The President of the Journalism and Women Symposium, according to the organization bylaws, serves as the chief executive officer of the organization. She directs staff and board members, presides at meetings, appoints committees, signs all written contracts and obligations of the organization, and speaks on behalf of JAWS. The president, most importantly, sets the tone and direction for JAWS.
In 1985, a group of women who had led the fight to achieve equity in newsrooms formed the Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS).
This group’s hope? Create a network of women who support one another, learn new skills and ultimately thrive in the industry.
“It’s never too late to drop your beliefs and let your wounds heal. Instead of wounding others as well.” ― Adam Scythe, Immortals, Vol. II
JAWS is an organization I have been honored to be a part of for many years, not just because it is led by women who broke down newsroom barriers for women but because it has provided me a safe space to vent about being a woman of color in mostly all-white and all-male workplaces for most of my career.
Unfortunately, CAMP was not a safe space for many of us this year.
I truly believe our members share a common vision of promoting equity within the news media and society. Our membership includes many women – of diverse backgrounds – who broke major barriers at the biggest news organizations in the country, fighting for a common good that has benefitted many of us, including me.
Traveling by plane, trains and automobiles to conferences across the country can be exhausting. I know. As I write this column, I am in the midst of my second conference in Austin, Texas. And while I am tired, I’m also exhilarated. I’m exhilarated not just because Austin is a cool place (and the destination for Journalism and Women Symposium’s conference in 2020!), but because I was allowed to reconnect with my inner journalist.
March has been an exciting month for JAWS, starting with our spring board retreat in Oakland, California. We tackled some big issues, including whether to seek funding for an executive director, streamline the site selection process and increase the size of our year-round membership.
As 2017 comes to a close, I want to thank our members and staff for all their hard work.
Your grit and dedication paid off with a successful CAMP, where women of all ages and backgrounds came together in Hot Springs, Ark. to recognize, inspire and grow as women in journalism.
My first time at JAWS camp transformed me.
It was 1993, and I had recently arrived at the San Francisco Chronicle from the Associated Press, where I was lucky enough to learn from Linda Deutsch and other great journalists in Los Angeles.
It’s truly been an honor to serve as president of Journalism and Women Symposium these past two years.
2017 is the year of journalism conferences for me. So far, I’ve been to NICAR, the Collaborative Journalism Summit, INN Days, IRE and SRCCON. Next, I’ll head to ONA, JAWS CAMP (still the best!) and the Agora Engaged Journalism Summit. I’m going to so many conferences because I’m taking a new risk, trying to start […]
The protests and counter-protests in Charlottesville, Va., highlighted, once again, the challenges we face as journalists, particularly when it comes to false equivalency.
As many have noted, there are no two sides to racism.
Racism is wrong.
It was heartening to see SPJ’s ethics chairman write about the false equivalence.
I recently attended the Investigative Reports and Editor (IRE) conference in Phoenix, Ariz., and hosted a JAWS meetup. Among the group were at least two students, current and former board members, past fellows and one future fellow, Chandra Bozelko. There were even two Brennas from Arizona sitting next to each other – Brenna Goth, a fellow at last year’s Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP), and Brenna Bailey, a University of Arizona student member.
We shared stories about work, IRE and, of course, our excitement about attending CAMP.
When it comes to our fellows, a JAWS tradition is raising money to help these young women come to CAMP.
Our annual CAMP is the highlight of the year for Journalism and Women Symposium, and this fall will be no exception.
We have two dynamite keynote speakers, a terrific Fran Lewine interview, a fantastic Sunday morning plenary on implicit bias and plenty more super programming.
One of the coolest things about our CAMP for me is meeting new women journalists – especially our fellows.
Each year, our fellowship committee selects a group of 10 to 14 women who might not otherwise be able to come to CAMP to receive these grants to attend.
This year we’re honored to add the Betsy Wade Legacy Fund Fellowship to the lineup, honoring the first woman copy editor at The New York Times. Wade and her women co-workers sued the Times in the 1970s for equal pay, and their settlement paved the way for better pay and advancement for the women who came after them.
Looking to improve your leadership skills or develop some expertise to get there?
We’re excited that Jill Geisler will once again be offering JAWS members her excellent one-day training seminars this summer in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.
If you’re in or near the Bay Area, put June 24 on your calendar. We’ll be meeting at Stanford for the day, with lunch provided and most likely happy hour at the end of the day.
In New York City, Jill will be at CUNY on July 28, a Friday. Again, a day-long, interactive training with lunch provided and happy hour at the end of the day.
Where should JAWS go in the next five years?
How can our organization better serve our members?
That’s the question your board of directors will be mulling as we meet in Denver next month for our spring board meeting.
It’s time to update our strategic plan, created in 2012 to last through this year. You may read a summary here.
As the new year begins, I’m giving thanks for all those who so kindly donated to our successful end-of-year fund drive.
But we’re especially thankful for Phuong Ly of the Institute for Justice and Journalism. She recently closed the nonprofit and contributed money to several journalism nonprofits, including a generous gift to Journalism and Women Symposium.
Her gift, suggested by former JAWS President Dawn Garcia, will help us in our goal to provide regional training sessions in the year to come.
And that goal is already in motion.
As 2016 comes to a close, I want to offer thanks to everyone who’s done so much for Journalism and Women Symposium this year.
So many people have contributed it would be impossible to name you all.
But you’ve helped JAWS put on another great Conference and Mentoring Program in Roanoke, Va., hold three successful daylong regional training sessions, continue our work of mentoring each other and building relationships and more.
From board members to committee volunteers to trainers and mentors to our great JAWS staff members, your support is invaluable.
Like many of you, I left our Conference and Mentoring Program in Roanoke last month invigorated by great programming, refreshed by seeing friends old and new, and, maybe, a bit overfed!
The job of a working journalist can be a struggle. The pay isn’t always great, the hours are unpredictable and newsrooms have been cut to the bone in the last decade as the media’s business model is dissolved by all that is “free” on the Internet. That struggle is especially true for women and people of color, who are less likely to get the job, the pay raise, the promotion to management.
Starting this fall, the role of leading our fundraising and development efforts is shifting from former JAWS President Katherine Rowlands to current Operations Director Roxanne Foster.
Kat was awarded a JSK Fellowship at Stanford University for 2016-17 and is taking a leave of absence from her editing job at the San Jose Mercury News as well to focus on her project: How we can overcome gender disparities in newsrooms, especially in leadership positions, to more accurately reflect and report on society.
She and Roxanne have been working together on our crowdfunding campaign, annual fund plans, auction, CAMP sponsorships and foundation grant efforts to ensure a smooth transition.
Journalism and Women Symposium is looking for ways to partner with other journalism organizations to provide our members with other opportunities.
One example of that is our recent partnership with the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.
JAWS also has signed on to a recent letter to the White House vowing to fight for more transparency. And we’re also partnering with Society of Professional Journalists’ Open Our Gov campaign.