WIJ Workshop reflections: Safety, inspiration and so much more
Words by Kasey Carlson, Photos by Kat Duncan
When I got an email a few months ago encouraging me to apply to the Women in Journalism Workshop, I thought a few things. One was that it could be a chance to network and learn some new skills — what graduating senior wouldn’t want to take advantage of that? Especially since I’m now freshly graduated and diving into the job market for the first time, a workshop would be an opportunity for me to grow and learn how to navigate this new part of my life.
But what I ended up taking away from the Women in Journalism Workshop was so much more than that. I had the chance to meet and work with strong women from across the journalism industry and across the country, working in every facet of journalism. I learned about new technologies and how to use them to further my reporting in a bevy of ways. I even learned how to get out of someone’s grip if they grab me on the street, something that is unfortunately a valuable skill to know as a woman in our society.
One of my favorite sessions was Marissa Lang’s “Your Best Advocate is You.” It is a societal norm to not talk about salaries, but it puts us at a disadvantage – especially women and women of color who tend to lose out on money in comparison to their white, male counterparts. It is also a societal norm to feel grateful for our first job and everything they are willing to offer us, but that trains us to not fight for what we are worth and let large corporations take advantage of our talent.
As I am entering the job market for the first time, this session armed me with the tools to be able to fight for a salary and benefits I deserve. It lit the fire that I needed to take with me when searching for the first job of my career, and I’ll never let one of my friends take a position without telling them to negotiate first.
I also found myself both intrigued (and a bit paranoid) after Imaeyen Ibanga’s session “Battling the Trolls.” At a time where so much of our information is public, it can be hard to figure out how to clean up our public profiles and protect ourselves from online harassment, especially as women in journalism. Imaeyen taught us not only how to do as much prevention as we can by reviewing our privacy settings, cleansing our pages of identifying information or just being careful of our online actions – she also taught us how to take action when we are harassed or threatened online. I’m not sure about other women at the workshop, but now one of my big summer projects is making sure I’m as troll-proof as possible.
I gained so much from a three-day weekend that I signed up for on a whim. I never could have imagined that I would spend so much time learning from such wonderful, intelligent women. I would recommend it to every female journalist.
And next May, wherever I find myself in the world, I hope that I might get the chance to return to my alma mater and learn even more from this spectacular workshop.