November 2015: Thankful for JAWS

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SandraFishIt’s the giving time of year.

Time to focus on what matters in our lives and be grateful for all we have – family, friends, home, health, careers. Time to give of ourselves to others.

I hope that Journalism and Women Symposium is on the list of what you’re thankful for. I know JAWS is on my list.

I’m thankful for the women journalists around the country who are my friends because of JAWS. Thankful that I can email or call them if I have a career question. Thankful that if I’m traveling, we can get together to share shoptalk. Thankful for CAMP, which is always an invigorating weekend where we add new friends to the old. Thankful for our email list where we can ask questions, draw on the expertise of others, share job posts, share the work we’re proud of.

Women making news for 30 years at the Journalism and Women Symposium CAMP in Whitefish, Montana

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About 200 professional women journalists flocked to Whitefish, Montana, for the 30th annual Journalism and Women Symposium’s Conference and Mentoring Program Oct. 9-11.

JAWS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the professional empowerment and personal growth of women in journalism and works toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society.

Los Angeles Times managing editor S. Mitra Kalita led a discussion about the women feminism left behind as a part of the keynote discussion at the 30th anniversary CAMP.

Thirteen journalists were awarded fellowships through JAWS’ fellowship programs for early career, entrepreneurial, midcareer and diversity journalists.

September 2015: Speak up

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I know from those of you I’ve met in person and from reading posts from so many more on the listserv, that this is not a group of women shy about speaking up.

We recently sent out a general membership survey. This is the first one in over two years, and we need to hear from you. The survey gives you an opportunity to share what you want from JAWS, and it also seeks to gather information about our membership that will help the new board serve you better and evaluate how well we are working to fulfill our mission.

And that’s not your only opportunity to speak up.

August 2015: Welcome new JAWS Advisory Board Member Mindy Marqués Gonzalez

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I’m very pleased to announce that Aminda “Mindy” Marqués Gonzalez has joined the Journalism and Women Symposium Advisory Board.

Mindy is executive editor and vice president for news at The Miami Herald, the first Hispanic in that position. She started at the paper as an intern, proof to all you interns reading this that you can work your way up. I met Mindy when she interrupted her career at the Herald to serve as Miami bureau chief for People magazine, but she returned to the Herald in 2007 and served as multimedia editor, Sunday/Features editor and managing editor before being named to her current post.

July 2015: Remembering the trailblazers

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Her passion was contagious. Sitting on stage after the Washington, D.C., Feb. 14 screening of “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” Marlene Sanders recalled both the battles she had fought in newsrooms against sexism and the battles she covered on streets full of protesting feminists. She told us that it had been a constant struggle to convince her editors to cover the women’s movement, but she persisted and succeeded and talks about it in the film.

Marlene Sanders was a true pioneer. She died at age 84 on July 14.

As The New York Times reported, Marlene started her career with ABC and later worked for CBS. She was a “first” more than a few times throughout her career, a role model and inspiration for so many women broadcasters.

JAWS member Lynn Povich had this to share when asked about Marlene: “It’s just a small but meaningful thing,” she emailed me.

June 2015: A safe place to share

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In response to the recent Tim Hunt immolation, I asked myself: Do co-workers fall in love with you? Or vice versa? Do you cry when criticized?

Well actually, yes.

I met Steve when we were working in the AP bureau together in San Francisco. We will celebrate our 38th anniversary next month. As office romances go, it wasn’t particularly torrid. We always seemed to work different shifts (the joys of the AP’s 24/7 scheduling) and after a few months he left to work at a local paper. I thought we had successfully hidden the relationship from colleagues, but they later told me they all knew. (No reporter wants to admit to being scooped).

While I can’t recall a specific instance, I know there were times in the early years of my career when I came close to tears if not actually cried while being criticized. This would happen when I felt the criticism was unfair and that I was powerless against my supervisor.

May 2015: Top reasons to attend CAMP

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This month I attended Georgetown’s commencement and had the honor of hooding our journalism graduate students. It didn’t take long. Not many journalism degrees were handed out in comparison with degrees in public relations, sports management, real estate and other fields where job prospects are more secure.

That’s why I am so impressed with the passion and dedication of those students who choose to follow careers in journalism. And I was pleased to see several JAWS members among this year’s grads (shout out to Brittany Bremer, Heather Curtis and Julie Gilkison. Also Nicole Lewis, in absentia).

It is my hope that the JAWS network will be there for them and for all of us at every stage in our careers to provide support, resources and perhaps most importantly friendship.

April 2015: Get ready for CAMP

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In just six months, the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) will celebrate “Women Making News for 30 Years” at our anniversary CAMP Oct. 9-11 in Whitefish, Mont. Start making your plans to be there to toast our herstory and our future. Register now by clicking here and then give Grouse Mountain Lodge a call to reserve your room.

CAMP chairs Gina Setser and Emily Shenk are lining up a stellar program. Sessions are in the works on long-form journalism, election finance, avoiding the campaign spin (just in time for your 2016 reporting), teaching journalism, the ethics of crossing lines and so much more. Hilary Powell is organizing another lineup of tech-on-one trainers to cover all the skills and apps you need to succeed. This year’s Fran Lewine Interview will feature Linda Deutsch interviewing trailblazing journalist Edie Lederer. A special plenary session will focus on diversity in tribute to the work of the late Dori Maynard, a member of the JAWS Advisory Board. And stay tuned for announcements about keynote speakers and for details on a screening of “Difret” with producer Dr. Mehret Mandefro (thanks to a great suggestion from Kathy Bonk).

March 2015: Serving on the board

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The JAWS Board of Directors met in Washington, D.C., from March 20 to 22. This is the only time outside of CAMP that your board gathers in person.The agenda included a diversity discussion, updates on CAMP, mentoring, regional programming, fellowships and highlights from all committees. The meeting kicked off with a board dinner at the National Press Club followed by a mixer with D.C.-area JAWS members.
The board’s working sessions were at the Medill D.C. campus. Lynn Sweet reached out to program director Ellen Shearer, who graciously let JAWS use the space for free.

One item on the agenda was activating a nominating committee. Start thinking about serving on the board. Research shows that women usually need to be asked to run for office seven times before they do it: Consider this your first ask. And then show that you are willing to defy the odds and decide to run without waiting for six more asks.

February 2015: JAWS love

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Not to get all syrupy, but for a feel-good JAWS moment, read the note earlier this month from Sabine Muscat to the listserv about The Wall Street Journal’s accepting her story.

Muscat says Viola Gienger brought her to a D.C. JAWS event after she lost her job as Washington correspondent for a German newspaper. She wasn’t sure how to break into freelancing and expand her outlets to write in both English and German. JAWS members reached out and offered advice and resources. Two years later, Muscat says she can live on her freelance income.

“It has been liberating to see that it is still possible to make a living as a journalist these days,” Muscat wrote. “But it also is a fact that job and income security are not easy to attain for freelancers — which is why networking is so important. JAWS is the best example for that.”

January 2015: Underrepresentation

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Women elected officials and the women journalists who cover them share an uncomfortable reality: We are both underrepresented.

The new U.S. Congress includes 20 women out of 100 senators and 84 women out of 435 representatives. Only five of the 50 governors are women. Compared to other nations, we’re in the cellar when it comes to the number of elected women. We trail behind such nations as Honduras, Rwanda, Vietnam and Bosnia.

And research shows equally dismal representation for women journalists at home and abroad. An IWMF study on the global status of women in the media found that women worldwide held only about 36 percent of reporting jobs. Last year’s study by the Women’s Media Center found that, in the United States, male bylines continue to dominate both newspaper front pages and the content of newer online-only sites.

December 2014: Looking to 2015

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Listicles aside, I will spare you any year-end JAWS rundowns of top 20s, 10s or 5s. Let’s just say it has been a very interesting year. At the start of 2014, I did not expect to end the year as president of JAWS. But here I am.

And I am here for you.

So what can you expect from me in 2015? I plan to focus on getting JAWS in robust shape with a healthy budget (yes, that means fundraising) and stable staffing so that you can receive the programs and networking and support you want. Next year is a special year, our 30th anniversary, and that makes it an apt time to think about the state of our union. When you look at the mission of JAWS — to support the professional empowerment and personal growth of women in journalism and work toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society — how far have we come? Where do we need to go? What are the next steps to get there? Let’s engage in this conversation throughout the year and have it culminate in a great program at the Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) in Montana, where we can celebrate our legacy and our progress and get inspired for the next 30 years.

November 2014: Building on core strengths

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This year at the Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) at the La Quinta Resort and Club near Palm Springs, California, our amazing fellows asked for a few moments on the program because they had something to say. They stood up and, one by one, shared how they had become hooked on JAWS, how they had found it a safe place, a place of support, rejuvenating and inspiring and so much more.

They summed up eloquently and with emotion everything I might have said in my opening remarks after immediate past president Lauren Whaley placed the stylish shark tiara on my head. The fellows, like the excellent journalists they are, zoomed in on the heart of what JAWS is about.

August 2014: Covering tough subjects

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Whaleyd0e0abDear JAWS members:

These have been a troubling few weeks for journalists and for the world. And I am grateful for JAWS members who have helped to explain and reflect on what is happening through our network, support and work. Thank you for the posts and discussion on the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown and the continued aftermath in Ferguson, Missouri and beyond. And thank you, too, for the coverage and conversation following photojournalist James Foley’s execution. In both stories, many people see their sons, their fathers, their brothers, themselves.

I am hoping we can continue these conversations about the world and the role of journalists in it on the listserv, on Twitter, on Facebook and at our Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) at the end of October.

Jezebel founder Anna Holmes: CAMP keynote

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Anna HolmesI am so pleased to announce that Anna Holmes has agreed to be our Saturday night keynote speaker at this year’s Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP). She’s excited about it and so am I.

Anna is founder of Jezebel and recipient of the 2012 Mirror Award for Best Commentary for her columns in The New York Times and the Washington Post. She is the editor of two books, “Hell Hath No Fury: Women’s Letters from the End of the Affair” and the “Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things.” She now works as a columnist for the New York Times Book Review and as an editor at Fusion.

Many JAWS members asked for her by name as a potential speaker, and we are honored to have Anna at this year’s CAMP.