Work We Do

Member blog post: Pulitzer Prize and JAWS

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MegHeckmanHeadshotBy Meg Heckman, JAWS member

I spent a couple of days last fall in the basement of a library in rural Maine, picking through letters written by two sisters a century ago. I was there at the behest of the Pulitzer Prize organization, researching one of dozens of stories published this year to celebrate the prizes’ centennial.

My task was to find out about Laura Richards and Maude Howe Elliott, the first two women to ever win the Pulitzer. Together, they produced a sweeping biography of their mother, the abolitionist and suffragist Julia Ward Howe. (If that names takes you back to grade school history, it’s probably because she also wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic.) Their accomplishment was, as I noted in the story, especially remarkable given the limited opportunities for women during that time.

Writing about science – Interview with Casey Rentz

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casey_rentzScience journalist Casey Rentz talks about the beauty and perils of covering science as a part of the womanKind video series, whose mission is “to increase the appreciation and recognition of women’s everyday contributions through positive dialogue, thereby challenging perceptions of success and visibility, and furthering the advancement of women in all aspects of society.”

Member blog post: Edie Lederer – 50 years of covering war and peace

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edie_lederer_50th_anniversaryThis article was originally posted in the Connecting Newsletter.

By Linda Deutsch, JAWS member

The byline is familiar to all who read international news: Edith M. Lederer. But to her world of friends and colleagues she is even more well known by her nickname, Edie. As she marks her 50th anniversary with the Associated Press, Edie Lederer may be the longest serving woman reporter in AP history. (This writer put in 48 years).

Member blog post: Think like a freelancer

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picjumbo.com_P1000554Story by Jessica Langlois and Q&A by Elina Shatkin, JAWS members | Photo by Viktor Hanacek

Although the talking points at a recent SoCal JAWS gathering on the business of freelancing were about how to get work and get paid, the strongest takeaway from the afternoon of twenty women swapping tips and horror stories was that independent journalists need a tribe.

Nearly everyone who had worked as a full-time journalist had been laid off at some point—for several veteran L.A. Times staffers the wounds were still fresh—and many were keen to build a personal brand that might offer more job security than legacy outlets.

Others were relatively new to the game, picking up stories on the side of content writing, social media management or teaching work in hopes of landing a coveted staffer or contributing editor gig.

Science writer Linda Marsa, who has been making a living freelancing for 35 years and led the discussion, emphasized the importance of playing up your strengths, developing an area of expertise, understanding how to expand your reach through social media, and networking with other journalists… and pretty much anyone else.