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President's Letters, Recent News l

Whaleyd0e0abDear JAWdesses:

I am proud to tell you all about our commitment to bring another 10 emerging journalists to our annual Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) this year — and to encourage you to spread the word about this tremendous opportunity. Please reach out to people who would not only love the Journalism and Women Symposium experience but who would also bring vitality and fresh contributions to our intimate group.

As a former fellow, I know how important this program is and have made it a priority to maintain during my time as president.

My mentor and longtime JAWdess K.C. Cole first told me about JAWS in 2010. I was a recent Los Angeles transplant fresh from six years as a writer/photographer climber/skier in Jackson, Wyoming. And I was desperate for a community in the city of freeways. K.C. encouraged me to apply to be a JAWS fellow at the CAMP.

JAWS had the resort to itself that year in Texas. I was blown away by the energy and brilliance in the room. Maria Hinjosa gave the keynote. I met Lisa Shepard (then ombudswoman for NPR) in the pool outside my room. I shared a cramped van seat with Heidi Beirich from the Southern Poverty Law Center. And I roomed with Erin Siegal McIntyre, who was working on her future award-winning book manuscript. This was a group that stood for something, I thought. These brave women held keys to the secrets of storytelling and investigating and breaking down stereotypes. And they also knew how to have fun (see: boas, dancing). Each person I talked to was smart and warm. Accessible. I joined JAWS with gusto and have been devoted ever since.

Now as president, I find great honor in guiding new members to JAWS where they can find camaraderie and support: a friend whose boss wouldn’t let her voice her own radio pieces because of her “high voice.” Another friend making the transition to radio after decades in big newspapers. And another friend who is the lone woman of color in her newsroom.

People need JAWS. A new member texted recently to tell me the support she received while at a regional gathering gave her the courage she needed to approach a tough interview subject. What a gift.

Please help JAWS bring emerging journalists into this group we hold dear. People who would not otherwise be able to afford CAMP. People who would not have otherwise found the community they need.

Thank you for your support of women in journalism.

All my best,

Lauren Whaley

President ~ and CAMP 2010 Fellow

*Application information available here.