Category Archives: Board Member Blog Post

Board member blog post: Hooked on JAWS

MerrillPerlmanBy Merrill Perlman, JAWS Board Member

It’s time to confess: I was a JAWS denier.

In the early years of JAWS, Betsy Wade and Joan Cook urged me to join. Why did I need JAWS? I thought to myself. I was already at a wonderful place in my career at The New York Times (the second woman to be the chief of a major news copy desk, Betsy, of course, being the first). I didn’t need a group of women to validate my success. I demurred, more than once, and they stopped asking.

Fast-forward to 2006, more than 15 years later. I was now the director of copy desks at The Times, the largest department in terms of people reporting to it, more than 160. There were other women in top jobs at The Times, but I had little camaraderie with them. I needed something by way of a support group, a sounding board.

Board member blog post: Age diversity in JAWS membership

AngelaGreilingKeaneBy Angela Greiling Keane, JAWS Board Member

There are many things to love about JAWS, but one of my favorites is the age diversity of our members. When I first joined JAWS in 2003, that wasn’t the case. But the members at the time— the core of whom had founded the group as soulmates in solidarity in the 1980s— realized that JAWS wouldn’t be sustainable into the future if they didn’t replenish their ranks. So they set out to do just that.

I was recruited to JAWS by the indomitable Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, who at the time worked down the hall from me. I don’t remember her exact words, but whatever they were, when she invited me to a reception for JAWS that was being held in conjunction with an Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in Washington, I don’t recall there being a choice of whether I would attend.

Board member blog post: From Molly Ivins, to JAWS: Straight talk and fun

By Pamela Moreland, JAWS Board Member

Molly Ivins continues to give JAWS something to talk — and think — about. That’s one of the biggest takeaways from a gathering of 30 Bay Area JAWS members and their friends at the Berkeley Rep production of “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins.” Kathleen Turner, the Academy Award and Tony Award nominee, starred in the one-woman play written by the Engel sisters, Margaret (better known as Peggy) and Allison, both JAWS veterans.

Going to see Turner channel Ivins has become a JAWS tradition: Earlier this year, JAWS members in Washington, D.C., saw Turner’s star-turn in the play, and others saw her in Philadelphia in 2010.

Make #GivingTuesday #Give2JAWS Day

By Pamela Moreland, JAWS Board Member

Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. All very cool. All about consumption.

Giving Tuesday is different. Founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York and the United Nations Foundation, it’s about giving back and making a difference. Your tax-deductible donation to JAWS on Giving Tuesday, no matter how big or small, will provide money for fellowships, mentoring programs, regional training and help in bringing great speakers to our annual conference.

We must keep up the momentum, and we need your support to do so.

Board member blog post: A shared love of storytelling

Judy MillerBy Judy Miller, JAWS Board Member

In 1985, before many of you were born, JAWS began its journey that continues today.

I was one of the lucky 16 women who gathered in Estes Park, Colorado, that weekend. Most of us didn’t know each other, but we all shared the love of storytelling.

Rather than telling other people’s stories, we told our own. Some extraordinary, some relatively normal. We laughed. We cried. We hugged with affection and in support.

Board member blog post: From fellow to fellowship chair

USN_Kira_ZalanBy Kira Zalan, JAWS Board Member

I reluctantly attended my first JAWS mixer three years ago, at Co Co. Sala in Washington, D.C. I’m not good at mingling, plus I was just starting out in journalism and was convinced I had nothing to offer professionally. Networking was a D.C. skill I lacked and, after living seven years in this town, I wasn’t sure I wanted to learn it. I committed to one hour (I stayed two) and one drink (I had two). I walked out of Co Co. Sala into the summer D.C. night impressed. JAWS didn’t feel like a stiff, professional organization at all. Instead, I felt like a welcomed guest at a family reunion.

Honestly, I applied for a CAMP fellowship because I liked the feeling of JAWS. I didn’t know the programming and was unsure I’d learn much skill-wise, but there was something special about this group, and I wanted to be there.

Board member blog post: The JAWS Workout

hilarypowell_1340225795_58By Hilary Powell, JAWS Board Member

Giving back is an infectious energy inherent to JAWS. So are differences.

There is an effortless muscle of mutual support flexed when you attend CAMP, regional events or reach out to a fellow JAWdess online.

As part of the JAWS mission, we members strive to create a “more accurate portrayal of the whole society.” In my experience, since I joined JAWS six years ago, there is, ironically, but one homogeneous trait among members: the will to amplify diverse voices.

Apply for the Emerging Journalist Fellowship

By Kira Zalan, JAWS Board Member

The Journalism and Women Symposium raises money each year to support our Emerging Journalist Fellowship program, which brings 10 women starting careers in journalism to the annual JAWS Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP). (See last year’s fellowship winners.) At CAMP, they meet industry leaders, trailblazers, and have the opportunity to learn new skills and share their own. This year’s JAWS CAMP is in Palm Springs, California, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, 2014.

CAMP 2014 site visit

meganAndAdrienne By Megan Sweas and Adrienne Lawrence, JAWS CAMP Co-Chairs

While planning CAMP 2014 in Palm Springs, we’ve jokingly said that JAWS will be taking over Hollywood’s playground. However, on a visit to La Quinta Resort and Club, we found out that it’s not a joke; La Quinta is one of the original getaways for Hollywood’s stars. If you hear typing late into the night from the room next door, it might not be a fellow JAWdess, but the ghost of Frank Capra writing the script for “It’s a Wonderful Life.” (Yes, he wrote it in one of the suites at the resort.)

Board member blog post: Finding a mentor

donna.layBy Donna Myrow, JAWS Board Member

My boarding pass was on the table, carry­-on bag next to the front door, winter boots ready for cold weather. I wore my favorite red parka vest over a turtleneck sweater with a scarf around my neck. Not my standard attire since I live in sunny California. I was dressed for JAWS CAMP 2013 in chilly Vermont. It was time to leave, but I refused to open the front door. How would I describe myself in thirty seconds to the dinner crowd ­­— former newspaper publisher, youth media executive in transition or downsized retiree?

Teary-­eyed, I did get on the plane. From the moment I arrived at the Essex Resort, JAWdesses greeted me with warm embraces. I dropped my bag at the front desk and joined a group at the bar. At that moment, there was no embarrassment explaining that my newspaper folded in February on our 25th anniversary.

JAWS launches formal mentor matches year-round

Journalism & Women SymposiumBy Donna Myrow, JAWS Board Member

Are you looking for advice on career advancement, work-life balance breaking into a different media platform or just a good listener?

The JAWS mentoring program is for you.

Whether or not you come to the Conference and Mentoring Project, better known as CAMP, you can participate in our year-long mentorship program. We’ve taken the positive experiences of mentors and mentees and harnessed them more formally for our JAWS members.

Ambassador makes connections for JAWS

By Katherine Ann Rowlands, JAWS Ambassador

Promoting women’s leadership and taking time to support each other were the themes that resonated for me at several conferences I attended on behalf of the Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) the past couple of months.

A Women’s Caucus started three years got together again in February at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference in Seattle, and its leadership is eager to collaborate with JAWS on events and mentoring going forward. Finding ways to help young women writers is high on its agenda. With so many of our JAWS members writing books, we have a lot of wisdom to share with each other. For starters, we plan to do a joint mentoring panel at the AWP conference next year in St. Paul/Minneapolis and several AWP members plan to attend the JAWS conference in Palm Springs Oct. 31–Nov. 2.

Sunshine: Today and every day

by Erin Siegal McIntyre, JAWS Board Member

Happy Sunshine Week! This year, the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) joins a long list of esteemed participants in the name of transparency and open government.

From March 16–22, organizations across the country are participating in events designed to call attention to Freedom of Information (FOI) and FOIA requests.

Now more than ever, it’s important that journalists stand strong against the not-so-delightful assortment of dirty tricks used to thwart the healthy flow of information from the government’s closets to the public’s hearts and minds.

Board member blog post: Why JAWS is so special to me

jessica rettigBy Jessica Rettig, JAWS Board Member

Before going to the Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) last year, I had made a decision. It was a decision that I had mulled over for years and one that I feared would make me a pariah among all my beloved Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) mentors and friends, who had encouraged me, pushed me along and helped me find great jobs throughout my still budding career.

I decided that I wanted to leave journalism.

I was so anxious as I flew to Vermont. What would I tell people when they asked what I wanted to do after graduate school? What would they say when I told them I didn’t want to be a reporter anymore and wanted to explore other careers to see if I could find a better fit? From my fellowship in 2010 to a spot on the board to a wonderful summer internship, JAWS members had given me so much opportunity over the years; I felt like I was betraying the group’s mission by wanting to try something else. I didn’t think I would belong anymore.

But from my first night in Burlington, I was delightfully surprised.

Call for CAMP ideas

meganAndAdrienne By Megan Sweas and Adrienne Lawrence, JAWS CAMP Co-Chairs

Hello JAWS Members!

We hope you’re enjoying 2014 so far! As we start the new year, we’re also starting a major push to plan for CAMP 2014 in Palm Springs, Calif., from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, 2014. Thanks to all of you who filled out the post-CAMP survey last year; we’ve already collected lots of great ideas for panels and speakers, but we still want to know what the rest of you want out of your next CAMP too!

7 new members in Frederick, Md.

By Adrienne Lawrence, JAWS Board Member

We have seven new JAWS members in Frederick, Md., which brings our area’s total to 19 members (including me)! It’s great, because word is spreading about JAWS in the community. This time around, Stephanie Yamkovenko, D. Dolan and I planned it so everything would be fun, easygoing and informative. Stephanie baked some seriously delicious king cakes to share (here’s a recipe). Dee prepped her house for everyone and offered wine, beer and a wide variety of foods. I asked Karlys Kline, a smart, kind and very well-connected socialite in Frederick (she also serves on several for-profit and nonprofit boards), to join us and talk about her tips and tricks on how to make lasting connections.