By Justine Griffin, JAWS CAMP co-chair
1. Atmosphere: This is not your typical journalism conference. We wear what we want. We talk about what’s important, which is not always what’s popular. Best of all, we drink wine, do yoga and spend plenty of time in the hot tubs or exploring the unique host town. The Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) is truly a destination — from the gorgeous hotels that house us for a few days, to the friendships we make, to what we learn.
2. Panels: The JAWS community is full of many vibrant and talented journalists. I learn something new from every panel. Each one is interesting and relevant to the current state of the media.
3. Networking: If you’re in the market for a new job, CAMP is the place to be. Not only do we pair members with mentors through a yearlong coaching program, but some of the women you meet at CAMP could call you one day wanting to hire you.
4. Opportunities: CAMP is all about collaboration. Ideas are shared and constructive discussion is encouraged. At my first CAMP, my first big investigative story was nothing more than some garbled notes in my reporter’s notebook. With the guidance of some of the women I met at CAMP, it turned into a 15,000-word published narrative seven months later.
5. Community: This is perhaps the most important part of CAMP. When I went to CAMP for the first time in 2013, I didn’t know anyone. But I left feeling a part of the family. A year later, I joined the board.