Poynter conference focuses on the future of women in journalism

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By Megan Kamerick

An impressive group of nearly 70 women representing the best of journalism gathered at the Poynter Institute in May to talk about the past, present and future of women in the profession.

The focus of the gathering was a new book, The Edge of Change: Women in the 21st  JAWS was well represented at the conference. Past president Dawn Garcia and I attended, as did Geneva, Arlene and Peg; membership director Kat Rowlands; and members Jo-Ann Huff Albers and Jill Geisler.

The two-day event launched with Katharine Weymouth, publisher of The Washington Post and granddaughter of Katharine Graham. Poynter president Karen Dunlap, Poynter president, interviewed Katharine in a session taped for C-SPAN:

“It was a brilliant model,” Katharine said of the traditional print media. “But we have to have a smaller cost structure. We will be where the reader wants us to be.”

Her grandmother probably would not have used an iPad, Katharine said, but she often said to do good, you must do well.

Karen asked about the controversial Post attempt to create salons last year
where reporters and government officials would be accessible for networking at prices starting at $25,000. Katharine admitted they were her idea.

“I made a terrible mistake,” Katharine said. “But we have got to be able to make
mistakes. … I’m sorry it happened.”

When asked about achieving balance between work and family, she said there is no balance.

“You are flying by the seat of your pants and you feel guilty all the time. And you’re
just grateful you get away with what you can get away with,” she said.

Katharine also fielded a number of questions about diversity and the outlook for young journalists entering the field.

A complete transcript of the interview is available on Poynter’s website at http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=183803.*