The cornerstone of JAWS’ work is training and mentorship. Often this takes place at our annual Conference and Mentorship Program (CAMP) gathering, but we also strive to provide opportunities for members to connect through regional gatherings and trainings. In addition, we also work to partner up mentors who wish to share their experience and expertise with mentees who seek to grow, advance and lead. We call this symbiosis, as mentoring is often a two-way exchange.
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.
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.
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.
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.
JAWS NYC: A small group of New York JAWS members gathered at the warm and welcoming Brooklyn apartment of Regional Captain Solmaz Sharif on Dec. 8. With Ruthie Padawer’s brownies and Ashley Milne-Tyte’s “devils on horseback” (baked bacon-wrapped prunes), among other offerings, we were not short of food! Among other things, we pledged to have more frequent meetings. At Liz Seegert’s suggestion, we’re stealing a page from the D.C. group and plan to mix up venues and organizers to attract more people.
Story by 2014 Fellow Georgia Dawkins
“Emote! It’s good to cry, but don’t stay there.” That was the message from Wendy Wallbridge as she comforted a tearful woman sharing the conflict between her true self and her false self with a room full of strangers. In that moment, we were not strangers, we were kindred spirits. It was the moment where we recognized that we all shared the same fears.
The woman’s testimony was part of an exercise at a CAMP session, “Elevating Your Voice: A New Roadmap for Self-Defined Success.” Wallbridge said that to be successful, we had to develop a different relationship with the negative voices in our head. So, as part of the session, we made a T-chart. On one side we listed all the negative things our false self told us about pursuing our dreams, and on the other, we listed the truth. She encouraged us to combat those negative voices with words from our true self. “Are you thinking about what you want, or the lack of it?” said Wallbridge.
Story by 2014 Fellow Georgia Dawkins
Shh! Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but the big secret to mentoring is asking for what you need. I know this for a fact. For the last 10 years, I have recruited mentors from various backgrounds, genders and ethnicities to guide me through life. This year, JAWS made that process even easier. Not only was I drawn to like-minded JAWdesses like a mosquito to water, but I was paired with a phenomenal female journalist. I was paired with Stacy-Marie Ishmael. She instantly made meeting me at CAMP a priority, and her commitment didn’t end at after one breakfast at the La Quinta Resort. Between BuzzFeed and the Financial Times, her time is limited, but I’m now on her schedule. I look at our newfound union and think, “Now, that’s how you do it.”
Mary Stutts, vice president of external affairs for Comcast, told CAMP attendees that many women don’t have mentors because they fail to ask. “Mentoring is conducive to developing future leaders,” says the mother of three.
Story by 2014 Fellow Melissa Ludtke
As the industrial model of conveying news via print and broadcast shares its space now with digital media, so do the 20th century’s benchmarks of newsroom ethics need to adjust to new ways of assessing the profession’s guiding principles. It doesn’t work to “simply apply the old rules to the new environment,” said Kelly McBride, who is vice president of academic programs at the Poynter Institute and led the session entitled “New Journalism Ethics” at JAWS CAMP. McBride is also co-editor of “The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century.”
No licensing board sets standards for journalists to adhere to, unlike many professions. Instead, its ethics grow “from the bottom,” and thus have evolved in that way, too, McBride observed. Consumers of news then have those ethics as guiding principles that undergird the delivery of their news. With fairness and accuracy at the center of journalism’s mission, the standards — core values — that grew out of the common 20th century practice involved truth-telling, independence (from advertisers) and the minimization of harm.
Story by 2014 Fellow Nicole Raz | Photos by Ellie Van Houtte
The numbers of women working in tech are low, and two JAWS panelists say the media’s coverage of women in tech isn’t doing much to give those numbers a boost.
“In journalism, people focus on catchy titles that are more controversial and potentially result in more people clicking, but a lot of those are negative,” said Alaina Percival, an adviser at CodePath, a mobile developer school for engineers.
Headlines like “Tech companies haven’t gotten past sexism 1.0” and “Why women leave tech: It’s the culture, not because ‘math is hard’” aren’t helping.
Story by 2014 Fellow Elaine Rita Mendus
Radio journalism is an art, and there has never been an easier opportunity to get involved because of podcasting. At JAWS CAMP 2014, radio journalism and podcast experts Gina Delvac and Katie McMurran went over a variety of information, from finding equipment, recording, editing software suggestions, and even distribution methods.
The session began with discussion over recording equipment. Delvac and McMurran suggested using XLR microphones similar to those used in normal recording studios, as well as headphones.
Story by 2014 Fellow Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil | Photos by Ellie Van Houtte
Many journalists get into the profession to make a difference – but where the rubber hits the road is in execution and having freedom to pursue data analysis and spending time with sources, according to panelists at JAWS Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) in La Quinta, California.
Susan Smith Richardson, editor and publisher of The Chicago Reporter, said that social justice journalism is “a lot bigger” than just wanting to make a difference – “we all want to make a difference with our stories,” she said – but also examines structural inequalities in society, whether through data or human stores with the aim of trying to change policies or practices.
Story by 2014 Fellow Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil | Photo by Ellie Van Houtte
In 1997, Melissa Ludtke traveled to China and adopted a baby who had been abandoned by her birth parents as a result of the country’s one-child policy. For the next 16 years Ludtke raised her daughter Maya in her home state of Massachusetts. When Maya was almost 17 years old, she returned to China to find out what life would have been like had she grown up in the rural countryside.
Ludtke, the first-ever JAWS entreprenurial fellow, sent a team of bilingual videographers along with Maya and her orphanage crib neighbor Jennie to document their journey – and the results are her forthcoming iBook, “Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoods.” Ludtke shared the process of creating the interactive iBook on Nov. 2.
Story by 2014 Fellow Catherine Green | Photos by Ellie Van Houtte
“We’re in an era of chaos and opportunity in journalism — we’re going to talk about the opportunity part.”
It was a fitting way for Dawn Garcia to kick off Saturday’s Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) panel on fellowships, awards and collaborative projects: the “opportunity part” is what drives her role as managing director of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships program at Stanford University. Garcia corralled a chat with Michelle Holmes, VP of content for Alabama Media Group, Claudia Nuñez, founder and director of Migrahack, and Alison Fitzgerald, a reporter at the Center for Public Integrity.
Story by 2014 Fellow Catherine Green | Photo by Hilary Sloane
Don’t believe the hype. Readers still care about high-quality news online, especially from the outlets they use regularly, according to key findings in Wayne State University professor Fred Vultee’s 2011 study sponsored by the American Copy Editors Society (ACES).
“People aren’t going to pay for your crap if it’s crap,” says Teresa Schmedding, ACES president and deputy managing editor for the Daily Herald in Chicago. According to Vultee’s research, readers care more about grammar than style.
Story by 2014 Fellow Melissa Ludtke | Photos by Ellie Van Houtte
JAWS on Friday honored the hard-fought and enduring achievements of women, who were among its founding board of directors by establishing a fund committed to continuing the progress their actions set in motion. The JAWS Legacy Fund honors its formidable founding directors and supports continued JAWS programming.
Story by 2014 Fellow Marina Villeneuve | Photos by Ellie Van Houtte
When online media company Gawker Media approached then-magazine editor Anna Holmes to start a women’s website in late 2006, Holmes says she was up for it – but scared.
“Maybe when you get fed up, you get more fearless,” said Holmes, speaking at the Saturday keynote dinner at the annual Journalism and Women Symposium Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) in Palm Springs, California. “But I wasn’t without fear.”
It was at a time when nobody Holmes knew was moving from print to Web, and when her work in celebrity and fashion reporting was paying the rent, but failing to satisfy her personally.
“It was very scary for me, and I felt very, very fearful,” she said.
Story by 2014 Fellow Lindsey Anderson | Photos by Ellie Van Houtte | Video by Macrina Newhouse
*Update 12/18/14: Yahoo News reported that Linda is retiring on Dec. 22
A love affair with Elvis Presley got Linda Deutsch her start in journalism.
Deutsch fell madly in love with Presley when she was a 12-year-old in New Jersey. Officials at Elvis headquarters gave her a list of potential fan club members members, and Deutsch began one of the first Elvis fan clubs in the United States. She used her Smith Corona typewriter to write a club newspaper, charging $1 in membership dues in the U.S. and $2 overseas.
“This was so much a prediction of what my career would become in a way,” Deutsch said Saturday at the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) annual Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP).
Story by 2014 Fellow Marina Villeneuve | Photo by Kira Zalan
The inverted pyramid, a model made popular by newswire services and long taught by journalism schools, stresses putting the most important who-what-where-when-why information up at the top of stories. Though this model has long allowed editors to easily cut off less relevant chunks of information near the end, it can be dull, clunky and lose readers before they get to the end, according to a JAWS panel Oct. 30.
Rather, journalists who undertake investigative projects should approach writing such pieces thematically, said SUNY-Albany journalism professor Rosemary Armao.
Story by 2014 Fellow Suzanne Cosgrove | Photos by Ellie Van Houtte | Video by Macrina Newhouse
In a wide-ranging interview Saturday, former executive editor of The New York Times Jill Abramson talked about her upcoming startup project and said she does not spend much time dwelling on the reason she was fired from The New York Times.
At a breakfast with about 200 JAWS members and the annual Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) in La Quinta, California, Abramson said that before she was fired by Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., she was in discussions with CEO Mark Thompson and Sulzberger about her salary, which in 2011 was less than her predecessor’s salary in 2004.
Story by 2014 Fellow Lindsey Anderson | Photos by 2014 Fellow Shondiin Silversmith
Piles of documents. Endless source lists. Months and months of research. Investigative reporting projects can be overwhelming, but they don’t have to be disorganized.
“Journalism is hard. It’s really hard,” said Rosemary Armao, a professor of journalism at the University at Albany, SUNY during a day-long Journalism and Women Symposium Confer