President’s Letters

The President of the Journalism and Women Symposium, according to the organization bylaws, serves as the chief executive officer of the organization. She directs staff and board members, presides at meetings, appoints committees, signs all written contracts and obligations of the organization, and speaks on behalf of JAWS. The president, most importantly, sets the tone and direction for JAWS.

July 2017: Meeting veteran and newbie JAWdesses near and far

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I recently attended the Investigative Reports and Editor (IRE) conference in Phoenix, Ariz., and hosted a JAWS meetup. Among the group were at least two students, current and former board members, past fellows and one future fellow, Chandra Bozelko. There were even two Brennas from Arizona sitting next to each other – Brenna Goth, a fellow at last year’s Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP), and Brenna Bailey, a University of Arizona student member.

We shared stories about work, IRE and, of course, our excitement about attending CAMP.

When it comes to our fellows, a JAWS tradition is raising money to help these young women come to CAMP.

April 2017: Paving the way for women journalists

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One of the coolest things about our CAMP for me is meeting new women journalists – especially our fellows.

Each year, our fellowship committee selects a group of 10 to 14 women who might not otherwise be able to come to CAMP to receive these grants to attend.

This year we’re honored to add the Betsy Wade Legacy Fund Fellowship to the lineup, honoring the first woman copy editor at The New York Times. Wade and her women co-workers sued the Times in the 1970s for equal pay, and their settlement paved the way for better pay and advancement for the women who came after them.

March 2017: Improve your leadership skills at one-day training seminars June 24 and July 28

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Looking to improve your leadership skills or develop some expertise to get there?

We’re excited that Jill Geisler will once again be offering JAWS members her excellent one-day training seminars this summer in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.

If you’re in or near the Bay Area, put June 24 on your calendar. We’ll be meeting at Stanford for the day, with lunch provided and most likely happy hour at the end of the day.

In New York City, Jill will be at CUNY on July 28, a Friday. Again, a day-long, interactive training with lunch provided and happy hour at the end of the day.

January 2017: New programs for the new year

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As the new year begins, I’m giving thanks for all those who so kindly donated to our successful end-of-year fund drive.

But we’re especially thankful for Phuong Ly of the Institute for Justice and Journalism. She recently closed the nonprofit and contributed money to several journalism nonprofits, including a generous gift to Journalism and Women Symposium.

Her gift, suggested by former JAWS President Dawn Garcia, will help us in our goal to provide regional training sessions in the year to come.

And that goal is already in motion.

December 2016: Looking back at 2016, getting ready for 2017

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As 2016 comes to a close, I want to offer thanks to everyone who’s done so much for Journalism and Women Symposium this year.

So many people have contributed it would be impossible to name you all.

But you’ve helped JAWS put on another great Conference and Mentoring Program in Roanoke, Va., hold three successful daylong regional training sessions, continue our work of mentoring each other and building relationships and more.

From board members to committee volunteers to trainers and mentors to our great JAWS staff members, your support is invaluable.

November 2016: Meeting challenges head on

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Like many of you, I left our Conference and Mentoring Program in Roanoke last month invigorated by great programming, refreshed by seeing friends old and new, and, maybe, a bit overfed!

The job of a working journalist can be a struggle. The pay isn’t always great, the hours are unpredictable and newsrooms have been cut to the bone in the last decade as the media’s business model is dissolved by all that is “free” on the Internet. That struggle is especially true for women and people of color, who are less likely to get the job, the pay raise, the promotion to management.

October 2016: Fundraising and development update

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Starting this fall, the role of leading our fundraising and development efforts is shifting from former JAWS President Katherine Rowlands to current Operations Director Roxanne Foster.

Kat was awarded a JSK Fellowship at Stanford University for 2016-17 and is taking a leave of absence from her editing job at the San Jose Mercury News as well to focus on her project: How we can overcome gender disparities in newsrooms, especially in leadership positions, to more accurately reflect and report on society.

She and Roxanne have been working together on our crowdfunding campaign, annual fund plans, auction, CAMP sponsorships and foundation grant efforts to ensure a smooth transition.

September 2016: New partnerships

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Journalism and Women Symposium is looking for ways to partner with other journalism organizations to provide our members with other opportunities.

One example of that is our recent partnership with the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

JAWS also has signed on to a recent letter to the White House vowing to fight for more transparency. And we’re also partnering with Society of Professional Journalists Open Our Gov campaign.

August 2016: Women journalists on the campaign trail

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You may have noticed there’s an election going on.

Many of us are covering it at some level; most of us are talking about it.

JAWS members Jodi Enda at CNN, Lynn Sweet at the Chicago Sun-Times, Caitlyn Huey-Burns and others are out on the campaign trail. Joanne Bamberger edited the book “Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox” and is often seen commenting on the election (though not seen often enough). Meanwhile JAWS board member Angela Greiling Keane continues to stalk, I mean, cover the current president for Bloomberg News. Even I have been to see Donald Trump in New Mexico and Colorado.

July 2016: Last call for fellowship campaign donations, JAWS board nominations

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Give a little? Or a little more?

We’re still a ways from our crowdfunding goal to bring 13 wonderful women to CAMP as fellows.

If you haven’t already donated, consider kicking in a little (though we’d take a lot too!). If each member kicked in just $10 this week, we’ll meet our fundraising goal of $15,000.

I’ve already asked my friends and family to donate (and many of them have, including a few who surprised me!) via email, Twitter and Facebook. I’d urge you to seek out help from your friends too.

In the meantime, today I’ll be going to our crowdfunding site to give just a little bit more! I hope you’ll join me!

On another matter, someone needs to replace me.

Not immediately, I’ll be JAWS president through CAMP 2017, and my successor will take over as president-elect this October.

But we are also looking to build the board of the future, so we’re seeking nominations that the membership can vote on in October, with terms to begin after our Sunday morning membership meeting at CAMP.

June 2016: Support annual crowdfunding campaign for our fellows

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October may be months away, but the JAWS board and staff are working tirelessly to ensure that our annual Conference and Mentoring Program, aka CAMP, is filled with great programming.

One of my favorite highlights of CAMP is meeting our fellows, from young women in the early years of our career to longtime JAWS members, making a transition to new ways of doing journalism.

We will again have 13 fellows this year, with one – the Diversity Fellowship – fully funded thanks to a grant from the Financial Times.

May 2016: Bring a JAWS Leadership Workshop to your region

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We all want to succeed in our careers.

And JAWS is helping us succeed in a variety of ways, formally and informally.

One of the best examples is our recent leadership training sessions in Chicago and Washington, D.C., with Jill Geisler and her team of coaches.

Jill shared her solid lessons gleaned from experience as a broadcast newsroom manager; holding a masters degree in leadership; working at Poynter Institute guiding their leadership and management programs; holding the Bill Plante chair in leadership and media integrity at Loyola University in Chicago.

March 2016: Inclusion Solutions

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When it comes to inclusion, we can all do a better job.

It’s a lot like the constant learning that comes with being a journalist.

At the just-concluded NICAR 2016 convention in Denver, I co-facilitated a conversation session sponsored by Knight-Mozilla OpenNews on “Inclusion Solutions.”

We had an excellent discussion, with plenty of ideas. Many of those ideas don’t need managers to make them happen. They just need us to be more aware and supportive of our colleagues.

January 2016: Check out the JAWS member directory

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How often do you check out the JAWS member directory?

I check it out pretty frequently, looking for JAWdesses in Colorado, New Mexico or the next place i’m visiting. Sometimes I look for women with a reporting or editing specialty. Other times, I’m looking for people in specific journalism groups to help me make connections

We moved to a more robust members-only site two years ago, and I’m hoping we can begin to take more advantage of its features in 2016.

December 2015: Looking ahead

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As 2015 draws to a close it’s time to look ahead.

Your Journalism and Women Symposium board of directors is planning some exciting events for 2016.

Of course, there’s the Conference and Mentoring Program, aka CAMP, which will be at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, Va., Oct. 28-30. Camp co-chairs Justine Griffin and Marina Villeneuve are already putting together what we know will be a great program of keynote speakers, panel and fun times.

Now is the time to share your ideas with them. The guidelines are here, while the form to submit a panel or speaker idea is here. Your participation is what makes our annual conference such a wonderful experience, so please share!

November 2015: Thankful for JAWS

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It’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.