Women in Multimedia: A panel discussion re-cap

guest speakers

The Association of Women in Communication (AWC) and SPJ teamed up to host our Women in Multimedia panel last week. We spoke with four talented female journalists about being women in journalism, making our voices heard, diversity, and changes in the media landscape as journalism gets increasingly digital.

Our panelists were Corinne Chin and Lauren Frohne, video editors at The Seattle Times, Wudan Yan, an independent investigative reporter, and Starla Sampaco, a UW senior and production intern for King5’s “Evening Magazine.”

We jumped into our discussion talking about some of the issues female journalists face in the field. Frohne said that sometimes women are treated as if we have no experience even after being a journalist for a considerable amount of time. She said it’s important to be assertive about your experience.

Chin said women should be excited to enter the journalism field, not afraid. She added that we should challenge those we look up to but also support each other to reach new heights.

Sampaco highlighted her experience at an internship with TV-W as the only woman of color in the newsroom but said that she brought a fresh perspective to the group. She also noted the value of making time in your schedule to reach out to female supervisors for advice.

Yan noted that men push against editors who initially reject a story idea more often than women. She says women should be more assertive while balancing defense with listening to advice.

All our panelists expressed the importance of being collaborative instead of competitive.

Yan’s advice was to pursue the stories you’re passionate about fearlessly. Sometimes that means calling up the CEO of a company and being confident.

Sampaco added that it’s easy to think you’re unqualified, but it’s important not to sell yourself short. Find mentors who are where you want to be and keep working to get there.

Frohne and Chin both learned video editing on tape decks and archaic software by today’s standards. With how fast technology changes, the importance of good storytelling remains paramount.

Here are our officer takeaways from the event.

“I thought the talk really taught me the importance in how journalists ought to communicate with our subjects, but our peers in the field. Language matters so much in how we judge one another and there is no such thing as a just assumption.” – Tim Gruver, SPJ member

“I was really inspired to reach out to fellow women journalists because the more I think about it, the more I realize most of the journalists I look up to and am friends with are men. This wasn’t anything intentional by any means, but it is a little disheartening. I definitely want to create more ties and collaboration between all of us. All in all, though, the discussion was great and really got me motivated.” – Kelsey Hamlin, SPJ President

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