Interviews with Members

During fall 2010, University of Iowa students (14 female and one male) in Pamela Creedon’s Gender and Mass Media class decided they wanted to learn more about the status of women journalists in the media. They had read nearly three dozen essays from women newspaper journalists, editors and executives in their textbook: “The Edge of Change: Women in the 20th Century Press” published in 2009. The students decided they wanted to learn more about women journalists in all media—not only newspapers.

Michele Weldon

“I had my own newspaper when I was 10 called, The Juvenile Journal. I had 50 subscribers and wrote about family and neighborhood news in my monthly newsletter. I always wanted to be a writer and thought that journalism would be a great career. I followed Brenda Starr in the comics and liked Lois Lane better than Superman in the TV show.”

Mallary Tenore

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a journalist. One of my favorite books growing up was ‘Harriet the Spy.’ I’d often pretend that I was Harriet and, with my notebook in hand, I’d act as the neighborhood ‘spy.’ If a car was speeding down the street, I wrote it down in my notebook.”

Lisen Stromberg

“I chose to be the kind of journalist that can address social issues and can shape opinion. I am not a reporter or investigative journalists because I want to be able to expound on the pressing issues facing our world. This is why I choose to be a columnist, and essayist and a feature-writer.”

Andrea Stone

“Jill Abramson is editor of The New York Times and Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post and Tina Brown of Newsweek/The Daily Beast head two of the most important digital news sites. There are as many or more women war correspondents as men and women like Judy Bautista at the NY Times are making inroads into sports reporting. So I am optimistic about women’s roles.”

Jackie Spinner

“Being a woman in the Middle East can be an advantage because as a Western woman you can cross traditional boundaries and interview both men and women. My male colleagues don’t get the kind of access to women that I do.”

Peggy Simpson

“I liked to write but the real motivation to become a journalist was listening to NBC’s Pauline Frederick on NBC Nightly News, from the United Nations. The quarter-hour NBC radio show came on before or after my mom’s favorite radio soap opera — and I listened to news from the 7th grade on.”

Katherine Rowlands

“For good and bad, I am wired into the news and the office 24/7 with my blackberry always at my fingertips — a far cry from the early days of calling it quits and heading home after finishing my City Council story.”

Bonnie Rollins

“The basic core of journalism yesterday, today and tomorrow is the objective search for truth through gathering raw information from interviews, databases, eyewitness accounts, personal observation, documents and other sources of information.”

Jessica Rettig

“I’d love to start my own media venture at some point. I want to be in the position, as an editor, to help other young journalists.”

Teresa Puente

“We still have a long way to go especially for women of color. Few are editors, columnists or news directors. We are in the door but we need to have more influence over decision-making.”

Merrill Perlman

“Journalism is delivering information that people need, as well as information that people want, but also providing context and perspective to allow people to make their own decisions. How it’s delivered is irrelevant; the journalist’s role as witness and interpreter is unchanged.”

Laura Paskus

“Badass. By and large, the female journalists I know are smart, savvy, hardworking, and willing to tackle difficult subjects. The female journalist I know are incredibly passionate about the work they do and the role they play in society.”

Wendy Norris

“Women play a critical role in leading journalism as they do in any industry or segment of community. But they need to seize leadership opportunities and stop waiting for permission to add to the discussion.”

Melissa Ludtke

“The biggest struggle revolved around having the same access as my male colleagues to interview athletes — if women could not get to the athletes to interview them, then editors could not rely on them to be sent out on a story in which the writer would need them to assist with reporting.”

Julia Kagan

“Women bring a different life experience that may make what they notice about an issue different from what a man notices. Some interview subjects may respond differently to being questioned by a woman.”

Glenda Holste

“My father was a photographer and editor for the Kansas City Star. I literally learned to read from the daily newspapers (two) that came into our house.”

Jeannine Guttman

“The technology is not the challenge. It’s just another tool. Creating and building audience with useful, valuable content – i.e., journalism – is the challenge.”

Melita Garza

“I look forward to the day when a woman heading a news organization is not news. I am also looking forward to a day when minority women will have some of these same opportunities.”

Sandra Fish

“The platforms on which journalism is published will constantly evolve. But the mission of journalism will remain the same: to inform citizens in a democracy, to pursue the truth, to cover the undercovered.”