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.
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.
You may have noticed there’s an election going on.
Many of us are covering it at some level; most of us are talking about it.
JAWS members Jodi Enda at CNN, Lynn Sweet at the Chicago Sun-Times, Caitlyn Huey-Burns and others are out on the campaign trail. Joanne Bamberger edited the book “Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox” and is often seen commenting on the election (though not seen often enough). Meanwhile JAWS board member Angela Greiling Keane continues to stalk, I mean, cover the current president for Bloomberg News. Even I have been to see Donald Trump in New Mexico and Colorado.
Give a little? Or a little more?
We’re still a ways from our crowdfunding goal to bring 13 wonderful women to CAMP as fellows.
If you haven’t already donated, consider kicking in a little (though we’d take a lot too!). If each member kicked in just $10 this week, we’ll meet our fundraising goal of $15,000.
I’ve already asked my friends and family to donate (and many of them have, including a few who surprised me!) via email, Twitter and Facebook. I’d urge you to seek out help from your friends too.
In the meantime, today I’ll be going to our crowdfunding site to give just a little bit more! I hope you’ll join me!
On another matter, someone needs to replace me.
Not immediately, I’ll be JAWS president through CAMP 2017, and my successor will take over as president-elect this October.
But we are also looking to build the board of the future, so we’re seeking nominations that the membership can vote on in October, with terms to begin after our Sunday morning membership meeting at CAMP.
October may be months away, but the JAWS board and staff are working tirelessly to ensure that our annual Conference and Mentoring Program, aka CAMP, is filled with great programming.
One of my favorite highlights of CAMP is meeting our fellows, from young women in the early years of our career to longtime JAWS members, making a transition to new ways of doing journalism.
We will again have 13 fellows this year, with one – the Diversity Fellowship – fully funded thanks to a grant from the Financial Times.
We all want to succeed in our careers.
And JAWS is helping us succeed in a variety of ways, formally and informally.
One of the best examples is our recent leadership training sessions in Chicago and Washington, D.C., with Jill Geisler and her team of coaches.
Jill shared her solid lessons gleaned from experience as a broadcast newsroom manager; holding a masters degree in leadership; working at Poynter Institute guiding their leadership and management programs; holding the Bill Plante chair in leadership and media integrity at Loyola University in Chicago.
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.
When it comes to inclusion, we can all do a better job.
It’s a lot like the constant learning that comes with being a journalist.
At the just-concluded NICAR 2016 convention in Denver, I co-facilitated a conversation session sponsored by Knight-Mozilla OpenNews on “Inclusion Solutions.”
We had an excellent discussion, with plenty of ideas. Many of those ideas don’t need managers to make them happen. They just need us to be more aware and supportive of our colleagues.
How often do you check out the JAWS member directory?
I check it out pretty frequently, looking for JAWdesses in Colorado, New Mexico or the next place i’m visiting. Sometimes I look for women with a reporting or editing specialty. Other times, I’m looking for people in specific journalism groups to help me make connections
We moved to a more robust members-only site two years ago, and I’m hoping we can begin to take more advantage of its features in 2016.
As 2015 draws to a close it’s time to look ahead.
Your Journalism and Women Symposium board of directors is planning some exciting events for 2016.
Of course, there’s the Conference and Mentoring Program, aka CAMP, which will be at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, Va., Oct. 28-30. Camp co-chairs Justine Griffin and Marina Villeneuve are already putting together what we know will be a great program of keynote speakers, panel and fun times.
Now is the time to share your ideas with them. The guidelines are here, while the form to submit a panel or speaker idea is here. Your participation is what makes our annual conference such a wonderful experience, so please share!
It’s the giving time of year.
Time to focus on what matters in our lives and be grateful for all we have – family, friends, home, health, careers. Time to give of ourselves to others.
I hope that Journalism and Women Symposium is on the list of what you’re thankful for. I know JAWS is on my list.
I’m thankful for the women journalists around the country who are my friends because of JAWS. Thankful that I can email or call them if I have a career question. Thankful that if I’m traveling, we can get together to share shoptalk. Thankful for CAMP, which is always an invigorating weekend where we add new friends to the old. Thankful for our email list where we can ask questions, draw on the expertise of others, share job posts, share the work we’re proud of.
Why I love JAWS:
Friendships old and new.
Shared wisdom, formal and informal.
Support in a noncompetitive environment.
Costumes, karaoke and dancing!
We left CAMP (aka the Conference and Mentoring Program) rejuvenated.
We gained new journalism knowledge (so much I can’t even summarize it), serendipitous connections, memories of Glacier National Park and more to take home with us.
I know from those of you I’ve met in person and from reading posts from so many more on the listserv, that this is not a group of women shy about speaking up.
We recently sent out a general membership survey. This is the first one in over two years, and we need to hear from you. The survey gives you an opportunity to share what you want from JAWS, and it also seeks to gather information about our membership that will help the new board serve you better and evaluate how well we are working to fulfill our mission.
And that’s not your only opportunity to speak up.
I’m very pleased to announce that Aminda “Mindy” Marqués Gonzalez has joined the Journalism and Women Symposium Advisory Board.
Mindy is executive editor and vice president for news at The Miami Herald, the first Hispanic in that position. She started at the paper as an intern, proof to all you interns reading this that you can work your way up. I met Mindy when she interrupted her career at the Herald to serve as Miami bureau chief for People magazine, but she returned to the Herald in 2007 and served as multimedia editor, Sunday/Features editor and managing editor before being named to her current post.
Her passion was contagious. Sitting on stage after the Washington, D.C., Feb. 14 screening of “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” Marlene Sanders recalled both the battles she had fought in newsrooms against sexism and the battles she covered on streets full of protesting feminists. She told us that it had been a constant struggle to convince her editors to cover the women’s movement, but she persisted and succeeded and talks about it in the film.
Marlene Sanders was a true pioneer. She died at age 84 on July 14.
As The New York Times reported, Marlene started her career with ABC and later worked for CBS. She was a “first” more than a few times throughout her career, a role model and inspiration for so many women broadcasters.
JAWS member Lynn Povich had this to share when asked about Marlene: “It’s just a small but meaningful thing,” she emailed me.
In response to the recent Tim Hunt immolation, I asked myself: Do co-workers fall in love with you? Or vice versa? Do you cry when criticized?
Well actually, yes.
I met Steve when we were working in the AP bureau together in San Francisco. We will celebrate our 38th anniversary next month. As office romances go, it wasn’t particularly torrid. We always seemed to work different shifts (the joys of the AP’s 24/7 scheduling) and after a few months he left to work at a local paper. I thought we had successfully hidden the relationship from colleagues, but they later told me they all knew. (No reporter wants to admit to being scooped).
While I can’t recall a specific instance, I know there were times in the early years of my career when I came close to tears if not actually cried while being criticized. This would happen when I felt the criticism was unfair and that I was powerless against my supervisor.
This month I attended Georgetown’s commencement and had the honor of hooding our journalism graduate students. It didn’t take long. Not many journalism degrees were handed out in comparison with degrees in public relations, sports management, real estate and other fields where job prospects are more secure.
That’s why I am so impressed with the passion and dedication of those students who choose to follow careers in journalism. And I was pleased to see several JAWS members among this year’s grads (shout out to Brittany Bremer, Heather Curtis and Julie Gilkison. Also Nicole Lewis, in absentia).
It is my hope that the JAWS network will be there for them and for all of us at every stage in our careers to provide support, resources and perhaps most importantly friendship.