April 2016: A solution to diversify journalism panels

President's Letters l

It’s time to do something about those all-male panels we keep hearing about, at least in journalism.

Where are the expert women journalists?

They’re in Journalism and Women Symposium, and JAWS is offering a solution to diversify journalism panels.

We’re announcing a resource to those looking for women journalists for panels – a simple form that panel organizers fill out.

Based on information such as location and expertise, JAWS diversity committee chairwoman Amy Stretten and I will search the membership profile database and make suggestions for panelists. If we can’t find the right match, we’ll ask the listserv for help.

Then we’ll reply to the requester with suggestions of women who would fit their panel needs.

Our communication committee, chaired by board members Merrill Perlman and Sarah Shemkus, will be distributing a news release about this new initiative to various journalism-related news outlets. I’ll be sharing it with a list of national journalism organizations.

Amy and I will closely monitor this process to determine if our recommendations are used and following up with JAWS members about their experiences.

We also plan to offer a session at CAMP on how to prepare and succeed when being a panelist. In the meantime, if you’re reluctant to do this sort of thing, take a look at this piece by Melody Kramer.

But we need your help.

Please update your profile in the JAWS members-only area. Make sure your location is up to date, and include your areas of expertise. Also select other journalism groups you belong to.

We hope this new initiative will benefit JAWS members, but more importantly, we hope it will help people eliminate all-male panels.

Read more in our press release.

— Sandra Fish