The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department

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Top Five Lessons for Women in Media

Nia Decaille and Stephanie Ramirez

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“My responsibility is to champion women,” said Joan Schneider at the Women in Media Conference at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on April 21. Her sentiment resounded loudly with the large crowd she addressed that evening.

Schneider, founder and president of Schneider Associates, was not the only one to advocate for successful women in media. With her were panelists Annie Wang, co-founder and CPO of Her Campus, Hannah McGoldrick, Social Media Editor at Runner’s World and blogger, Anna Meiler, reporter at WNYT News Channel 13, and Lisa Creamer, Digital Producer at WBUR 90.9 FM. By sharing their own journeys and experiences, the five female panelists urged young journalists to work hard and get smart about the next step in their careers. Men and women from different campus media organizations posed questions to the panelists, and the five women offered countless advice.

But if you didn’t get the chance to attend the event, it’s no problem. Media ladies, jot down these five tips to abide by for successful careers.

Network! Network! Network! And Then Network Effectively

Certainly, everyone in the business talks about the importance of networking. But the truth is – there’s really no better ‘in’ than knowing someone in the field. Not only will you have an experienced professional rooting for you when you hand over your resume, but you’ll have someone who will make you aware of new opportunities that may be a great fit for you. So, meet people in the industry! Don’t be afraid to shake a hand and ask a question. Just remember, after you do, follow up! Email them frequently. “Hey, here’s an article I wrote for a project I’m working on! How are you? I’ll be in town soon. Could we chat over coffee?” Your odds at success become a lot greater with an invaluable mentor on your side.

Don’t Treat Your Peers As Competition; Treat Them As Allies

Often times, we view our fellow classmates as competitors. Who’s taking the better courses? Who has the better GPA? Who has more internships?  It shouldn’t always be a battle of  who’s more qualified. When we reduce our peers to competition, we  forget the importance of making connections. Ladies (and gentlemen too, why not?), it is time to shed the competitive light and work with our peers. As teamwork surrounds most of our future professional experiences, the time is now to hone in on our team working skills. Most work in newsrooms today are collaborative efforts. Don’t fear the different skill sets your peers have to offer; take advantage of them. You can accomplish a lot more together utilizing each other’s strengths than you will apart.

Pursue Your Passions and Hobbies

They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. And enjoying your future job? It’s crucial. You bring energy and passion to the work you love the most, which then means you’ll always be producing your best work. So pursue what you love the most. Don’t dismiss your hobbies because you think they may be frivolous. Annie Wang, a self-described Harvard University dropout who followed her passion, made a valid point about our interests.  As children, we always pursued our hobbies, and our parents supported us. Why do we drop that pursuit as we grow older? If you hold true passion and love for a career, why not pursue it? Failure looms, dark and scary, but with motivated work and enthusiasm, success is in your horizon.

Embrace Technology and Social Media

If there was anything close to a consensus on what women in media should do, it was learning their way around social media. Panelists Lisa Creamer, Joan Schneider, and Hannah McGoldrick agreed that social media was a big part of what journalists do. “I used to be one of those people that thought Twitter was stupid. Twitter is not stupid, and it’s a large part of what I do,” said Lisa Creamer, a UMass Alumni. During a time where most people consume the news on their phones, social media keeps journalists in tune with their audience. It isn’t enough to know how to operate a Twitter account. The reality is that everyone is going digital. Staying in the loop can score some attention at that internship or job interview.

Know Your Sh*t and Believe in Yourself

Being a woman working in a predominantly male field can be frustrating, especially when people resort to assumptions. So when you pursue your passion in media, get well versed in your craft. Stay up to date on current events in the news, and study organizations you nail an interview with. Do. Your. Research. But more importantly, don’t be afraid to speak up about what you know. People will respect you if they know you are knowledgeable and confident. After all, confidence is everything. If you don’t believe in you, no one else will. Believe you have a lot to offer, because in reality, whether or not you know it yet, you do.

Email Nia Decaille at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @duhcaille.
Email Stephanie Ramirez at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @stephjayare.

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The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department
Top Five Lessons for Women in Media