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).
By Sandra Fish, JAWS President-Elect
True confession: JAWS CAMP is tied for my fave journalism conference.
The competition? NICAR, the National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting conference put on each February or March by Investigative Reporters and Editors.
Of course, NICAR appeals to my affinity for data and technology. Through the years, I’ve learned so much from NICAR, from how to use Microsoft Access to analyze data in the 1990s to transitioning to open-source databases, from great Excel tricks to scraping websites using Python programming.
But another reason I love NICAR is the effort organizers make to be inclusive in terms of gender, ethnicity and age.
D.C. events are known for their quotients of power brokers and influencers. So perhaps it wasn’t that unusual to find six past presidents gathered at the National Press Club on March 20.
But how often do you find past presidents and their supporters munching on cookies featuring a curvaceous pink shark with big red lips?
By Justine Griffin, JAWS Board Member
The first time I attended the Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) was in Vermont in 2013. I had no idea what to expect, as I had never attended a JAWS event before or met an active member face-to-face.
I was directed to the website by a former college professor and was curious after I looked around the site for the first time. I was surprised to see photos of journalists at the annual conference dressed so casually. It didn’t seem like the regular professional meetings I’d attended before.
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.
JAWS D.C.: More than 40 Washington-area JAWdesses and prospective members braved freezing rain and treacherous sidewalks to get together on March 1 for a potluck at the home of JAWS board member Angela Greiling Keane. The event focused on JAWS membership, so members were encouraged to bring a friend who’d be interested in joining JAWS. The potluck featured dishes from homemade carrot cake to Indian stews to from-scratch sourdough bread. In the spirit of good food, former JAWS board member Carol Guensberg talked about the effort to compile and publish a JAWS cookbook for the organization’s 30th anniversary to tell the JAWS story through food.
JAWS SoCal: We had a wonderful JAWS potluck on Saturday evening. Listening to Patt Morrison speak about the art of interviewing, the value of research and the hard work of reporting, and graciously answer everyone’s questions, was a major treat. Thanks to everyone who came and contributed food, fun and thoughtful exchanges.
This article was originally posted on Nieman Foundation News.
By Mary C. Curtis, JAWS member
It’s hard to imagine the world without Dori Maynard in it. She leaves an incredible legacy and has touched so many. You can hear it in the many tributes greeting the news of her death. How did she manage to do so much in 56 years? How could she be so many places, making speeches and driving home the point that journalism and life demand all voices in order to work in any accurate and meaningful way—and then offering wise counsel and a sympathetic ear in a late-night phone call to a friend?
Last year, when we both happened to be in New York on business, we met for brunch and—since it was a beautiful day—walked and walked and talked and talked. I will carry that day with me now. She was sweet, kind, funny and fierce. And even when her message was serious she made it with such clarity and charm that everyone got it.
The Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) was honored to have Dori J. Maynard serve on our Advisory Board since 2012. As a lifelong journalist with a deep commitment to improving the craft and reflecting the diversity of our communities in news coverage, Dori was admired by many.
Dori was a natural, and welcome, addition to the JAWS community. The group’s mission, to support the professional empowerment and personal growth of women in journalism and work toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society, aligned well with Dori’s passion for teaching and showing journalists how bringing diverse sources to their stories made them more accurate.
The trailblazing journalist and JAWS advisory board member worked tirelessly for diversity and equality in the media.
JAWS Bay Area: We’re currently in the planning stages of a daylong investigative journalism training/workshop. If you have ideas or would like to help, contact Angela Woodall or regional captain Emily Beaver.
Bay Area and Albuquerque JAWdesses gathered in their respective cities for viewings of “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.” Feedback reveals this is a great opportunity for regions to use a film or play as a recruitment tool — especially if you can arrange an informal mixer or talk afterwards.
JAWS Boston: Boston JAWS members last month attended “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins,” a play written by JAWS members (and twins) Margaret (Peggy) and Allison Engel.
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.”
By Nancy Day
On behalf of the judges, I am pleased to announce the winning slogan for our 30th anniversary year:
JAWS: WOMEN MAKING NEWS FOR 30 YEARS
The judging was blind, based only on the merits of the many entries, but I was thrilled to find that the winner comes from Linda Deutsch, legendary trials reporter for the Associated Press, based in Los Angeles. Those of us lucky enough to come to CAMP ’14 were spellbound during her interview with her longtime friend and colleague Edie Lederer about her approach, ethics and entree into the world of celebrity defendants and their lawyers. Last month, Deutsch announced her retirement and her plan to write her memoirs.
Thus, the prize of extra time on the Friday night CAMP introductions should be lively and include more juicy tidbits from Deutsch’s victory lap year, including many celebrations of her storied career.
By Merrill Perlman, JAWS Board Member
It’s time to confess: I was a JAWS denier.
In the early years of JAWS, Betsy Wade and Joan Cook urged me to join. Why did I need JAWS? I thought to myself. I was already at a wonderful place in my career at The New York Times (the second woman to be the chief of a major news copy desk, Betsy, of course, being the first). I didn’t need a group of women to validate my success. I demurred, more than once, and they stopped asking.
Fast-forward to 2006, more than 15 years later. I was now the director of copy desks at The Times, the largest department in terms of people reporting to it, more than 160. There were other women in top jobs at The Times, but I had little camaraderie with them. I needed something by way of a support group, a sounding board.
JAWS D.C.: JAWS D.C. members Jane Meacham (in cap), Viola Gienger (red gloves), Beryl Adcock and her husband, David, walked in a silent march that drew hundreds, perhaps more, in Washington, D.C., in a show of solidarity with France and the values of free expression and tolerance, after the attacks in Paris. French Ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde helped lead the procession, which began at the Newseum and ended at Judiciary Square.
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.
By Angela Greiling Keane, JAWS Board Member
There are many things to love about JAWS, but one of my favorites is the age diversity of our members. When I first joined JAWS in 2003, that wasn’t the case. But the members at the time— the core of whom had founded the group as soulmates in solidarity in the 1980s— realized that JAWS wouldn’t be sustainable into the future if they didn’t replenish their ranks. So they set out to do just that.
I was recruited to JAWS by the indomitable Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, who at the time worked down the hall from me. I don’t remember her exact words, but whatever they were, when she invited me to a reception for JAWS that was being held in conjunction with an Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in Washington, I don’t recall there being a choice of whether I would attend.
Join JAWS, 39 other journalism organizations and 20,000+ journalists in supporting our slain colleagues at French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo. #JeSuisCharlie
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.
Story by 2014 Fellow Elaine Rita Mendus | Video by Macrina Newhouse | Photos by Ellie Van Houtte
While online harassment has always been an issue, it has become a big topic among journalists recently, as the recent Gamergate debacle only underlined the importance of this discussion at CAMP. Veteran journalists Mary Curtis, Susy Schultz and Michele Weldon discussed the issue of harassment on the Internet, harassment prior to the Internet and ways to counter harassment.
Women in the session were asked to post on a corkboard an insulting or harassing comment left for them on a story. And every woman on the panel relayed a tale of harassment, threats or physical stalking.
By Pamela Moreland, JAWS Board Member
Molly Ivins continues to give JAWS something to talk — and think — about. That’s one of the biggest takeaways from a gathering of 30 Bay Area JAWS members and their friends at the Berkeley Rep production of “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins.” Kathleen Turner, the Academy Award and Tony Award nominee, starred in the one-woman play written by the Engel sisters, Margaret (better known as Peggy) and Allison, both JAWS veterans.
Going to see Turner channel Ivins has become a JAWS tradition: Earlier this year, JAWS members in Washington, D.C., saw Turner’s star-turn in the play, and others saw her in Philadelphia in 2010.