March 2013: Letter from the president

Better Kat picBy Katherine Ann Rowlands, JAWS president

The JAWS Board of Directors took time recently to review the organization’s core values as a way to reaffirm the principles we value as an organization.

I found it inspiring to think about the strength of our collective purpose and to look back on all the careers that have been launched, sustained and propelled by the JAWS network during the last three decades. And then to imagine all the additional women in journalism we will be able to serve with a stronger, bigger and more ambitious organization going forward was even more exciting.

Rather than keep that to myself, I would like to share with all of you the language we came up with to express our values, both for our internal use to guide our future growth and for our friends, supporters and future partners outside of JAWS who may want to join our efforts.

As always, I welcome your feedback — and encourage you to share JAWS with others during this month as we process 2013 membership renewals before the March 31 deadline and reach out to new members.

MISSION: JAWS supports the professional empowerment and personal growth of women in journalism and works toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society.

WHAT WE DO: Journalism & Women Symposium is a national organization focused on the advancement of women in the field of journalism through training, mentoring and networking. Founded in 1984, JAWS now has more than 600 writers, editors, photographers, web producers, radio reporters, multimedia journalists, videographers and journalism professors who gather for an annual conference, regional training workshops and networking events. Members also engage online through a vibrant listserv for discussions about women in journalism, job leads and career advice. We are just out of college and we are in our seventh decade, valuing the strength that comes with a membership diverse in age, race, geography and professional pursuits. Membership is open to women who are employed by a newspaper, news service, television or radio station, syndicate, magazine or website; full-time freelancers in one of these areas; or professors of journalism at the college level or students of journalism at the college level or above. JAWS is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization.

Journalism & Women Symposium empowers female journalists to succeed in their careers by providing training, networking, mentoring and professional support. By more equitably filling newsroom positions, pursuing entrepreneurial ventures and holding leadership roles in journalism, we work toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society. Journalism & Women Symposium offers a platform from which women may lead an ongoing transformation and revolution.

1.    Engaging, meaningful journalism
2.    Equality for women
3.    Camaraderie
4.    Mentoring
5.    Journalistic integrity
6.    Leadership
7.    Diversity
8.    Mutual respect
9.    Reinvention
10.    Fun

•    Supporting women who practice journalism that educates, engages and empowers civil society.
•    Embracing diversity in all its aspects in our organization, our profession and society.
•    Teaching the skills we need to succeed in a changing industry.
•    Advancing women through mentoring and professional support as a way to share knowledge and encourage new generations of women journalists.

The Journalism & Women Symposium brings together women journalists and journalism educators and researchers to meet in an atmosphere of mutual support, professional growth and utter freedom of expression. We celebrate the diversity of our profession and of our membership. As the public hopes to be increasingly well served by media diversification – print and broadcast, digital and online – so JAWS is enriched by the participation of women of many ages, races, cultures and journalism disciplines. Through its programming, fellowships and membership outreach, JAWS seeks to further expand journalism’s faces and voices.

I hope you are as inspired by this as I am.