June 2013: Letter from the president

Better Kat picBy Katherine Ann Rowlands, JAWS president

June is a month full of ceremonies: graduations, celebrations, new commitments and awards. Facebook and Twitter are bursting with proud photos as friends and colleagues mark important occasions, and I did the same to document my son’s graduation from high school, my 25th year college reunion, the wedding of a friend’s daughter and the acknowledgement of exceptional work by high school journalists in a contest sponsored by my company.

It is also a month of notable achievements for JAWS so I hope you will all celebrate with me to note these milestones:

•    At deadline, we had received a record 43 applications from early-career journalists competing for 10 spots in our fellowship program to CAMP. As an organization, JAWS is committing $5,000 toward this program and the board hopes that you will help us match that amount to fully fund the winners for their travel, accommodation and registration costs. Each year, we bring talented and aspiring journalists to CAMP so they can get the best possible boost to their careers through the unique mentoring, networking, training and support offered by JAWS. We will announce the winners next month.

•    We are publishing a comprehensive Annual Report this year to document the tremendous growth of Journalism & Women Symposium in 2012 and tell our stakeholders, including members, friends and donors, about why the JAWS mission is so crucial. With 650 members, a budget of more than $200,000 and an impressive track record of successful conferences, we have a lot to celebrate. Look for the Annual Report in your mailboxes soon and spread the word to your circle of influence so that we can add members, enlist supporters and reach out to donors who believe, as we do, that more women in journalism will help media more accurately represent society. Building our fundraising base through member support has been important, but we want to spread the word to others as well.

•    The nominating committee of the JAWS board is beginning to review candidates to serve on the next board when the terms of six current members expire. We need women to fill the roles of vice president, deputy vice president, treasurer and at least three general board members. Criteria are listed on our website. Please contact me or President-elect Lauren Whaley before the end of June if you are interested in serving in this leadership role. The new slate will be announced in July in anticipation of the election at CAMP in October.

•    To build on the institutional knowledge of the board and create more continuity, members will be asked at CAMP in October to amend the JAWS bylaws so that board members can be re-elected. Board members are currently prohibited from serving consecutive terms, resulting in turnover that is slowing our momentum in membership, programming and fundraising. We will still put an emphasis on bringing new members to the board, which has a minimum of 11 and no maximum, but creating the opportunity for some to be elected for more than a single two-year term will help us mature as an organization. The proposed changes will be sent to all members prior to CAMP, when we vote.

Enjoy your summer!