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A couple of thoughts from JAWS - Journalism & Women Symposium

jpozners Icon Posted by Jennifer L Pozner

September 30th, 2007

The online access has been spotty this weekend at the JAWS (Journalism & Women Symposium) conference — or “JAWS Camp,” as it’s fondly known to members — which is why I haven’t been liveblogging the whole conference. But a few quick refelctions during a moment of rare WiFi accessibility:

Cheryl Hilliard Tucker, Executive Editor of Time, Inc., gave an impassioned keynote last night about the need for women journalists to become change agents in their newsrooms, noting the need not only to be conscious about more accurately and equitably including the perspectives, voices and stories of women and people of color as sources and subject of news content, but also to conduct more critical, watchdogging, feet-to-the-fire old-school journalism. She has volunteered to write up something related to her speech for WIMN at some point soon, which we will hopefully be able to share with you in the future. Check back here.

– Along with Cindy Richards, a veteran Chicago journalist (formerly of the Chicago Sun Times) I co-facilitated a sessionworkshop yesterday called, “Matters of Opinion: Make Yours Count,” which was described on the JAWS website and conference schedule this way:

“Women account for 51 percent of the U.S. population, but you wouldn’t know that from our representation on op-ed pages, news panels, high-profile blogs or other venues for commentary. Expert panelists will explore why, how and where you can weigh in with informed opinions and observations. Moderator: Cindy Richards, columnist, Chicago Sun-Times, Panelists: Rekha Basu, columnist, Des Moines Register; Denise Johnson, editorial writer, Minneapolis Star Tribune; and Jennifer Pozner, executive director, Women in Media and News.”

As it turned out, both Rekha Basu and Denise Johnson were unable to attend JAWS at the last minute, so Cindy and I decided to do the workshop less as a panel of experts followed by Q&A, and instead as an extremely interacative rountable in which all the print and broadcast journalists in the room — including Maura Casey from the editorial board of the New York Times, Joanne Weintraub, a TV critic from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Courtney Martin, columnist for The American Prospect and our own wonderful WIMN’s Voices blogger, Women’s Enews editor Rita Henley Jensen, photographer Karen Kring, Callie Crossley, who is with the Boston radio show Beat the Press, Jan Huttner, a film critic in Chicago and the owner of a movie review website for couples, Hannah Rosenthal, head of the Chicago Foundation for Women, Kris Bergmen, a columnist for National Catholic Reporter, and others from the Washington Times, from local and regional newspapers, and several people from TV and radio. We hashed out the problems of underrepresentation, and multiple solutions — as well as difficulties in getting assignments, pay and distribution as an op-ed writer… especially as a female op-ed writer. I don’t have time to write any of that up right now, but will post about this next week. Stay tuned.

There’s a JAWS blog that has been including some reflections from JAWS members, if you’re interested in reading what the women at this event (most of whom are working in corporate media, some of whom are incredible trailblazers and have not only opened but broken down doors for women in journalism).

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