growing. The beauty of the current structure, the board felt, was that those who simply want the rest and relaxation of camp can just “do camp.” Those who wanted activity directed at change can have that, too.
JAWS VI, held in September 1990 at Bishop’s Lodge in Santa Fe, had a distinctly international flavor as JAWS had guests from Poland, the Soviet Union (as it was still called) and Iceland. Helena Luczywo, publisher of Poland’s largest newspaper and editor of its former Solidarity underground paper, shared her experiences, as did Elena Androunas, a journalism professor at Moscow University and fellow that year at the Gannett Center for Media Studies, and Gudrun Agnarsdottir, member of the Icelandic Parliament from the feminist Women’s Alliance. From the Navajo nation came journalist Betty Reid to talk about some of the pitfalls Native American journalists face–a real eye-opener. Artist Judy Chicago, whose studio is in Santa Fe, visited with JAWS members and spoke about political control over the arts. Camp keynoter was Geneva Overholser, then editor of the Des Moines Register, who talked about bringing change from the top. She generated a particularly lively exchange when she discussed a column she had written weighing the pros and cons of identifying women who been raped. (The Register later won a Pulitzer Prize on articles that followed that column about one woman’s rape.) JAWS members also hit the horseback and walking trails, the swimming pool, the hot tub, and the weirdly-surfaced tennis courts during the early morning hours or breaks in the sessions. Oh, yes, the shops, markets and museums of Santa Fe drew well, too.
That December, one of JAWS initial members, Janet Chusmir, then executive editor of the Miami Herald, died of a brain aneurism. Tad Bartimus eulogized Janet in the newsletter, remembering her advice to “fight for the important things: equal pay and equal respect. Fight smart, make them an offer they can’t refuse.”
The board met again in April 1991, again in Galveston, this time joined by new members Melinda Voss of the Des Moines Register and Gayle Reaves of the Dallas Morning News. Janet Cohen was back again as well, and this time she led the board through the need for sounder financial planning. That is a euphemism because we didn’t know how much money we had, what it cost to do anything or what to do next. And once again, Jane brought Blue Bell ice cream and barbecue.
One of JAWS’ most successful–and most fun–fundraisers made its debut in this era: a gigantic tote bag, black, white and red, and big enough for even a journalist’s or college professor’s many papers and books and lap top computer. It was covered with quotable quotes from women in the news business.
Rep. Patricia Schroeder of Colorado keynoted JAWS VIII, held again at Bishop’s Lodge in Santa Fe, perhaps because some people still had money to spend shopping (although from the look of the loot hauled away from shops in Santa Fe and Taos the previous year, one might doubt it). Byllye Avery of the National Black Women’s Health Project worked her “quiet magic,” as someone described it, in trying to move her audience beyond thinking about what divides women by race to what should unite them. Joanne Howes, a Washington-based consultant who helped organize the Society for the Advancement of Women’s Health Research, acknowledged the challenge of following Avery’s presentation on the program as she ably presented information about the movement to focus more studies on women and thus improve women’s health care. Gen. Wilma Vaught, president of the foundation raising money for the Women in Military Service Memorial, surprised no one when she said that women’s role and status in the U.S. military has been a mirror of their place in the larger society. Roxanne Conlin of the American Trial Lawyers Association said that some of her best clients had died because doctors too often dismiss complaints from women. Ellen Malcolm, founder of EMILY’s List, and Pat Schroeder filled campers in on the political prospects for women coming up in 1992. Faye Crosby of Smith College, author of Juggling, told JAWS members that fixating on juggling as a source of stress diverts people from the larger issues, such as disparate job opportunities and salaries for women.
New officers were selected at the meeting: Glenda Holste, St. Paul Pioneer Press, president; Pamela Moreland of the Marin Independent Journal, vice president; Gayle Reaves, Dallas Morning News, secretary; Margie Freivogel, St. Louis Post Dispatch, treasurer. Other board members chosen were Jane Marshall, Houston Chronicle; Jo-Ann Huff Albers, Western Kentucky University; Tonnie Katz, Orange County Register; Judy Miller, KMGH-TV in Denver; Gina Setser, Albuquerque Tribune; Eileen Shanahan, St. Petersburg Times; Melinda Voss, Des Moines Register; Betsy Wade, New York Times; and Betty Anne Williams, USA Today. Kay Mills and Margie Freivogel continued to edit the newsletter, with layout by Gina Setser.
There was a JAWS first the following spring when member Lorraine Adams of the Dallas Morning News shared a 1992 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. The winning series, “Abuse of Authority,” detailed civil rights abuses, especially beatings and killings, by police across Texas.
By 1991, it became apparent that JAWS needed a structured staff and office to serve our growing membership and meet our organization’s professional education mission more fully.
Working as the two top officers, Jane Marshall and Glenda Holste explored options. These points informed the search that led JAWS to the University of Missouri:
* Good recommendations from other specialized journalism groups that run their mid-career programs from the school.
* Confidence that our small program would enjoy personal support from the dean’s office and JAWS founding member Jean Gaddy Wilson as our faculty sponsor and on-site executive.
* The school’s performance on assuring diversity as a high priority.
With the board’s approval, Glenda Holste contacted Dean Mills, the school of journalism’s dean, at the beginning of 1992. In February, Glenda, Jean Gaddy Wilson, Lee Wilkins, assistant dean; and Dean Mills met in Columbia and worked our arrangements to locate JAWS’ at the school with Jean as executive secretary.
By May, JAWS had moved in and held the spring board meeting at the school. The organization’s records are now kept at the Columbia office, with historic documents archived in the Women and Media Collection, Missouri Historical Society, where Nancy Langford is the curator for the collection. Banking and legal counsel are also now centered in Columbia. JAWS, incorporated in Colorado where the organization was formed from what grew out of the informal founding network, retains its status as a Colorado corporation. We also are registered to do business in the state of Missouri.
Our first coordinator, Marc Long, was borrowed from Jean Wilson’s staff at New Directions for News, which also literally put the roof over our head. JAWS also benefitted from good and promptly given advice from the school’s development office.
JAWS found itself on firmer financial footing as it took on the discipline of an educational organization. In 1990, the Ms. Foundation for Education and Communications became the first large foundation to support JAWS, with a grant for camp programming that allowed us to bring European journalists int the Santa Fe camp. Since then, JAWS has enjoyed foundation backing from the Freedom Forum, Scripps Howard Foundation, the Sister Fund, the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation, and the Knight-Ridder Inc. Fund.
From the beginning, JAWS has enjoyed in-kind contributions. The Communications Consortium Media Center has always been there, no matter how expansive JAWS’ request for advice or program support.
Our board has worked entirely on a volunteer basis, with members providing their own time and travel expenses. Joan Cook, Eileen Shanahan and Betsy Wade did extra duty in helping draw up the organization’s by-laws, and Connie Koenenn set a high standard in organizing early programs for JAWS.
As we added an emphasis on technology education for women, we have benefitted greatly from the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, site for the first spring JAWS training symposium.
Individuals who have worked with special dedication on the financial side of JAWS are Christy Bulkeley, Kathy Bonk, Mary Dedinsky, Joanne Edgar, Glenda Holste, Julia Kagan, Kim Otis, Sharon Rosenhause, Gina Setser, Emily Tynes, Vivian Vahlberg, Betsy Wade, Jean Gaddy Wilson and Nancy Woodhull.
Texas’s irrepressible Molly Ivins keynoted JAWS VIII at Teton Village at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in September 1992.
The press failed to uncover and pursue aggressively many of the central stories of the 1980s, she said, in part because “there’s a terrible tendency to quote people with titles and they all lie.” Another featured speaker was Nan Robertson, discussing her book about the sex discrimination lawsuit against the New York Times. Campers had a rare opportunity to have her book, Girls in the Balcony, autographed not only by the author but also by three of the suit’s named plaintiffs, JAWS members Joan Cook, Betsy Wade and Eileen Shanahan. Marjie Lundstrom and Rochelle Sharpe, who shared a Pulitzer Prize the year before for a series of child abuse deaths that go undetected because of sloppy work by medical examiners, made a presentation about their work, and Ruth Mandel, director of the Center for the American Woman and Politics at Rutgers University, looked ahead to the fall election, joined by writer Celia Morris and Linda Williams, a professor at the University of Maryland. Rachel Jones of the Detroit Free Press and consultant Nancy Woodhull explored how the media must reinvent the news to retain readers. And Lisa Chung of the San Francisco Chronicle and Denise Johnson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press led a discussion on race and news coverage. International guests attending included Mae Ghalwash, Miao Hong, Qudssia Ahlaque, Eza Szegone Elekes and Getsy Selirio. In all, more than 100 campers attended. A new title for an ongoing JAWS feature was coined, where else, in the bar at the camp lodge. JAWS must be sure to preserve the atmosphere in which younger members are not intimidated out of seeking advice or griping about their own work situation, so the conversation went. That spirit was a hallmark of early JAWS sessions and mustn’t be lost. Yes, said Judy Miller, we need to have “wine and whine sessions” so people know it’s OK to let their hair down.
New officers selected were Gina Setser, president; Connie Koenenn, vice president; Melinda Voss, secretary; and Rhonda Bennett, Bond Buyer, treasurer. New board members were Lisa Chung, San Francisco Chronicle; Mary Dedinsky, Northwestern University; Julia Kagan, then at Indiana University; and Ellen Sweets, Dallas Morning News. Continuing board members were Jo-Ann Huff Albers, Glenda Holste, Tonnie Katz, Judy Miller, Pamela Moreland and Betsy Wade. The silent auction raised more than $1,100 for scholarships. Jane Marshall became editor of the newletter, with design by Gina Setser and copy editing by Kelly Brewer of the Albuquerque Tribune.
River rafting joined the list of outdoor activities for JAWS members–along with horseback riding, hiking, swimming, the ever-present tennis, and elbow bending (indoor and outdoor divisions).
JAWS gained a major asset on February 1, 1993, when Margie Meyer started working for the organization. Margie has proved invaluable in preparing materials for board meetings and camp and for keeping JAWS organized during non-meeting times through the JAWS office at the University of Missouri. In real life, she has also been a deli owner, community relations director for Ronald McDonald House, scheduler for Missouri’s secretary of state (after that, no wonder she’s so calm at camp), and a member of the local Planning and Zoning Commission for seven years, its chair for two. In 2000, Margie’s job title was changed business manager.
Any organization knows it has come of age when it’s time to revise the by-laws, and JAWS was no exception. That was a central chore for the JAWS board at its meeting in May 1993 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The changes clarified membership categories, defined the roles and responsibilities of the board and officers, set up committees and provided for operational responsibilities. Margie Meyer took over as staff coordinator that spring.
JAWS had its first (and, so far, only) male guest speaker at the fall camp in September 1993–Governor Marc Racicot of Montana. Although he spoke too long, an occupational hazard for a politician, it was nice to be worth a gubernatorial visit. Racicot greeted campers as they assembled for a barbecue on the lawn of the Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, Montana, not far from the western entrance to Glacier National Park. The park provided river rafting, hiking and rubbernecking opportunities before the meeting and during breaks. Aside from the fact that someone at the lodge put some members’ packages away so well that they were not found in time to be useful, JAWS officers liked the place so well that they immediately booked it for the 1995 meeting.
Feminist author and mystery writer Carolyn Heilbrun, a.k.a. Amanda Cross, who was writing on a biography of Gloria Steinem, talked about her work and life as a writer and added a second late-night session that was one of the hits of the meeting. JAWS IX also had discussions on coverage of gay and lesbian issues, American Indians, child abuse and sexual harassment. The camp ended as members watched on big-screen TV as the Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat, shook hands on the south lawn of the White House.
The newsletter after JAWS IX also carried a memorable photo of Rita Henley Jensen, Lori Udesky and Ellen Fagg leading a group of campers in a demonstration of their newly written JAWS song and dance. Again, you had to be there.
Gayle Reaves of the Dallas Morning News was elected as the new JAWS president. Other new officers included Betty Anne Williams, USA Today, president-elect; Betsy Wade, New York Times, vice president; Ellen Sweets, Dallas Morning News, secretary; and Julia Kagan, Child Magazine, treasurer. Continuing in terms on the board were Gina Setser of the Albuquerque Tribune; Lisa Chung, Asian American Journalists Association; and Mary Dedinsky, Northwestern University. New board members selected were freelancer Judy Flander; Karlyn Barker, Washington Post; Rachel Jones, Detroit Free Press; Sharon Rosenhause, San Francisco Examiner; and Yumi Wilson, San Francisco Chronicle. Lorraine Iannello, a freelance writer in Seattle, took over as newsletter editor, assisted by Betsy Wade of the New York Times and Maura Casey at The Day in New London, Conn. The silent auction raised a record $1,989 toward scholarships.
JAWS took special pride in the Pulitzer Prize won in the spring of 1994 by the Dallas Morning News because JAWS president Gayle Reaves contributed two stories to the package of stories about worldwide violence against women, and JAWS members and participants involved in the prize winner included Pat Gaston, Mary Carter, Lisa Thatcher, Anne Reifenberg, Melanie Lewis, Victoria Loe, and Pam Maples.
The board met east of the Mississippi for the first time, venturing to Wells College near Cayuga Lake in upstate New York in May 1994. There was time, of course, for a side trip to Seneca Falls, birthplace of the feminist revolution in America, and the nearby farm of Harriet Tubman. The board voted to begin work toward holding a technology-oriented meeting for the spring of 1995 to help lead women into the information age.
It was back to the glorious Tetons for JAWS tenth anniversary celebration–and no more glorious view is possible than that from the Jackson Lake Lodge where we pitched camp. Everything was a highlight–from the opening night speech on “the war on children” by Children’s Defense Fund president Marian Wright Edelman to the teleconference with delegates to the world population conference in Cairo (engineered by Kathy Bonk and Emily Tynes of the Communications Consortium and hosted by Edie Lederer of the Associated Press). Chief Bisi Ogunleye of Nigeria, one of the few women who is a tribal chief, was an instant celebrity in our eyes. The emotional high spot was presentation of the President’s 21st Century Award from the National Women’s Hall of Fame to three who risked their careers to sue the New York Times for sex discrimination: Joan Cook, Eileen Shanahan, and Betsy Wade. The Pulitzer Prize winners from the Dallas Morning News outlined their project, and authors detailed how to find an agent, what to think about before tackling a book and how to sell it once you’ve done it. Political correctness was a hot topic, and JAWS members also heard from cyberspace–or at least about how to get on board before it leaves you behind, and they talked with news executives Tonnie Katz of the Orange County Register; Maria Elena Torralva of the Hearst Corp.; Mindi Keirnan of Knight-Ridder; and Janet McMillan of Gannett about taking risks in order to break the glass ceiling.
There was more hiking, more rafting, some fly fishing and bird-watching, even tennis 25 miles away (at least the road wound through gorgeous country).
Betty Anne Williams of USA Today assumed the JAWS presidency at the end of the camp session. President-elect was Julia Kagan, Child Magazine. Other board members were Gayle Reaves, Dallas Morning News; Sharon Rosenhause, San Francisco Examiner, vice president; Melinda Voss, Des Moines Register, treasurer; Karlyn Barker, Orange County Register, secretary; and Angela Chatman, Cleveland Plain Dealer; Joy Cook, WNBC-TV; Julie Dunlap, Associated Press; Judy Flander, freelance writer; Lorraine Iannello, Claims Magazine; Rachel Jones, Knight Ridder Washington bureau; and Yumi Wilson, San Francisco Chronicle.
At the presentation of the National Women’s Hall Fame Award Nancy Woodhull, president of the hall’s board of directors who presented the award, said the tribute was different than election to the hall, which usually honors women’s trailblazing posthumously. “Thanks for not waiting,” said Joan Cook. Thanks, indeed, because Joan, one of JAWS first board members and its Rock of Gilbraltar, died of breast cancer in February 1995. We are not sure how we will do without her.
Computer camp became a reality at JAWS first spring conference in May 1995 on the Evanston campus of Northwestern University. Half a dozen teachers and coaches helped the computer illiterate start moving up to speed.
History marched on as JAWS members assembled September 8-11 back at Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, Montana. Since we were in the heart of militia country we had a presentation a town judge, Martha Bethel, who had faced threats from groups that do not believe in the power of the state to regulate such activities as driving or to impose taxes. We had panels and other sessions on the O.J. Simpson trial, free speech, mid-career rejuvenations and graphics and we heard from Nancy Hicks Maynard, former publisher of the Oakland Tribune, about redefining our roles in the age of the Internet. We also had a telephone hookup with several JAWS members covering the United Nations Women’s Conference in Beijing, who were joined by the deputy chair of the U.S. delegation, former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky. The linkup was organized by Carol Ashkinaze, vice president of the Communications Consortium and Kathy Bonk, its co-director. At this JAWS camp, we established the Joan Cook Scholarship Fund to bring young journalists, especially women of color, to camp and into JAWS. The fund started with a $2,500 grant from Freedom Forum, requested by Betty Anne Williams and helped along by Nancy Woodhull.
At JAWS X at Jackson Lake Maria Elena Torralva-Alonso, director of diversity at Hearst newspapers, promised to increase Hearst participation at the next symposium. Hearst covered the expenses to bring 21 campers from its newspapers to the Whitefish meeting.
Julia Kagan, deputy editor of Consumer Reports, assumed the presidency at the end of the Whitefish camp. The president-elect was Rachel Jones of the Knight-Ridder Washington bureau. Other board members were Joy Cook of NBC-TV; Lisa Chung of the Asian American Journalists Assn.; Pat Sullivan of the Mercury Center; Betty Anne Williams of USA Today; Julie Dunlap of the Associated Press; Lorraine Iannello of Claims magazine; Angela Chatman of the Cleveland Plain Dealer; K.C. Cole of the Los Angeles Times; Pam Maples of the Dallas Morning News; Cynthia Lozano of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; and Carolyn Kingcade of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
JAWS went south to Miami for its second computer camp in April 1996, an event made possible by Knight-Ridder and the good offices of Mindi Kiernan, then assistant to the chairman and chief executive officer of Knight-Ridder. Instructors offered help with spreadsheets, on-line research and websites. It all sounds so elementary today but back then it was a step at chipping away at “techno-intimidation, one camp at a time,” as Rachel Jones put it. In addition to the help from Knight-Ridder, JAWS benefited during this period from a $20,000 grant from the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation for training in computer-assisted reporting. The JAWS website, created by Gina Setser, Pat Sullivan and Cynthia Lozano, debuted not long after the spring computer program. Today the website includes job listings, news and photos from camp, reports from JAWS presidents, and information about joining the organization or buying books by JAWS members, as well as this JAWS herstory.
September 1996 saw a record number of JAWS members converge on the Napa, California, Marriott (and on a stupid German male who thought he could fondle a JAWdess without retaliation). More than 200 journalists came from as far away as London and Warsaw to attend JAWS XII. The opening night speaker was former congresswoman and TV newswoman Marjory Margolies-Mezvinsky, who told campers that “if we keep electing women at the rate we’re doing it today, we will have equal representation in 431 years.” Panels for the fall meeting in that election year centered on women in politics and the California Civil Rights Initiative that opposed the state’s affirmative action programs as well as on changes in the nation’ welfare laws. Campers also explored work-related issues such as finding a mentor, crossing the line into management and getting a book published. Portions of the program were underwritten by the Freedom Forum Pacific Coast Center and the San Jose Mercury News. And once again, Hearst led the way with a gang of 25 campers, challenging (for the moment) the longtime leader in numbers attending JAWS, the Dallas Morning News. Women for WineSense, a wine country business organization, arranged wine tastings for campers, who needed little encouragement.
At each fall camp, the older order changes and new board members are selected. The 1996-1997 board was headed by president Rachel Jones of Knight-Ridder in Washington; president-elect Joy Cook, NBC and WNBC newswriter and producer in New York; vice president Cynthia Lozano of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; treasurer Lorraine Iannello of Microsoft Online; secretary Rita Henley Jensen, a columnist; past president Julia Kagan, editor of Consumer Reports; and members Rosemary Armao, executive director of the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization; K.C. Cole of the Los Angeles Times; Carolyn G. Kingcade of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Katherine Lanpher of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; Pam Maples of the Dallas Morning News; Denise Rios of the San Antonio Express News; and Susan Schultz of the Chicago Sun-Times. By this time, Lorraine Iannello was editing the newsletter with copy editing by Shawna Seed of the Dallas Morning News and design first by Lisa Cowan of the Spokesman-Review and then Nanette Bisher of the Orange County Register.
JAWS continued to hold computer camps to drag us kicking and screaming and perhaps enlightened into the Internet Age. The third annual computer camp was held in Washington D.C. at Medill News Service in 1997, the fourth at the University of Texasin Austin in 1998, and the fifth at Sacramento State University in California in 1999. The final computer camp was co-sponsored with the Sacramento chapters of the Asian American Journalists Association, the California Chicano News Media Association, and the National Association of Black Journalists.
During the year that Rachel Jones was JAWS president, she started attending meetings of the Council of Presidents, a group that consists of heads of organizations such as the National Association of Black Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, and Native American Journalists Association. Since then, JAWS presidents have been an active part of this group, helping give the organization more visibility.
The trout streams of Gallatin, Montana, beckoned for some JAWS members who practiced their fly fishing or took lessons (or watched others taking lessons) as JAWS XIII convened at the 320 Guest Ranch. The program featured Barbara Reynolds as keynoter. Reynolds, long a columnist for USA Today, had been fired in July 1996. Instead of sitting back after her termination, Reynolds wrote a book entitled, “No, I Won’t Shut Up: 30 Years of Telling It Like It Is.” She told the younger journalists in the meeting room that “taking a stand will hurt you. But when one door closes, two, three, four will open.” Other panels concerned “the demonization of mom,” “staying sane in a crazy world,” public journalism, and the use of statistics to distort and manipulate the news.
JAWS paid tribute to two of its stalwart sisters who had died since the last camp – Nancy Woodhull and Theo Wilson. Nancy, who was executive director of the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center in New York at the time of her death in April 1997, had helped establish the Joan Cook Scholarship Fund for JAWS. Theo, celebrated for her trial coverage, died in January 1997 just as her long awaited book, “Headline Justice: Inside the Courtroom-The Country’s Most Controversial Trials,” was published.
The 1997-1998 JAWS board, announced at camp, was headed by Joy Cook of WNBC-TV in New York with president-elect Margie Freivogel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; vice president Denise Johnson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune; treasurer Rosemary Armao of the Baltimore Sun; secretary Denise Rios of the Sacramento Bee; past president Rachel Jones of Child Wire, Inc.; and board members Mary Kay Blakely of the University of Missouri School of Journalism; Katherine Lanpher of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; Shirley Ragsdale of the Journal and Courier of Lafayette, Indiana; Anne Reifenberg of the Wall Street Journal; Susan Schultz of the Chicago Sun-Times; Sharon Walsh of the Washington Post; and Helen Zia, an independent journalist from Oakland, California. Newsletter editing had passed from Lorraine Iannello to Ariel Gore to Karlyn Barker, Ariel Gore, Pat Sullivan and Betsy Wade.
JAWS members helped lobby the American Society of Newspaper Editors board in 1998 to include women in its newsroom surveys on diversity. The e-mail and phone call blitz followed an alert by president Joy Cook and mobilization by San Francisco Examiner managing editor for news Sharon Rosenhause and Los Angeles Times associate editor Narda Zacchino. The JAWS board passed two resolutions encouraging the action. Zacchino stressed the importance of the gender count. “We know there is a glass ceiling, that women have obstacles men don’t have. It’s important to track how many women are in the business and are leaving and why. We’re making a big push to woo women readers; we need women making assignments in coverage, serving as role models.”
JAWS members were among those whose efforts kept the ASNE board from retreating. “I don’t know how much e-mail or how many calls ASNE directors got,” Sharon Rosenhause said, “but I know they got the message. And there’s a message in what happened for JAWS and its many friends, female and male, who helped lobby the ASNE board. The 10-year-old daughter of one of our reporters would call it girl power. Call it what you like. We have a voice and we shall be heard. I couldn’t feel better if I’d beaten Kay Mills in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.”
Fall camp returned to the Tetons for JAWS XIV at Jackson Lake Lodge where members hiked, saw shooting stars, told bear stories and saw a few bears a little too close for comfort. Law professor Catherine A. MacKinnon stirred up the troops with her challenge to the media to recognize and report “the reality of sexual abuse” in society. Some challenged her assertions that journalists are not covering this issue deeply enough, with many feeling JAWS was the wrong group to beat over the head on this issue. The arguments went on after the speech and at a book signing later. Former U.S. Representative Pat Schroeder talked about politics, including the number one topic, the Starr Report on what Monica did to Bill and vice versa, released just as camp was convening.
Schroeder share these three rules for politicians: 1) Don’t lie. 2) Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page. 3) If you do, go back to Rule #1. Camp also featured panels on covering the Clinton-Lewinsky saga, women in the workplace, demography, the impact of technology, and women and health. Breakout sessions, ever a staple at JAWS, featured discussions on sidestepping tradition, coping with a changing newsroom, seeking fellowships, working toward diversity, and getting a book published. Historian Sally Roesch Wagner opened camp with a performance as pioneering feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. “We had to form our own newspapers because that was the only way we could get our story told,” Wagner, as Stanton, told the audience.
JAWS honored four of the women on whose shoulders we stand because they had sued the Associated Press and the New York Times for sex discrimination. They were Fran Lewin and Peg Simpson, formerly with the AP, and Betsy Wade and Eileen Shanahan, who had taken on the New York Times. Also honored at JAWS was Jean Gaddy Wilson, executive director of New Directions for News who helped in the early organization of JAWS. Tad Bartimus, who founded JAWS, attended camp for the first time in eight years and received a standing ovation as well.
Book sales and the silent auction at camp raised more than $5,000 for scholarships.
President Margie Freivogel headed the 1998-1999 board, with president-elect Patricia Sullivan of the San Jose Mercury News online site; vice president Cheryl Hampton of National Public Radio; treasurer Rosemary Armao of the Baltimore Sun; secretary Sharon Walsh of the Washington Post; past president Joy Cook of WNBC-TV in New York; and members Mary Kay Blakely of the University of Missouri School of Journalism; Cheryl Imelda Hampton of National Public Radio in Washington; Mi-Ai Ahern of the Chicago Sun-Times; Kristi Angel of the Billings Gazette; Suzanne Hoholik of the San Antonio Express News; Denise Johnson of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune; and Jodi Enda of Knight-Ridder Newspapers in Washington. Karlyn Barker was editing the newsletter with Ariel Gore, Kristi Angel, Frances Fernandes, Glenda Holste, Lorraine Iannello, Pat Sullivan and Betsy Wade.
Not long after fall camp, Margie Freivogel convened a meeting in Minnesota of past JAWS presidents and several other members to make sure that the organization’s institutional memory would be passed on and to help establish future priorities. Among the items discussed was the need to develop more year-round activities and to keep members involved in years when they don’t attend fall camp. In terms of money, the group reaffirmed the policy that no programs should go forward without funding in place. For the long term, the group felt that JAWS needed to explore more grant possibilities while being sure to follow strict guidelines about appropriate sources for funds.
The Unity meeting of groups representing African American, Asian American, Hispanic and Native American jouralists in Seattle in July showed diversity in action. JAWS had a presence at this second of the Unity meetings, with board member Helen Zia organizing a leadership training session with the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute and member Rita Henley Jensen organized a workshop looking at coverage of welfare issues. A number of JAWS members, including president Margie Freivogel, attended the meeting.
JAWS went to the movies when it had its fifteenth camp in September 1999 at Sundance Resort in Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival. And, no, Robert Redford was not there. But several fine filmmakers were, including Emiko and Chizo Omori, producers of “Rabbit in the Moon,” which had won the best documentary award at the Sundance festival that same year. Their work tells about the life of Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II. June Cross, a producer from TV’s “Frontline,” showed “Secret Daughter,” about her black father and white mother who had tried to pass her off as adopted. Jeannie Morris previewed “Adventure Divas,” a TV series about women around the world. The first show was on Cuban women and aired the following March on PBS. A panel on Third Wave Feminism stirred lively discussion. Women in their 20s said they felt they were living feminism but had some ambivalence about being called feminists. Some in the audience objected that the younger women had bought into the false stereotype of feminists as angry man-haters. Speaking from the audience, Martha Hamilton of the Washington Post said that the real challenge for those younger women is to know what they have to fight against “because the discrimination isn’t as obvious.” As the mother of a 20-something, she said she saw more similarities than differences in the two waves of feminists. “It’s easier for older women to see their younger selves in you than for you to see your older selves in us,” she said. “I wish you luck–call yourself whatever you want.”
Other discussions at the Sundance camp centered on women and technology, women as editors, women and politics, and 21st century demographics. Anita Borg, president of the Institute for Women and Technology in Palo Alto, Californa, urged that women not only embrace technology but that they challenge the way it is. “Why isn’t it the way I want it? What is it I want?” are questions we should be asking. “The stuff we are building today may have more impact on the future than our government does. We can’t have a narrow priesthood defining that stuff” without input from women, she warned.
In the stories-we-love-to-tell department, JAWS members learned of the reach of their website when they met Danish journalist Lene Rimestad. Lene found JAWS on the web and decided this was the group for her. And she got her union to pay her way to Sundance. Lene accompanied Kay Mills, Gina Setser and Melinda Voss on a drive to nearby Park City on her first full day in the United States. Her traveling companions assured her that the entire country wasn’t this gorgeous but, awed by the glorious fall foliage and mountain views, she found that hard to believe. In fine JAWS tradition, Lene also proved herself a good shopper. JAWS Injury-of-the-Year Society claimed two new members. President Margie Freivogel thought she had headed off the annual JAWS injury by breaking her arm playing softball about a month before camp. Not so. Julia Kagan broke her leg in four places as the result of a fall while preparing to go rafting with her housemates before camp began. The nurse at the emergency room of the local hospital asked if she’d rather go back to New York than stay at Sundance. No, Julia replied, “I’m staying with eight mothers (read: sisters,” and she was indeed well cared for by her housemates.
Betsy Wade saluted Donna Allen, who had started attending JAWS in its very early days and who died in July 1999. Donna’s newsletter, Media Report to Women, chronicled developments that affected women as journalists and news consumers for many years. Especially invaluable was a special issue that she ran detailing the sex discrimination suit against the New York Times. As Betsy said, “Her work lives as a record that was not challenged in her lifetime, and that will stand as a clear account of an era when few let us speak for ourselves.”
The 1999 JAWS officers and board, announced at camp, were president Patricia Sullivan of the San Jose Mercury News, soon to switch to The Industry Standard; president-elect Cheryl Imelda Hampton of National Public Radio; vice president Denise Johnson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune; secretary Suzanne Hoholik; treasurer Betsy Wade; past president Margie Freivogel; and members Mi-Ai Ahern of the Arizona Republic; Kristi Angel of the Billings Gazette; Jan Paul of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Catherine Reiland of the Orange County Register; Jackie Spinner of the Washington Post; Yumi Wilson of the San Francisco Chronicle; and Narda Zacchino of the Los Angeles Times.
JAWS switched its focus for its spring activities from computer instruction to member recruitment and fundraising, an effort coordinated by Jodi Enda. JAWS members in many cities, including New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco and St. Paul–held dinners or other events to introduce JAWS to their friends in the biz. A number of new faces showed up at fall camp as a result. For example, in St. Paul, Katherine Lanpher hosted two events, described as “the hometown equivalents of wine and whine” sessions held each year at camp. The Pacific Northwest beckoned for JAWS XVI as campers met in mid-September 2000 at Port Ludlow Resort on the Olympic peninsula of Washington State. Lt. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy (ret.), who had made headlines as the highest ranking officer to file a sexual harassment suit, keynoted the conference by discussing her experiences both with the military and with the press. Kennedy, who had just retired and had a book due out soon, had been the first woman to become a three-star general in the U.S. Army.
Mary Jo Kane, professor at the University of Minnesota, drew looks and gasps of amazement as she showed photographs that underscored her studies of the exploitation of the image of women in sports. Megan Greenwell, a reporter for the Berkeley, California, High School paper, talked about her experiences in reporting the story of the death of an immigrant girl. The young woman, Seetha Vemireddy, was not attending the school yet the student paper, The Jacket, decided it was important to run the story because it helped expose exploitation of girls and women that was not uncommon in the South Asian community in the Bay Area. Other speakers and panels addressed Social Security, disability in the newsroom, the addictive power of advertising, the image of girls and the issues of Native American women. Two breakout sessions focused on life at the top in newsrooms as well as professional life beyond the newsroom.
For the first time, the JAWS program carried advertising greetings from the Arizona Republic, Orange County Register, Hearst Newspapers, Seattle Times, Bloomberg News Service and PersonalReader.com. These greetings helped support camp as did a generous grant from the Industry Standard.
In their spare time, campers made a solid dent in the salmon population, swam or kayaked, found a clothing store in Port Townsend that gave them a JAWS discount, hiked briefly in the (almost) nearby national park, and wrote a camp song parody (you had to be there). At least two of the members were glad to have returned to a place with tennis courts on the grounds, courts that had a view of both mountains and water.
The 2000 board members were president Cheryl Imelda Hampton of National Public Radio; president-elect Jodi Enda of Knight-Ridder in Washington; vice president Jan Paul of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; secretary Leanne Kleinmann of the Commercial Appeal; treasurer Catherine Reiland of the Orange County Register; past president Patricia Sullivan; and board members Janet Key of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism; Jeanne Morris, television producer of “Adventure Divas;” J. Kyle Foster Newton of the Fayetteville News and Observer; Jackie Spinner of the Washington Post; Rochell Thomas of TV Guide; Yumi Wilson of the San Francisco Chronicle (on leave as a Michigan Journalism Fellow); and Narda Zacchino of the Los Angeles Times.
Discussion at the Monday morning camp business meeting centered on clarifying what groups JAWS might seek out as donors and which we should leave alone. The board said it would continue to examine existing policy during the next year.
The new millenium started with a departure: Business manager Margie Meyer, who had been with JAWS for eight years, decided to move on to a new chapter in her life as a hospital employees’ pension advisor. The board met for its spring meeting in Chicago at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and hired JAWS member Becky Day to help keep us organized and on track.
Becky has been the executive director of the California Society of Newspaper Editors since 1994 and will continue with those duties while working for JAWS. She has a journalism degree from Marquette University and was already a JAWS member and had attended the Napa Valley camp.
JAWS members were set to fly off for fall camp in the Superstition Mountains outside Phoenix when terrorists struck September 11 in New York, Washington and aboard a plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Stunned, members went to work to help cover the events or sat glued to their televisions and scouring through newspapers for information to help understand the tragedies. Like many other organizations across the country, JAWS cancelled its September 14-17 meeting as planes were grounded and members hard at work on the wide-ranging story.
Two months later, 70 JAWS members gathered in New York for a weekend conference that included many discussions of the events of the previous two months. Members visited the scene of the attack on the World Trade Center and heard from retired Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, who pointed out that many of the “talking heads” being interviewed about terrorism were men. On the Saturday of the mini-conference, JAWS members went to Columbia University’s School of Journalism where they talked with U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, author Robin Morgan, journalism Barbara Crossette, and Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. Crossette, a New York Times reporter, had been to Afghanistan in 1998 to interview women living under the Taliban regime. The New York conference was organized by JAWS president Jodi Enda, Lorraine Iannello, Rita Henley Jensen, Julia Kagan, Sharon Walsh, Betsy Wade and Dinah Witchel.
One of JAWS’ founding mothers, Eileen Shanahan, died November 2, 2001, in Washington. She had had rheumatoid arthritis and had been in failing health for some months. Eileen was a stellar JAWS member, first attending camp in 1988 and never missing a session thereafter. She was on the first JAWS board of directors and could often be seen at meetings talking to young journalists who might need her brand of sage advice. Older ones, too. In Eileen’s distinguished career, she had been an economics correspondent for the New York Times, assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, assistant managing editor at the Washington Star and Pittsburgh Post Gazette, founding executive editor of Governing Magazine, and Washington bureau chief for the St. Petersburg Times. She was among the women who sued the New York Times for sex discrimination in the 1970s. JAWS has created a fund in Eileen’s memory that will be used to bring to the fall camp speakers reflective of her wide-ranging interests. Glenda Holste of the St. Paul Pioneer Press chairs the trustees of that fund, who are herself, author Kay Mills and Betty Anne Williams, formerly of USA Today.
JAWS held its elections for new officers and board members electronically in the fall of 2001. Jodi Enda, White House correspondent for Knight Ridder newspapers, became president. The president elect is Susy Schultz, consulting editor for Chicago Reporter; vice president, Jeannie Morris, executive producer of Adventure divas; secretary, J. Kyle Foster Newton of Bloomberg News; and treasurer, Glenda Holste of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Members of the board of directors are Cheryl Imelda Hampton of National Public Radio, the immediate past president of JAWS; Amy Bernstein, formerly of the Industry Standard; Nancy Day of Boston University; Linda Deutsch of the Associated Press; Dana Hull of the San Jose Mercury News; Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, a freelance writer; Sydney Shaw, author; and Betty Anne Williams, formerly of USA Today.
As the old year turned into 2002, JAWS members were still missing their fall JAWS fix so a group of 90–including many who had never been to camp–met at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Asma Gull Hassan, a Muslim writer who had been scheduled to speak to JAWS in Phoenix, talked with the L.A. group. Her message–the need to overcome stereotypes and learn more about Muslims–had taken on far greater impact, of course, post 9/11. Her book, “American Muslims: The New Generation,” had been published shortly before the attacks. Before 9/11, she couldn’t get any coverage; afterward, she was inundated and spent 40 per cent of her time helping other people find Muslim sources. “Can you find us a Muslim ballerina?”
Before the meeting got under way, JAWS members could view the documentary photography exhibit by Malibu’s Joan Almond, with scenes from rural communities in North Africa, the Middle East and India. The lunchtime speaker was Susan Goldberg, managing editor of the San Jose Mercury News, who talked about managing at a time of financial cutbacks. In the afternoon, a panel discussed the challenges of covering the entertainment industry. Organized by Janice Littlejohn, it included Cynthia Wang from People, Heidi Parker from Movieline, Brill Bundy of Zap2It.com, Miki Turner of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Lynn Elber of the Associated Press and Dana Calvo of the Los Angeles Times. The event was put together by AP bureau chief Sue Cross and JAWS board members Janice Littlejohn, a freelance writer, and Linda Deutsch, also of the AP. The Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at USC played host for the event. That night some of the hardier–and younger–women attending LA JAWS headed for an evening of dancing at the clubs along the Sunset Strip. The contingent from Bakersfield especially didn’t want to miss a thing!
In mid-March, there was yet another get-together, this time Beach JAWS in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, spoke about her organization’s many years of work–well before 9/11 and the ensuing war–on behalf of women and girls in Afghanistan. Arlene Morgan of Columbia University’s School of Journalism moderated a panel on the state of journalism today, with Rosemary Armao of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Connie Sage of Landmark Communications, Addie Rimmer of the Detroit Free Press, and Karen Dunlap of the Poynter Institute. And Lucy Morgan of the St. Petersburg Times talked about Florida politics, which seems to provide an endless stream of anecdotes and imbroglios. Saturday night many in the group visited artist Laura Luna in her home/studio in Little Havana. Sharon Rosenhause of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel pulled Beach JAWS together with “terrific help” from Gail Bulfin, Willie Fernandez and Diane Neal of the Sun-Sentinel. Sharon said the weather was glorious “and a lot of wine was consumed at my place.”
JAWS president Jodi Enda presided over the fall 2002 camp at Grouse Mountain Lodge. Lynn Sweet and her program committee had many treats in store for us, especially talks by New York Times editorial page editor Gail Collins and her good friend, playwright Wendy Wasserstein. We also explored whether Title IX needed fixing, entertainment and computer-assisted reporting, and covering wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
As Jodi said in her welcoming letter in the program, the fall meeting contained “a hole, a huge cavity, where Eileen Shanahan should be.” Eileen had died the previous fall and Jodi added; “We will miss her stories, her enthusiasm, her sense of outrage. We will miss the sound of her voice rising from the crowd to point out that one critical fact that the rest of us have managed to overlook.” At the meeting, Kay Mills gave a tribute to Eileen’s accomplishments and her ever-ready good advice. In closing, she said of this pioneering journalist, “A few years ago I asked Eileen whether she ever found herself jealous of some of the younger women who got assignments and jobs that she might have liked to have had. `Well,’ she replied, `I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say that, yes, sometimes I am a little jealous. But not really. You know, I wouldn’t have missed the fight!’ She was fully involved in the fight, and the rest of us are so very much better off for it. And for having known her.”
After Eileen’s death, her daughters asked that any memorial contributions be given to JAWS or UNITY, the organization the represents journalists of color. We decided to use the money to bring to camp speakers whose topics would have piqued Eileen’s curiosity, which was as wide as it was deep. At Whitefish, we had our first Shanahan speaker, Zainab Salbi, founder and president of Women for Women International. Her organization works with women who have been victims of wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda and later Iraq, where she was born. She gave a very moving portrayal of the lives of these women refugees.
Wendy Wasserstein kept JAWS members entranced-and laughing-with her descriptions of writing plays and of her own family. “I was lucky to have been born into so much material,” she said. “If your mother is named Lola and a dancer and your sister is named Gorgeous, you get to use it.” Of her plays, she said the material was logical-”women have this history of talking to each other. Life changes without the kind of action that you describe as action.” Later she said of one of the young revolutionaries of the Sixties: “All those people who were going to change the world were buying second homes.”
At Whitefish, JAWS made a movie. Independent producer Jeannie Morris interviewed many of the people at camp and put together a film to show what the experience means to us-the community and commonality. “A Taste of JAWS,” a five-minute video, is available for local JAWS gatherings.
The new board consisted of president Susy Schultz of Chicago Parent; immediate past president Jodi Enda of the Boston University Journalism Center; president-elect Amy Bernstein of Business 2.0; first vice president Linda Deutsch of The Associated Press; second vice president Rosemary Armao of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel; secretary Connie Sage of Landmark Communications; treasurer Glenda Holste of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; and directors Julie Dunlap of The Record; Dana Hull of the San Jose Mercury News; Janice Littlejohn, freelance writer; Pamela Moreland of the San Jose Mercury News; Betsy Wade, retired from The New York Times; and Yumi Wilson of the San Francisco Chronicle. Jackie Spinner edited the newsletter.
In April the JAWS board met at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. First there was a reception at ABC-7 studios and then dinner at the famed Billy Goat’s Tavern in Chicago. But the business of JAWS topped the agenda as the board started preparing job descriptions to help its officers and directors as well as information about what each committee does. In plotting a new course for JAWS, the board decided on several goals: diversity, mentoring, providing scholarships and improving the organization’s structure, especially vital for raising money for the activities it wants to pursue.
For its fall meeting, JAWS went out of the country for the first time, venturing to Kananaskis Village in Alberta, Canada. It was therefore appropriate that we had a Canadian author-and not just any Canadian author, but Margaret Atwood-speak to us. Katherine Lanpher of Minnesota Public Radio engaged Atwood in conversation and even prodded Atwood to do some of her puppet voices. Well, maybe you had to be there.
Other speakers included Martha Burk, who spoke of the National Association of Women’s Organizations’ battle against Augusta National Golf Club, which has no female members; Dalia Hashad, the Arab, Muslim and South Asian advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union, who was the Shanahan speaker; and Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Hashad and Dalglish talked about the impact of the attacks of 9/11 and the U.S. reaction on the Muslim community and the press. Carolyn Lee, former assistant managing editor of The New York Times, led a discussion about the Jayson Blair affair at The Times with Macarena Hernandez of the San Antonio Express-News and Tanya Barrientos of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Macarena was one of the journalists from whose stories Blair had lifted material; she had also been an intern at The Times with him. There were also breakout sessions on journalism fellowships, freelancing, teaching journalism and investing.
The new JAWS board was president Amy Bernstein of Business 2.0; immediate past president Susy Schultz of Chicago Parent; president-elect Rosemary Armao of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel; first vice president Pam Moreland of the San Jose Mercury News; second vice president Michele Weldon of Northwestern University; secretary Connie Sage of Landmark Communications; treasurer D’Vera (Dee) Cohn of The Washington Post; and directors Kara Briggs of The Oregonian; Mary Carter of the Dallas Morning News; Julie Dunlap of The Record; Betsy Wade, freelance writer; Yumi Wilson of San Francisco State University; and Helen Zia, author. Dana Hull edited the newsletter.
That October, Carolyn Heilbrun, long a friend of JAWS, died at 77, a suicide. She had spoken at JAWS in 1993 and gave generously of her time at that meeting when another featured speaker didn’t show up and she stayed up until all hours answer questions. As Betsy Wade put it in an article in the winter 2004 JAWS newsletter: “No one who was there has forgotten that intense conversation. Can we have it all? Children and jobs? Journalism and books? Heilbrun duked it out, candid as few ever are: no punches were pulled about women’s lives and the prices we pay. She exemplified her belief in the `moral necessity’ of taking an unpopular stand.” A professor of English literature at Columbia University, Heilbrun also wrote the popular Amanda Cross mysteries. She was, as Betsy put it and others agreed, “ever after a friend.”
The JAWS board met in San Francisco in March and discussed fund raising, the JAWS presence at the upcoming UNITY meeting and the program for the fall meeting.
JAWS celebrated its 20th birthday at its fall camp near Mount Hood, Oregon, in September 2004. As president Amy Bernstein said in her welcoming message, JAWS “has evolved into a national organization, 350 members strong.” JAWS 101 debuted at that meeting as a way to introduce newcomers to what happens at camp.
Highlights of the program included a discussion of celebrity justice-covering high-profile cases led by Linda Deutsch with Greta van Susteren of Fox News and Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson; a panel on writing women’s history featuring Vicki Ruiz of the University of California Irvine; Lauren Kessler of the University of Oregon; and Jean Gaddy Wilson, founder of the National Women and Media Collection at the University of Missouri School of Journalism; Irshad Manji, an edgy columnist and speaker who is taking on what she considers distortions of her own religion-Islam; and a panel on covering the culture wars that included Julie Sullivan of The Oregonian; the Rev. Susan Russell, spokeswoman for the first gay Episcopal bishop; Merle Weiner and Julie Novkov, professors of law and political science at the University of Oregon. Former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts shared stories of her experiences with the media as a campaigner and elected leader, and Christine Brennan, a USA Today sports columnist, talked about her career and coverage of events ranging from the August National golf club’s membership fight to the 1999 women’s national soccer team. The Shanahan Speaker was Kakenya Ntaya, a young Masai who grew up in a Kenyan village without electricity and persuaded her parents and the village elders to let her come to the United States to attend college.
But one of the true moments of inspiration had to be the pageant celebrating 20 years of JAWS created by the lovely and talented Jane Marshall, our very first president. It was another case of you had to be there. Bravissima!
New board members were president Rosemary Armao, a Knight International Fellow; immediate past president Amy Bernstein of Business 2.0; president-elect Pamela Moreland of The San Jose Mercury News; first vice president Michele Weldon of Northwestern University; second vice president Dawn Garcia of Stanford University; secretary Linda Kramer of People; treasurer D’Vera (Dee) Cohn of The Washington Post; and directors Kara Briggs of The Oregonian; Lisa Chung of The San Jose Mercury News; Jennifer LaFleur of The Dallas Morning News; Cindy Richards, freelance writer; Sydney Shaw, author; and Yumi Wilson of San Francisco State University. Dana Hull edited the newsletter.
JAWS held its spring board meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, in April. As president Rosemary Armao said, the board tackled some thorny issues that will sound familiar in almost every organization: “Do we choose our leaders the right way? Why are losing members, and how can we get them back? Do we operate in a way that is transparent and encourages member trust? Where can we find the money to fund the programs we want?”
Sedona’s red rocks and crystal vibes attracted JAWS members that September to our annual fall meeting at Poco Diablo resort. We even did a bit of stargazing, literally, as an astronomer set up his telescope and guided us in looking at the desert night sky.
Some quick shuffling had to be done with the program because ongoing coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina kept some of the featured speakers away. Among those who did make it were Beth Frerking of the Casey Center for Journalism, who talked about issues concerning children in the aftermath of the hurricane; cartoonist Nicole Hollander, creator of “Sylvia;” Zubeida Jaffer, a South African freelance journalist whose story is the story of that country under apartheid; and Arabella Martinez, a community organizer from Oakland, California, who was the Shanahan Speaker. She had also been a colleague of Eileen Shanahan’s at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare during the Carter Administration. There were breakout sessions on mystery writing, featuring author Victoria Houston; investigative reporting; covering disabilities; protecting sources; writing book proposals; and moving into teaching.
The new JAWS board was president Pamela Moreland of the San Jose Mercury News; immediate past president Rosemary Armao of the Center for Investigative Reporting in Bosnia; president-elect Julie Dunlap of The Record; first vice president Dawn Garcia of Stanford University; second vice president Lisa Chung of the San Jose Mercury News; secretary Megan Kamerick of New Mexico Business Weekly; treasurer Jenni Bergal of the Center for Public Integrity; directors Karlyn Barker of The Washington Post; Linda Kramer of People magazine; Jennifer LaFleur of the Dallas Morning News; Cindy Richards, freelance writer; Rita Henley Jensen of Women’s eNews; and Yumi Wilson of San Francisco State University. Dana Hull edited the newsletter.
The spring board meeting in Kansas City in April was held about 10 minutes from the airport so that people could focus on the business at hand. JAWS brought in Peggy Kuhr, a faculty member at Kansas University, as facilitator for a brainstorming discussion of where the organization had been, what it has meant to the people involved, and where it should go. JAWS invited the past presidents to attend, and Julia Kagan and Jane Marshall did. The upshot of the discussion was a decision to seek foundation grants to help expand JAWS’ ability to conduct meaningful programs and upgrade its communication efforts, including the website. That decision led to the successful application for a $20,000 grant from the Challenge Fund for Journalism III. That fund was created by three foundations-the Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Ethics & Excellence in Journalism-to help journalism groups thrive in difficult economic times. JAWS has until May 31, 2007, to match the challenge grant.
The fall meeting at Sun Valley in September featured talks by JAWS member Mi-Ai Parrish, recently named as publisher of The Idaho Statesman, and Lori Edmo-Suppah, editor of the Sho-Ban News and journalist in residence at the University of Idaho. The latter gave a glimpse of Native Americans’ life in Sun Valley. On Saturday there were panel discussions on reporting from the front lines in wartime and covering the complexities of race today. Breakout sessions focused on covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, being a multi-media journalist, taking the buyout, winning a journalism fellowship, writing a book and covering domestic violence.
An added treat was the presence at the meeting of Tennessee Watson, daughter of the late JAWS stalwart Nancy Woodhull. She was in the area for a wedding and ran into someone from JAWS at the airport, so learned about the meeting and showed up. Her mother would be very proud of her work with a teen radio project and the Maine Migrant Health Program. On the last night of the program, Bowling for JAWS debuted, a capstone event providing much merriment and hilarity.
The new JAWS board elected at Sun Valley was president Julie Dunlap, freelance journalist; immediate past president Pamela Moreland of the San Jose Mercury News; president-elect Dawn Garcia of Stanford University; first vice president Julia Kagan of Ladies Home Journal; second vice president Mary Kay Blakeley of the University of Missouri; secretary Sandra Fish of the University of Colorado; treasurer Jenni Bergal of the Center for Public Integrity; and directors Karlyn Barker, retired from The Washington Post; Adrienne Drell of Northwestern University; Carol Guensberg of the Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families; Rita Henley Jensen of Women’s eNews; Megan Kamerick of New Mexico Business Weekly; and Eunnie Park of The Record. Kay Mills edited the newsletter.