Check out your 2017-2018 JAWS board candidates

News, Recent News l

By Sheila Solomon, Board Secretary and Nominating Committee Chair

What an election we’re going to have this year!

The candidates running to join the JAWS Board of Directors are a diverse group ethnically, geographically and age-wise. Their experience runs the gamut from freelance reporters to newsroom staffers and public broadcasting leaders. At least one or two are past Fellows, have been regional leaders or have served on JAWS committees. They’re all prior CAMPers and want to continue the rewarding work of representing and working with all of you.

We’ll be electing two officers for two-year terms—vice president and secretary—and at least five directors. We’re also filling the one-year term of our former treasurer.

Voting (all online) begins Saturday, Oct. 20 and ends Saturday, Oct. 28. Look for more details — including voter eligibility, the slate and how to vote — next month. Bylaws can be viewed here.

It’s exciting to have such a strong group of nominees. Keep reading to find out who the candidates are and what makes them want to join the board.

The nominees are:

Lindsey Anderson

Title and place of employment: Freelance journalist based in Kansas City, Kansas
Years as a JAWS member: 4
Number of CAMPS attended (including Hot Springs): 3
Why you are running for the board: I am running for the board to give back to an organization that has given me so much, from a supportive, inspiring network to great resources and friendships.
Co-organizing CAMP this year made me realize that I would like to be more deeply involved in JAWS and that I can give even more time to a wonderful organization. Planning CAMP is tied to every JAWS initiative, from fundraising to fellowships, and I want to be part of the group of women who are leading the organization and making CAMP and JAWS even better every year.
Committee(s) you want to serve on (membership, communications, mentoring, legacy, regional groups, fundraising/development, CAMP): I would like to continue to help organize CAMP by serving on the conference committee. I’m also interested in serving on the fundraising/development committee to help expand and diversify JAWS’s funding. Planning CAMP this year and reading fellowship applications has affirmed the importance of JAWS, as well as highlighted how much more can be done with additional funds.
JAWS has grown tremendously in recent years, and additional fundraising will only help to diversify the organization — such as diversifying panels through micro scholarships for speakers — and prepare programming that meets our needs in an evolving industry and world.
Name committees you’ve served on: I’ve served on the fellowship committee for the past three years, helping select new fellows to attend CAMP each year. Reading fellowship applications is always a high point of my year. The applicants’ talent and enthusiasm is inspiring. You can feel their hunger to be a part of JAWS and are reminded of how much an organization that supports and bolsters women journalists is needed. I was so grateful to find JAWS four years ago, and have received invaluable guidance and formed lasting friendships in the years since.
How you’ve contributed to JAWS: I am one of the co-organizers of this year’s CAMP, along with Marina Villeneuve. Together, we have requested pitches for panel ideas; evaluated proposals with the help of the CAMP committee; guided panel organizers in planning their sessions; recruited keynote speakers, tech experts and plenary session leaders; written blog posts about CAMP; researched Sunday activities; and regularly briefed the JAWS board on how CAMP planning is progressing.
How you hope to contribute in the future: JAWS is a wonderful organization that has helped so many women become the amazing journalists they are today. I hope to help expand JAWS’s reach by growing fundraising, enabling our organization to serve even more women across the globe. I would like to continue to help with CAMP, as well as support local JAWS chapters through programming suggestions and event ideas to help members stay active in between conferences. As a board member, I hope to help guide and form an important organization during a time of changing journalism.
Anderson can be reached at lindsey.anderson.m@gmail.com

Emily DeRuy

Title and place of employment: Higher Education Reporter, Bay Area News Group (Mercury News and East Bay Times), San Jose and Oakland, Calif.
Years as a JAWS member: 3.5
Number of CAMPS attended (including Hot Springs): 2
Why you are running for the board: I’ve met incredible mentors and learned so much through JAWS, and I would like to be part of the team that makes sure as many women in journalism have access to the organization’s resources as possible.
Committee(s) you want to serve on: I am open to serving wherever I can be most helpful, but particularly interested in membership, mentoring, regional groups and fundraising/development.
Name any prior offices you’ve held in JAWS: D.C. regional co-captain
Name committees you’ve served on: Helped mentoring committee match mentors/mentees
How you’ve contributed to JAWS: As D.C. co-captain, I helped organize monthly gatherings, including coordinating joint events with other journalism organizations, recruited new members, and communicated regularly with members about JAWS news/opportunities.
How you hope to contribute in the future: I’d like to find new ways to engage JAWS members who do not currently actively participate in the organization, and work with regional teams to reach out to women—particularly young women—who may not realize JAWS can be a resource for them.
DeRuy can be reached at emilylizd@gmail.com.

Sarah Garrecht Gassen

Title and place of employment: Editorial Page Editor and apprentice/intern program manager at the Arizona Daily Star;  Adjunct faculty, University of Arizona School of Journalism in Tucson, Arizona.
Years as a JAWS member: 4
Number of CAMPS attended (including Hot Springs): 3
Why you are running for the board: In JAWS I’ve found incredible support, camaraderie and a sense of being rooted in a thriving community of dynamic, thoughtful and talented women journalists. I want to do everything I can to spread the JAWS message, particularly to women entering our field.
I’d like to help JAWS expand our reach to young journalists, while working to deepen the diversity within our organization in a way that extends to disability, economics, culture, geography, age, gender, LGBTQ status and career experiences.
Committee(s) you want to serve on: Mentoring, regional groups, membership
Name committees you’ve served on: Communications Committee in 2015.
How you’ve contributed to JAWS:  I’m the Regional Captain for Arizona (we’re a new regional group). I’ve been a mentor to several JAWS members and I edited with fellows on their blog posts during CAMPs in Montana and Palm Springs.
How you hope to contribute in the future: I will continue to mentor and support the personal and professional development of JAWS members,  will actively recruit members and work to expand and energize our Arizona Regional Group.
Gassen can be reached at sgassen@cox.net.

Jane Isay

Title and place of employment: Self-employed writer in New York
Years a JAWS member: 13
Number of CAMPS attended (including Hot Springs): 9
Why you are running for the board: I love JAWS and believe it’s important to support journalists, especially now.
Committee(s) you want to serve on: Legacy
Name committees you’ve served on: Mentoring committee and Legacy committee
How you’ve contributed to JAWS: One term on the board, yearly presentations about book publishing, financial support.
How you hope to contribute in the future: All of the above.
Isay can be reached at janeisay@gmail.com

Lottie Joiner

Title and place of employment: Interim editor-in-chief The Crisis Magazine, Washington, D.C.
Years as JAWS member: 3
Number of CAMPS attended (including Hot Springs): 2
Why you are running for the board: I am running for the JAWS board because the organization has tremendously enhanced my life both personally and professionally. Professionally, I’ve learned about new opportunities such as fellowships and freelance writing jobs. I’ve witnessed healthy debate on our listserve and participated in webinars to learn new tools and improve my craft. Personally, I’ve had the honor of meeting talented and committed women journalists who inspire and encourage me to stay in the game. And as the JAWS D.C. regional captain, I’ve honed my leadership and presentation skills as well as made some valuable friendships.
As a result, I am running for the board to “have a seat at the table.” I would like to work collaboratively with others to help bring this same experience of networking, professional development and friendship to existing and prospective members. I also bring a unique perspective of someone who works for a small, resource-challenged, minority-owned publication with a focus on marginalized and underserved communities.
Committee(s) you want to serve on: Membership, regional groups
Name any prior offices you’ve held in JAWS: I am the D.C. Regional Captain
How you’ve contributed to JAWS:  It’s been an honor to serve as the JAWS D.C. Regional Captain. In this role, I have an opportunity to meet and interact with our members monthly. I recruit volunteers to coordinate our monthly gatherings and see them flourish as leaders. I’ve also coordinated meet-ups, including our holiday gathering and JAWS at NABJ.
Our gatherings are not only about networking, but offer members a safe, nonjudgmental space to be themselves. We discuss the challenges of being women journalists, but we also share the joys of life outside our professions. There’s laughter and encouragement. I’ve seen our members bond through activities such as movie night, yoga, books and browse, and escape to the lake.
Financially I’ve contributed to JAWS by donating to our fundraisers for CAMP and donating through Amazon purchases.
How you hope to contribute in the future: I hope to contribute my time, energy and enthusiasm for JAWS. I hope to inform others about the benefits of JAWS and encourage more participation in our activities.
Joiner can be reached at msjoiner@gmail.com.

Meredith Jordan

Title and place of employment: Independent journalist/ author
Years as a JAWS member: 5
Number of CAMPS attended (including Hot Springs): 4
Why you are running for the board: JAWS was incredibly helpful to me as a young journalist and I’d like to give back. I was an active member in the 1990s and JAWS connected me to friends and mentors.Eventually I started working in business journalism and was sent to other conferences. All of it was good, but nothing matched the inspiration that came from JAWS.
Two-plus decades later, I’ve worked at news  organizations large and small and written a book. I’d like to help ensure the powerful individual JAWS experience remains in place as the larger organization grows and expands.
Committee(s) you want to serve on: Membership, communications, development
Name committees you’ve served on: I’ve worked on the SPJ awards committee and serve on the Cultural Commission of Rancho Mirage.
How you’ve contributed to JAWS: I was involved with a silent auction in the ‘90s.
How you hope to contribute in the future: In any way I can.
Jordan can be reached at sailorscribe@me.com.

Megan Kamerick

Title and place of employment: Morning Edition Host, KUNM-FM in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is half-time, so I also freelance for New Mexico PBS as a correspondent, and for various outlets, including NPR, a national podcast called The Bottom Line, Santa Fe Trend Magazine, New Mexico Magazine, etc.
Years as a JAWS member: About 15
Number of CAMPS attended (including Hot Springs): At least 13
Why you are running for the board: I believe in JAWS’ mission of fostering the growth and development of women journalists and also seeking to correct the ongoing imbalances in our news coverage, our news leadership and the number of women who are sources in stories. I am a former board member and past president and this organization has been invaluable to me, personally and professionally. I would love to see it continue growing and attracting more members from across the country and from different outlets.
I have watched the organization bring in increasing numbers of women of color as well, and I want to help build on those efforts. I want us to ensure we are serving the needs of our members, which change almost daily as our industry convulses, shifts and remakes itself. We can be an important source of support but also advocate for change when appropriate.
Committee(s) you want to serve on: I’m interested in Mentoring and in fundraising.
Name any prior offices you’ve held in JAWS: Secretary, president-elect, VP of membership, president, past president
Name committees you’ve served on: Fundraising, membership
How you’ve contributed to JAWS: I’ve contributed financially. I’ve helped on CAMP programming. I’ve been a regional captain. I’ve served on the board and as president. I also brought the idea of having us outsource some duties to SPJ as we’ve gone through staffing shifts in the last few years.
How you hope to contribute in the future: Helping the organization plot its future so it remains vibrant and relevant to members, who face increasing financial and career pressures. I will continue to contribute financially as much as I can. If I can help brainstorm about fundraising, I would like to help us get on a firmer financial footing. I’d like to foster mentoring among members, those who are young and those not so young. We have a lot to teach one another, no matter our age.
Kamerick can be reached at megankamerick@gmail.com.

Mira Lowe

Title and place of employment: Director, Innovation News Center at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Years as a JAWS member: I first became a member in 2011.
Number of CAMPS attended (including Hot Springs): 2
Why you are running for the board: I am running because I believe my career’s work in newspapers, magazines, cable TV, digital and academia makes me uniquely qualified to serve on the board that seeks to promote and foster the growth of women journalists across all platforms. My collective experience is one of reinvention and resilience in an ever-evolving profession. I would like to help others navigate professional change with the future of news.
I also have the recognition, relationships and reach in our industry to raise the profile of the organization, further its mission and benefit its members. I’m a digital leader, an experienced manager, a team builder and a dedicated mentor. I want to utilize those qualifications to advance the organization and its important mission.
Committee(s) you want to serve on: Communications, membership, mentoring.
How you’ve contributed to JAWS: I’ve been a supporter of JAWS via my membership and attendance to CAMP, and a champion of individual JAWdesses over the years. I’ve actively promoted the organization to emerging journalists and been an avid follower of JAWS’ programming and pursuits.
How you hope to contribute in the future: I would like to help build upon the 2012-2017 strategic plan, with a focus on innovation, leadership and training. As news director and executive editor of a public media newsroom at the University of Florida, I help train the next generation of journalists to inform, engage and serve diverse communities while innovating in the field of journalism. I would extend that training to the JAWS membership.
As a JAWS board member, I would focus on advocating for job opportunities for women at all levels across all platforms; and engage other organizations to build new alliances and strategic partnerships to affirm our vision and fuel our aspirations.
Lowe can be reached at miralowe@gmail.com.

Nicole (Nikki) Raz

Title and place of employment: Assistant Business Editor and Business Reporter at the Las Vegas Review-Journal in Las Vegas
Years as a JAWS member: 7
Number of CAMPS attended (including Hot Springs): 3
Why you are running for the board: I am running for the board because I have been unofficially on the board for a few years.
Officer position(s) that interest you (vice president, treasurer, secretary):  Fellowships Committee Chair
Committee(s) you want to serve on: Fellowships Committee
Name any prior offices you’ve held in JAWS: Fellowship Committee Co-Chair
Name committees you’ve served on: Fellowships Committee (unofficially)
How you’ve contributed to JAWS: I have pitched event ideas to regional groups, started a regional group in Las Vegas, have helped to bring my former newsroom (and am in the process of bringing my current newsroom) to be more aware of gender disparities in sourcing.
I have also recruited many other new members, and I continue to actively promote the group and JAWS activities. I have also helped to run the fellowships committee for the past two years.
How you hope to contribute in the future: I hope to keep giving back as much as I can.
Raz can be reached at nikki.raz@gmail.com

Rachel Sams

Title and place of employment: Editor-in-chief, Albuquerque Business First, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Years as a JAWS member: 7
Number of CAMPS attended (including Hot Springs): 6
Why you are running for the board: This is a tough time in which to be a woman journalist and leader. JAWS has been an incredible resource for me as I pursued that path and as I travel it. I’ve built a team and am leading a digital-first newsroom. I’ve also spent the past three years as a board member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter, two of those as membership director.
I’d love to contribute my experience growing an organization to JAWS, and it would be an honor to have the opportunity to do so.
Committee(s) you want to serve on: mentoring, membership
How you’ve contributed to JAWS: Served as a mentor to rising journalists/managers at three CAMPs and continued mentorship with two beyond CAMP; helped with silent auction prep at Burlington CAMP; donations, including to fellowships for journalists to attend CAMP.
How you hope to contribute in the future: I want to contribute my skills to grow JAWS’ membership by making more women journalists aware of how JAWS can help them and enrich their personal and professional lives, and to help JAWS continue to grow stronger as an organization and evolve with its members’ needs.
Sams can be reached at rachelbsams@gmail.com.

Melissa Batchelor Warnke

Title and place of employment: Contributing opinion writer, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles; Magazine writer, Independent, Los Angeles
Years as a JAWS member: 3
Number of CAMPS attended (including Hot Springs): 2
Why you are running for the board: Being a JAWS emerging journalist fellow in 2015 had a profoundly positive impact on my life and career. I left JAWS camp in Whitefish beyond inspired, with new journalist friends and mentors and so many other women whom I wanted to learn more about. I entered journalism in 2014 at the age of 26, and felt like I was coming in blind to my second career. (Until then, I’d primarily worked in and on human rights and minority protection issues in Africa.) When my first editor asked me for my “clip,” I had to Google the term; when my second editor asked me for a stronger “nut graf”… yep, same. The vote of confidence that JAWS placed in me and the support they offered me at that insecure, floundering time was absolutely invaluable.
From 2015–2017, I attended Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where I studied investigations. I couldn’t afford to get to JAWS camp 2016 and I didn’t have time to become more involved in our community (I worked throughout grad school), but I still got so much support and joy from our online community. While I was a largely-silent member of the listserv, I pored over the work, ethical quandaries and interesting conversations our JAWS family shared there.
When I graduated Berkeley in May 2017, I moved to Los Angeles and settled into my current role as a half-time digital strategist and writer for LA Times Opinion and a half-time freelance magazine writer. Without the concentrated support of my Berkeley j-family, I started feeling a little stir-crazy and isolated, particularly as I mostly work from home. While my male editors at LAT are among the strongest sources of support in my life, there were conversations I longed to have and networks I longed to build with female reporters. I am so looking forward to reconnecting with our JAWS family in-person at CAMP in Hot Springs.
When I saw the call for board members, I quickly realized what a joy and honor it would be for me to become more involved in building JAWS and to serve a group that has served me so well.
Committee(s) you want to serve on: Mentoring, legacy, regional groups
How you’ve contributed to JAWS: Because of the obligations I had during graduate school, as detailed above, I haven’t yet made the kind of contributions I’d like to make to JAWS.
How you hope to contribute in the future: I’m especially interested in helping to further develop our mentoring programs and regional groups — because I believe female reporters need one-on-one, in-depth, real-life connections in order to truly thrive.
So much of the time we put on a happy face because we’re trying to build our careers and seem like we’re effortlessly killing it, but we know there are endless stressors in this line of work. By building in-person relationships that have trust as a central concept, we can share these stressors and help each other find ways to address them. For freelancers, this is critical. For staffers, there are issues you don’t feel comfortable sharing within your newsroom, or need an outside ear on.
very city has such a different media culture — San Francisco is different from Oklahoma City, New York is different from Los Angeles, Omaha is different from Cleveland. JAWS women who have been involved in a much deeper way than myself have done a superb job building up these regional groups. As a member of the board, I would work hard to see where the board can better support the great work they are already doing. I am a strong listener and intend to ask lots of questions, rather than approaching our regional groups with preconceived notions.
Traditionally, mentorship has been about senior women connecting to greener women — and that is incredibly helpful. But there is also an opportunity for us to strengthen and expand the concept of mentorship to be more horizontal; for instance, connecting reporters who have moved from print to audio, across beats, from large cities to smaller markets, or who identify with groups (religious, racial, ethnic, sexual, gender) that are discriminated against in the communities they serve. I’d enjoy being a part of the necessary and already-existent work of building sustained, engaged, personal relationships within our network — the kind of relationships where you can Skype someone or get a coffee when you’re having a work crisis, and don’t feel like you’re being a burden. I am a friendly, kind, and easy-going person; I believe that I naturally excel at building and facilitating these kinds of relationships.
It would be a true honor to serve as a JAWS board member.
Batchelor Warnke can be reached at melissabatchelorwarnke@gmail.com.