Board member blog post: Regional JAWS groups foster local interactions

LizSeegertBy Liz Seegert, JAWS Board Member

Regional gatherings are great opportunities to discuss, experiment and learn from one another. Since only about a third of JAWS members get to Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) in any given year, the reality is that most of the interaction takes place locally.

Our regional groups host all kinds of events — from informal mixers at bars and restaurants to potlucks at members’ homes, to collaborative workshops and events with other journalism organizations like ONA, ACES and SPJ. So if there are women in your region who can’t make it to CAMP this year, how about bringing a little CAMP back to them?

JAWS’ CAMP offers attendees a chance to take what they’ve learned back home and share this knowledge with colleagues who were unable to come. Whether it’s a session on reporting with your smartphone, ensuring more diversity in your newsroom and stories, understanding how to report with data, or any number of other sessions, we encourage CAMP attendees to share highlights with local members. And if someone in a regional group has a particular expertise aligned with a CAMP session, why not consider a more formal presentation as a recruitment tool?

Speaking of recruitment, CAMP also provides a great opportunity for members from different regions to swap ideas about how to reach out to potential new members, or about working with other groups; to share success stories (and not so successful stories); and to think about get-togethers on a different scale (or at least at different venues).

Members who are unable to travel can still participate in CAMP by taking part in the JAWS online auction! There are several great items with strong regional ties, including:

  • NYC metro: Guided tours of Central Park or a walking tour of Brooklyn.
  • D.C. area: Tickets for a National Press Club luncheon. Another item is dinner for 8 at Peg Simpson’s house (yummmm, home cooking).
  • Pacific Northwest (outside of Seattle): Ski lessons.
  • In the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ve got a guided kayak tour in Tomales Bay (just north of San Francisco); lunch and tour of the Rodin sculptures at Stanford; and a guided tour, lunch and discussion about the impact of gentrification in San Francisco’s Mission District.

The auction goes live on Bidding for Good on Sept. 27 — and runs through Oct. 11. Keep checking back, since items will continue to be added.

The number of regional groups continues to grow — we have 15 (and counting), spread across the U.S. You will find a list of regional groups and captains here. Almost all have a group-specific listserv and many also have Facebook group pages. Send an email to the captain if you’re not yet receiving notifications. If there isn’t a group nearby, how about starting one? We’re happy to help with ideas, how-tos and support.