Help women journalists start strong in 2020

By E.J. Graff

JAWS needs you. But before I tell you what we need, let me tell you why.

I’m on the board this year because I believe in JAWS — in you. JAWS members are my friends, my colleagues, my go-to wise women. You have gotten me jobs, given me leads (and swag!), taught me skills, helped me grieve over rejected work, poured me wine when I needed to whine, challenged my assumptions, and so much more. And JAWS supporters are heroes for helping to keep this vibrant community alive.

I’m on the board because as Dorothy B. Gilliam and Mary Annette Pember said at CAMP this year, we are truth tellers — and scrappy ones. We work together to help each other, to change the world, and to live up to our mission: support women in journalism and work toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society. 

I’m on the board because in 2019 we faced challenges and found new ways to grow. I felt that in Williamsburg, Va., at the most powerful Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) I’ve ever attended, where we heard from the trailblazers above. I felt that at our Diversity Dialogues, where we evaluated our efforts and imagined a more equitable and inclusive JAWS future. I felt that from last week’s year-end letter from JAWS President Mira Lowe, which outlined our accomplishments and plans.

Now we need you. Perhaps more than any other group I know, JAWS is member-driven: Whatever we want to do together, we need you involved. So please —

  • Respond to the call for volunteers you’ll get in the new year. We’re very serious about needing you on committees and task forces. Whatever your skills, whatever amount of time you have — put it to work with JAWS.

  • Join — or renew your membershipThe more active members that we have, the stronger our community becomes.

  • Give a tax-deductible year-end giftwhether that’s $5 or $50 or $500. We’ll put it to work immediately — changing the face of media.

We’re so grateful that, in response to #GivingTuesday, you donated more than $6,500 to help move JAWS forward.

Now we need your help to reach our two goals: raising $10K by Dec. 31 — from at least 100 donors. When you do, you’re helping to: 

  • Train women journalists, whether entry-level or experienced, whether freelance or  staff, whether print, broadcast, or online. (Info coming in the new year!)

  • Support your fellow (and future) JAWS members with guidance, fellowships, job leads, access to funding opportunities, and more. Since 2017, we’ve been offering a discount on AIR memberships. We’re working on expanding those partnerships. And we want to set up a JAWS emergency fund to help one another through hard times.

  • Advocate for women journalists as we continue to spotlight women journalists, advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion and speak out against industry harm.

If you believe in JAWS too — please — give what you can, in time or funds or talent.

And thank you. Thank you for being my friends and my inspirations, for being JAWS members, supporters and funders, for everything you do — and for everything we will keep doing together.

So warmly,

 E.J.

E.J. Graff
Deputy Vice President, JAWS