By Jane P. Marshall
The 9-hour time difference was causing Linda Ngari a problem. She managed to participate in several sessions of the 2020 JAWS virtual conference in December. But others she had to watch later, when it wasn’t the middle of the night in Kenya.
Ngari is a fact checker for Africa Uncensored, an independent investigative online media outlet in Nairobi. She was one of 12 journalists who received an Alice Stipend that covered conference registration. Alices were a JAWS Legacy Fund project to draw non-members who work in small markets and/or whose work focuses on underserved communities.
“The JAWS CAMP was my first glimpse into this space of women in journalism from all around the world sharing, chatting, laughing at their experiences, but importantly, sharing the lessons they picked up along the way,” she wrote in an e-mail.
“There was such a fresh wave of camaraderie that left me feeling very confident in my preparedness to thrive as a woman in journalism,” she added, pointing to sessions on Google tools, climate and solutions journalism.
“Also, not every other budding journo gets to be in a live chat with the Soledad O’Brien.”
Closer to the conference epicenter, Tammy Joyner was having a different problem. “Thank goodness there is ‘on-demand’ because there are several sessions I wanted to attend but couldn’t because they ran simultaneously.”
Joyner is a freelance journalist who lives in Hampton, GA. She found Sick to Death: Covering COVID especially helpful.
“The camp was informative and yielded valuable sources and story ideas. More importantly, it reconnected me to journalists I’ve known most of my career and introduced me to many new ones I hope to get to know and work with going forward,” she wrote.
Aditi Malhotra attended CAMP from her current base on Ohlone land in the San Francisco peninsula region. An independent journalist covering environment, education, health and equity, she called the conference “my debut tryst with a community that welcomes and respects journalistic dreams and ambitions.”
“I encountered and was introduced to some really comprehensive and targeted resources for writing more solutions stories as a mid-career international journalist,” she wrote.
She gave special shout-outs to conference organizers “who did a remarkable job of combining interactive and synchronous learning,” to Annie Isaac Moyer, whose meditation sessions she took several times on-demand during and after the conference and to Lottie Joiner for jazzercise.
As a local reporter currently working remotely, Eileen O’Grady mentioned one session that was particularly valuable – Leading Local with Amalie Nash, Kat Rowlands, Mira Lowe and Samantha Ragland. “It covered self care and communication during remote work. They offered relatable, intersectional perspectives on being a journalist in 2020, and great advice.” O’Grady covers education for the Concord (NH) Monitor.
Maya Mirsky has known about JAWS for years, she said, and appreciated “getting a taste of camp and seeing what the JAWS community is like.
“It was very motivating to see such powerful women speakers all working in this tough industry together, and I especially appreciated hearing from other people working in local news,” she added. She is a staff writer for The Jewish News of Northern California.
Other Alice journalists were:
Jamyra Perry, Philadelphia Tribune; Ann Marie Adams, Hartford Guardian (nonprofit); Madeleine Cook, Columbus, GA, Ledger-Enquirer/Report for America; Abbie Shull, Tacoma, WA., News Tribune; Antonia Ayres-Brown, Newport, RI, The Public’s Radio; Farnoush Amiri, Columbus, OH., AP/Report for America; and Aja Beckham, Washington, DC, Report for America fellow.
The Alice is named in honor of Alice Allison Dunnigan (1906-1983), the first African American woman credentialed to cover the White House. She started her journalism career at age 13 writing one-sentence news items for the local Owensboro (Ky.) Enterprise. In 1946 she worked for the Associated Negro Press, the first black-owned wire service, supplying more than 100 newspapers nationwide. She covered three U.S. presidents. “Race and sex were twin strikes against me,” Dunnigan once said.
The JAWS Legacy Fund focuses on timely special projects to extend the organization’s outreach. Alice Stipends were created as a response to the pandemic and its impact on local news coverage (more than 1 in 5 local newspapers have closed).
“I am so happy to have had this virtual conference experience this year,” wrote O’Grady, “and I really hope I will be able to experience the event in New Mexico next year!”
That’s what we like to hear.
The Legacy Fund underwrites special JAWS projects, speakers and events that advance inclusive journalism education and leadership. Donate to further our mission.