Knight Fellowships deputy director to lead Journalism and Women Symposium

For Immediate Release
Oct. 4, 2007

For more information, contact: Becky Day, Journalism and Women Symposium

For more information about JAWS:

Dawn Garcia, deputy director of the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists, has become president of the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS), a national organization of women journalists.

Garcia, who spent 18 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before being appointed to her current position at Stanford University in 2000, will serve as the organization’s first two-year president. She succeeds Julie Dunlap, a freelance editor in Santa Fe, N.M.

“I feel especially privileged to be leading JAWS at a time of major change in our industry,” Garcia said at JAWS’ annual conference Sept. 28 to 30 in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. “We live in challenging, chaotic and exciting times in journalism – and women have a very important role to play in creating the future of journalism.”

Board members elected at the conference were:

Peggy Collins, multimedia editor/producer,
Nancy Day, chair, Department of Journalism, Columbia College Chicago
Cheryl Hampton, director, news staffing and administration, National Public Radio
Merrill Perlman, director of copy desks, New York Times
Janet Vitt, night city editor, Sacramento Bee

Other board members are: Mary Kay Blakely, journalism professor, University of Missouri; Adrienne Drell, journalist and educator, Chicago; Julie Dunlap, freelance editor, Santa Fe, N.M.; Sandra Charlier Fish, journalism instructor, University of Colorado; Carol Guensburg, senior editor, Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families; Julia Kagan, health director, Ladies’ Home Journal; and Eunnie Park, reporter, The (Bergen) Record of Hacksack, N.J.

Garcia started her journalism career as a general assignment reporter at the Blade-Tribune (Oceanside, Calif.) from 1981 to 1982, covered legal affairs and city politics for the Modesto (Calif.) Bee from 1983 to1986 and wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle from 1986 to 1991 about San Francisco politics and immigration issues. She also was on the investigative projects team. Garcia was a Knight Fellow at Stanford in the 1991-92 academic year, when she studied U.S.-Mexico relations, focusing on immigration issues. She worked at the San Jose Mercury News from 1992 to2000, as assistant managing Editor, city editor and state editor.

She has been a Pulitzer Prize juror four times, and served two terms on the Accrediting Committee of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. She has taught journalism courses at San Francisco State University, Hayward State University and has been an adviser for students in Stanford’s Graduate Program in Journalism in the Department of Communication. Garcia earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon in Eugene in 1981. She has been a leader in diversity issues in the newsroom and in newspaper coverage.

“Dawn is a vibrant leader who understands the power of a rich blend of voices,” said Geneva Overholser, who holds the Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Reporting in the Missouri School of Journalism’s Washington bureau. “At a moment when the future of journalism is at once unsettled but wonderfully hopeful, her election as the president of JAWS brings a promising surge of energy.”

The Journalism and Women Symposium, a nonprofit organization of women journalists and journalism educators in print, broadcast and online media, promotes the professional empowerment and personal growth of women in journalism and works toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society.

JAWS members helped lobby the American Society of Newspaper Editors board in 1998 to include women in its annual newsroom surveys on diversity.

The most recent ASNE newsroom census, released in March 2007, showed the percentage of women in daily newsrooms decreased slightly, from 37.7 to 37.5 percent, and the percentage of women supervisors dropped from 35.5 to 34.7. Following that trend, the percentage of minority journalists working in daily newsrooms also decreased from 13.9 to 13.6 percent.

“These declines in women and people of color in America’s daily newsrooms should alarm anyone who values diverse voices and leadership,” Garcia said. “As journalism struggles to redefine itself in a nation with rapidly shifting demographics and media markets, the best journalistic minds from all backgrounds are needed now more than ever.”