Women Telling the News Webinar
0:04 Roger Salquist: My name is Roger Salquist. I’m a trustee of the University, and I think I’m the guy that suggested we have this event in the first place, so I got roped into being here. Not reluctantly, though. It’s particularly exciting for me this morning, because I wake up every morning with Anna Duckworth, and now I can look over and actually see her, you know? So this is a real exciting moment for me. On behalf of Fr. Steve Privett, who is the President, our provost, Jennifer Turpin and the entire leadership of the Univ- of THE best university – er THE university of THE best city in the world, the University of San Francisco. We’re happy to have you – happy to have you here. I think this is particularly timely to have a symposium, or an event like this because the role of professional broadcasters and journalism, to me, is just evermore important in a society that’s increasingly addicted to instantaneous blogs, twits of partial and erroneous information. So, it seems to me that we require our professionals in this field to provide us with accurate information, with inspiration, and not least of all with entertainment. So you mix all of those together and it’s a challenging role, and we’re happy to have such a distinguished group here today.
1:36 RS: The goals of today’s event are to showcase women in broadcast journalism, highlighting a diverse group of media professionals who are successful in their chosen path, and to provide an opportunity for our students, especially those interested in media studies and journalism, the chance to hear directly from professionals that are doing well and that doing well and good are not mutually exclusive. So, with that I’m going to turn it over to our moderator, who I think is the real engine behind all this, Theresa Moore. It’s all yours, boss.
2:10 Theresa Moore: Thank you, Roger. I just have to say, a lot of you all know me, and some of you know me from my former life as a reporter at The Chronicle, so my background is in print, and I have to say, I’m not – even though I lecture, you know, every other day, practically, I’m kind of uncomfortable working with a microphone, and it tickles me that I’m up here with people who are very comfortable with this. So, I hope I’m going to be able to hold up my end as the moderator.
02:37 TM: As Roger said, you know, when you talk about waking up to the sound of Anna Duckworth’s voice, a lot of the women on this panel used to – you know, they’ve been around in the Bay Area for a long time and in some cases, they’ve been around nationally, and just getting the sense that you know them. These are people who have become part of your everyday life, sort of part of your media family. But we have a little introductory video, just in case you’re not familiar with them, and I know that might be the case for some students, so you can get a sense of what they’re like on camera. So, if you want to start the video, please? And this video was put together by Foster Johnson, a student in media studies.
06:27 TM: Ok, so a few brief introductions, starting at this end. Valerie Coleman Morris began her broadcast career at KRON in 1969. She was a reporter for KRON and KGO throughout the mid-1980′s. She anchored the news on KCBS radio and worked at KCBS Television in Los Angeles. In the early 1990′s, she moved to New York, where she was a reporter and anchor for WPIX. From there, she went to CNN, where she was Business Anchor for CNN Domestic and International. Back in the Bay Area, Morris, whose catch phrase is, “It’s your money, so take it personally,” continues to speak and write and report on personal finance. Morris is a Journalism graduate of San Jose State University where she was also the first black –
07:16 Valerie Coleman Morris: Homecoming queen
07:16 TM: Homecoming queen, thank you.
07:19 VCM: Along with Vic Lee, who was the Vice President, who escorted me onto the field. We had diversity going on.
07:25 Unknown: Wow!
07:27 TM: OK. We have all sorts of college royalty, here. I’m flanked on either – I’ll get to that in a minute, but, um Jana Katsuyama is a reporter and fill-in anchor for KTVU Channel 2. She reported in Duluth, Minnesota and Dayton, Ohio before coming to the Bay Area. She was raised in Ohio and graduated with honors in English, and a second major in East Asian Studies from Oberlin College. Jenna is an award winning journalist with Ohio Press – Ohio Associated Press Awards for Best Broadcast Writing and Best Enterprise Reporting, and an award from the Society of Professional Journalists as well as several Emmy Award nominations. She’s also a member of the Asian American Journalism Association.
08:07 TM: Belva Davis, and this could go on for a really long time – get the book! – Belva Davis began her broadcasting career in 1956 as the first black woman hired by KSAN Radio. She started out reading newspaper clips on the air, moved on to hosting a live radio programs for which she sometimes cooked lunches for the audience, and I don’t mean like a cooking demonstration, I mean making meals that were served at the live broadcast. She became the first black woman television journalist in the West in 1966, when she became a reporter for KPIX. From 1981 to 1999, she was a reporter for KRON. She is the host of This Week in Northern California, which is aired on KQED Radio and Television. She has 6 regional Emmy Awards, and in 1996, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the author of, “Never In My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life In Journalism.” And if you – I kind of feel like I’m having a Larry King moment here. If you really want to understand Bay Area history and journalism history, you should get this book. And it reads – it really does read like a novel. I mean, there’s all sorts of like sociological and journalism and media and political history in the book, but it’s also one woman’s story, so trust me, it’s a good read and you’ll learn a lot of stuff.
9:34 TM: Ok, um, Anna Duckworth, a native of Milpitas and a graduate of the San Jose State University journalism program began her career in 1994 at KCBS Radio, and after several years as a television reporter at KRON and KPIX, Anna is back at KCBS Radio.
9:55 TM: Vicky Wynn’s family came to the Bay Area from Vietnam when she was 2. A University of San Francisco alumnus of the Class of 2000, Vickie was Valedictorian and Class President. She was a reporter at stations in Arizona, Florida and Nevada before coming home to work at NBC- Bay Area. An Emmy Award winning reporter, Vickie is part of NBC-Bay Area’s investigative team. She has earned several journalism awards from the Asian American Journalists’ Association, and the Radio and Television News Directors’ Association. Vickie has also taught video recording for the USF Journalism minor. So, these are our panelists and we are looking forward to a very exciting afternoon.
10:37 TM: I want to start with Belva, because she just returned from the RNC Convention in Tampa, and her book opens with her attending her first RNC Convention in 1964 here in San Francisco at the Cow Palace, and just to sort of give you a sense of the tenor of what happened in 1964, the title of the chapter – this is the first chapter of the book – is quote, “What The Hell Are You Niggers Doing In Here?” End quote. Ok, so for those of you who think of the Bay Area as this bastion of harmony and diversity, it wasn’t always thus. Belva, how are things – do you want to start by talking about what it was like then and move to now, or do you want to go from now to back?
11:25 Belva Davis: Well, I think the difference is – is back then, I expected sort of what happened, because that’s where we were. The Civil Rights Act was – had just been signed in July, so we were just legally – had our rights, and here we were pushing to get into their convention, where the Dixie-crats were born, and where you sort of expected the worse because the country was going through this change and people were feeling disenfranchised and they were trying to take back America then, just as they are now, so my story was to – as the sort of the swan song of my career to go to the convention this year and to see how I was treated. Well, those of you who kept up with the small news coming out of that convention probably heard the story. I was on the floor when a black news camera woman from CNN was shooting and walking across the aisle, and these guys – and that’s the way it was with us when we were being told to get out of here, why are you here? They started taunting her and finally, they threw peanuts at her and said, “That’s how we feed animals down here.”
12:36 BD: And that was just weeks ago. And I was explaining to Theresa my experience – not as bad as being driven from the hall, but I was trying to do a news stand-up on the floor, and at first, somebody came over and said, “Well, you can’t have a tripod on the floor.” I said, “OK. Understandable.” So we put it away, so then we started again and we got a mic and I started to talk, and they said, “You can’t have wires on the floor,” so I picked up all the wires and I put them in the back of my skirt, as women tend to do, and then they said, “No, you just can’t have wires on the floor.” So then the camera person walked back, and he got a cordless mic and we started again, and they said, “You can’t have transmitting microphones on the floor, either.” Well, somebody, I guess, higher up had been watching this, and I don’t know this guy, he was in a baseball jacket and he came over and he had a little yellow sticker. He put the little yellow sticker on our camera and he said, “Maybe they’ll leave you alone long enough for you to get this done. Hurry, though.” So there I was, you know, with almost 50 years between these experiences and it – but it nowhere came next to throwing food and bottles and things at me. Growth, right? That was then and –
13:57 TM: Now, Valerie, you were coming out of school with a journalism at S-at San Jose State. Really, just not that long after Belva went on the air. What did you imagine your career was going to be like coming out in the late ’60s?
14:13 VCM: I imagined that my career in the late 60′s – I graduated in ’68. I went to Columbia University before my Master’s Degree. I received a New York Times fellowship for one year, so I did a one-year Master’s Degree because that’s how much money I had. My major professor was Fred Friendly who was the person who created the Edward R. Murrow persona. He told us that we needed as people of color, and there were probably about 10 in my class, that we needed to act like we knew what we were doing because we were well trained, and we did. And so, we went out with that attitude. Now, did that stop the fact that other people who chose to be – who either were ignorant, chose to act ignorant, would do the sort of things that Belva has just told you happened as recently as a couple of years ago? Yes, it happened then, frequently, and yes it can still happen, depending upon your circumstance, and depending on the story.
15:16 TM: Now, Belva, you really – I mean the book sort of talks about all these little tiny steps that you were taking to this career. When you say, “Never in my wildest dreams” when you think about the modest beginnings of – it’s pretty incredible. What was it like for you, being the first in so many situations, and I don’t think – I mean, a lot of our students are aware of how hard it is to get a job on air and a job in any market, let alone a major market, but can you give a sense of the kinds of things that you had to do and the kinds of chances you had to take to get on the air and to stay on the air for so long?
15:55 BD: Well, you know, you could be sort of easy on yourself if you’re the first. You don’t have an example in front of you, so you’re not failing at anything. You’re – what you hope you’re doing is not setting an example that’s going to make it more difficult for the next person coming after you. My most difficult time was with the technicians that had to work with me because, you know, in many states, romance or any relationship between blacks and whites was not – was frowned upon, so the news cameramen, when they would go out with me, we would become an interracial couple, and, uh – well, it’s true. We’d walk down the street. We’d be an interracial couple. So several of them had these things that they would do. “I’m sorry, I forgot my mic” or “Gee, I have to go back to get something or other else.” And, “Here’s a key,” and “You go on.” Well, you know, I just went along as though I didn’t have any idea what they were doing, why they were happening. And then there were other guys who just didn’t want to go out with me, they would say, because I was short, and therefore, I couldn’t defend them. Well, I got a chance to prove that wrong. Really got a chance to prove that wrong. But those were the kinds of things, but the one thing I knew: I couldn’t be a complainer. That was for sure, and that is one thing you learn as you grow up brown is that you try to – if you really want to end up with some dignity, you try to solve your own problems and not to go back and expect someone else to enforce some rules on your behalf, because that’s the way you become an outsider. And I’d say that is true today, if you have – certainly personnel problems – you try to solve them on your own because you want to remain part of whatever group, because you’ve got to work with these people every day.
17:46 TM: Now, be – back over the summer, I sent a few questions out to the panelists and one of the things that I asked them was, you know, like what’s one of the things that you’re proudest of, and Anna, your answer – it really struck me and you said, “Probably the most inspiring thing I feel I’ve done as a journalist is to not underestimate myself. I was told early on and throughout my career by influential people that I’d never make it in this business, or that I should aim lower, but I didn’t give up. I just kept showing up, ready to work.” Why did people tell you that? I mean, you know, we know you as this amazing person that we’ve seen on TV and heard on the radio. What were they thinking?
18:32 AD: I’ll give you one example that comes to mind, and this was my first journalism professor at San Jose State University. I had, you know, gone to the class the first half of the semester. I failed every single assignment. And we would listen to KCBS at the top of the hour, and we would have to write our own stories, and I kept getting Fs. Kept getting Fs, and he required that we come in mid-semester to his office to have a sit-down meeting, and when I sat down in his office, I think I was 21 years old. He told me that he hoped that I could find a good husband and that I knew how to cook because I would never make it in broadcasting. And, you know, my response was to break down in tears, right in front of him. I couldn’t help it. And, you know, I cried quite a bit, but the next day, I went to class, and –
19:15 TM: Anna, what year was this that he was saying this to you?
19:18 AD: Oh, my goodness. This must have been 1996 or 1997. So, you know, I discussed it with some of my classmates and learned that this might have been kind of a tactic he used to kind of push you, and you know, make you work hard to believe in yourself. That’s what I think I’m choosing to believe now. At the time, I was devastated but I just didn’t let it stop me from continuing on with this dream that I had to be in broadcasting. And, you know, when I got into broadcasting at Channel 4, I really wanted to go on the air. I was a writer and doing traffic reporting, and one of the news directors, you know – I grew up in the Bay Area, this is my home. I’ve never wanted to leave, in terms of relocating. And a lot of people do that. That’s fine but I really wanted to work my way up at Channel 4. And he told me that I would be a good middle market broadcaster, and that I should probably think about going to a middle market somewhere else in the country. And you know, that was what he said. I don’t know what the motivation was. You know, maybe it was good advice or not, but I just didn’t let that deter me from continuing to work here in the Bay Area, because I love it here. I love the people here. There’s so much going on and I really enjoyed it. And those are the little scars that you get. You know, you get scars along the way, but they heal up and you keep moving.
20:37 TM: Am I – am I right in thinking that you are unusual in having had pretty much a whole career in the Bay Area?
20:43 AD: That’s what I understand. You know, my situation, it’s not unique for me, because it’s been my situation, but yes, a lot of people have moved out of the Bay Area, but I’m an example that you don’t have to. It has worked out.
20:56 TM: I see Vickie shaking her head yes. Vickie, where have you been and what brought you back here?
21:00 Vickie Nguyen: I have been all over the place, so I started – after I graduated from USF, I started in Orlando, Florida, where I was a one-man band, so that means I shot all my video, edited it, wrote my stories, drove myself around. It’s a miracle I never crashed my car because back then we had, like, the flip phone, the map book, and there was no Siri to call upon. And after I worked in Orlando, I came back to Reno and worked for the ABC affiliate there, and I had a photographer, so that was very exciting for me. Then I went to Phoenix, where I spent three years at the Fox station, and then I came home, which is the Bay Area for me. So I admire Anna for being able to be so persistent, and for getting her start here. I would say that I agree with her that it is not that easy, especially when you come from a metropolitan place like a New York, or an LA, or the Bay Area. It’s tough and you have to be willing to move around the country to get your start in journalism. And actually, I think that it really informs who you become as a journalist, as well, because you get to see how different people live. You’re very spoiled, living here and being from here. The diversity here, from the people to the attitudes to the culture the food, I mean, it’s unmatched, so it’s good to get out there and see how other people see the world because when you are telling stories and meeting different people and trying to inform your audience, you bring that perspective with you, so it’s not always a bad thing. It is tough to live in Wassau, Wisconsin or Odessa, Texas or places you’ve never heard of but it will – it will pay off eventually.
22:33 TM: Now, Jenna- you started in Duluth, Minnesota. I don’t know much about Minnesota, other than what I’ve heard on A Prairie Home Companion, but –
22:43 Jana Katsuyama: It was like A Prairie Home Companion! I walked into my first station and they were introducing people, and they said, “Well, this is Dave Jensen, and Mark Olsen, and Stephenson, and it was just like walking into that. But I’m originally from the Midwest, and so my father is from San Francisco. I grew up in Ohio, and to me, coming to visit relatives in California was a very different experience. I remember the first time, and I’m like, “There are so many people with dark hair!” and it was just odd to me because in the Midwest, in Ohio, it tends to be – you know, when you talk about diversity it’s black and white. And if you’re Asian, a lot of times people look at you as, you know, a recent immigrant, and my family has been here, you know, since the early 1900′s and so that was, you know, kind of what I grew up in and you know, I think –some of my cousins here in the Bay Area and down in southern California had this image of the Midwest and of Ohio as you know, being very bigoted and a lot of, you know, – and lacking diversity but at the same time, you start to see other ways that this country is put together. That there is diversity among people who are white and black and Asian, and so you know, you have Germans and Irish and Italians and all this other mix in Ohio, and that was what I grew up in. Duluth was another kind of strange experience for me in that going there the largest minority group was Native American, and there’s a very strong Native American culture up there, and that was new to me, even as a Midwesterner, to be in the upper Midwest and see that. And it was great. And I think, you know, again, like Vickie said, that I applaud Anna for staying in this area because, you know, for me, my dream was to come back to San Francisco and to – you know – to report here but at the same time, I think you really have to look – examine yourself and see what come- what your own experiences and what would push you. And, to me, you know, sometimes leaving an area like this or leaving a large city and going into these small communities across the country, you get an incredible insight into what this country is about. And the regional differences that sometimes get passed over, you know, when we look at, you know, the larger entertainment media and other things. And just as a note, one thing also is I never studied journalism or communications in college. It was never my dream to be a journalist. I was working overseas in Japan after I graduated on a government program, teaching English there, and I really thought that, you know, my goal was going to be doing international business or international law, and I had this opportunity out of the blue, an offer from NHK, which is like the BBC of Japan. I had –they had- a friend of mine lived – worked there, and they had asked me to come and do a camera test, and you know, after one day in this headquarters in Tokyo, they offered me the job, and I was in there and I was looking at all of these, you know, screens and thinking, “Wow! You know this is what I think I really would love to do.” Long story short, I ended up not being able to take that job because of some contract conflicts, but what I would say to all of you is that I kind of reached this crossroads, where I thought, you know what? This is kind of the path that I had thought I had wanted to do, and that I had – you know, that seemed safe. And then, this is this other path that has just opened up to me, which I felt on a very visceral level. Like, I thought, “This is something that I could get paid, you know, every day. Ask questions and talk to people and find out what’s going on in the world.” And yet it also meant, kind of, dropping off the cliff and just saying, “Hey! I’m going to leave my job. I’m going to, you know, start at the very bottom and work my way up, you know, going to below minimum wage to – you know, because when you start off in this business, often times you’re – it isn’t glamorous. It is not well-paying, but you have to do it because you have a love for it. And so I just encourage all of you as you are at this wonderful opp – you know, moment to really think about what your heart is saying and what you … you feel like you really love doing, and it might not be the safest thing, but if you really have that passion then I fully believe that, you know, that will take you a lot farther than going into something because it seems safe or because it’s a good paycheck. Because at the end of the day, you want to be able to say, “Hey! I did what I really wanted to do.”
27:06 TM: Valerie?
27:07 VCM: I’d like to add something because I am kind of a hybrid of the people on this table. I’m an Air Force kid. I was born in Philadelphia, left six weeks later. Quite precocious, as my mother would always say, whenever we gave that timeframe, and I lived in England, France, Scotland and Japan by the time I was a junior in high school. If you’re a military kid, you either love it or you hate it. And I absolutely loved it. My parents did a masterful job of saying to me when I was six years old, “You are getting ready to go on a great adventure.” And of course, that got my attention. And then they said, “And you get to go live in a country where there is a princess who is about to be a queen!” Well, you know, I mean my – I have a six-year-old – my granddaughter is six years old today, and I mean, the princess thing is huge. So my parents actually negotiated the right frame of mind for me and put me in the right frame of mind to receive it, one. Second thing, they made me a global citizen before it was popular. Before it was known, and so, and Anna, I was at KCBS. Glad I had a chance to say a hello to you. I love the fact that you are here. And that you worked through that way, and I think that you need to see that there are those options. The other options for me. I had always traveled and so people thought, well, I was just going to stay here forever. And I did. I was here from 1969 until I went to CNN, which was about 16 years ago. But I have always felt that if you are born on the West Coast, go East. If you were born on the East Coast, go West. If you were born in the middle of the country, go somewhere that enlarges you. I didn’t mean that as a pejorative, that came out wrong!
28:52 JK: Or go to the middle!
28:53 VCM: What I was saying, from the mid part of the country, your choice can be to go to many places. The opportunity is what you need. And diversity? As I was saying to Mary earlier, diversity to me is the 21st century commodity, and whatever your diverseness is, wear it. Show it. Use it. Make sure that the skills that you bring are that unique. Don’t think of being a person of color. I don’t think that I’m different negative. I am different unique. I’m African-American and Native American. My mother’s family is Pima Indian. Look at the opportunity that that gives me to say to a potential employer, here are all of the additional things that I can bring to you. Those are assets. Know your assets. Know your liabilities. Know yourself.
29:51 TM: Valerie, I want to ask you something about CNN because my sense of CNN – and maybe this is because of Bernard Shaw – but I have the sense that CNN was a more diverse place to work because of who they were putting on the air. And maybe because it started in my lifetime. Was it different from what you experienced the other places you worked?
30:13 VCM: CNN was very different because it was number one, it was the first. You know, the 21st – the very first that said, “Yeah, news 24 hours.” It was the first that said, “You know what? News at noon, five, six and eleven is fine but what if I want it at a different time?” It was the first that said there are stories that deserve more than a minute and a half, and then it’s gone, and so yes, we’ll stick with it. So there were many opportunities that CNN brought, and obviously if you have a good idea, you know it when it’s replicated. So now everybody has it that. Much like CNN was, you know, the first looking at financial news as an independent part of the station. Not just a story here and there, you know because the Dow is up or the Dow is down, but what does it mean? How does it impact your life? So, I also viewed CNN differently. It was a different part of my career. I mean, I’ve been in television news for 40-plus years. I mean, I’ve – right? Belva, help me. You led the way. It was – it was an opportunity for me to say at different parts of your career, you can tend to look at situations differently because you have a different need. So when I was starting as a student, you know, it was, I need to get in, I need to prove myself, I need to do these things. About 15 years into my career is when I said, “You know, I really think the value of radio is exceptional.” And that’s when I went to KCBS Radio. And people said, “You never leave television and go to radio! You go from radio to television!” Just like people would say, “You could leave newspapers to go to television, but you wouldn’t do the reverse.” Those presumptions. I went to radio, and KCBS made me such a better reporter. Because when you have to turn that story top every seven minutes or so, that tends to get your attention. That tends to get your juices flowing and all of that, so CNN was a trendsetter but for me, CNN also was received in a more open and opportunistic way on my part. I had not done financial news. I learned on the air in front of 290 million people. And that’s the reason why, when I talk, about money, I can look at people and go, “Hold on.” It’s not that hard. You are smart enough. Yes, you can do it. Just back up. Regroup. Go forward. Because if we don’t have that kind of opportunity, then people won’t grow. I needed to grow at CNN and did it successfully for fifteen years. And now I’m home.
32:45 VN: Can I get an idea of who is in our audience in terms of seniors? Raise your hands. Ok, so you guys are like, “We need to know what we’re doing next.” Juniors? Sophomores? Freshmen? OK, and whose a journalism major or interested in broadcast journalism or any form of journalism? Ok, great. Thank you. That just helps us figure out –well, helps me figure out which areas I should ramble on about.
33:15 TM: Something that I’m going to ask you guys to talk about – when I initially sent out some questions to the panelists, I sent an extra question to Vickie because I know her. And I said to Vickie, “So, you know the thing that I am really curious about is how is it that you have two little kids and you are always on TV?” And we had a little back and forth about that, but then I got Valerie’s answers back, and Valerie mentioned – I hadn’t asked her about being a mother or anything, and she mentioned being the first person to be pregnant on television as a reporter, so I think – Jana do you have children?
33:52 JK: Yes [inaudible]
33:52 TM: So, we have five mothers here who also are all on TV. How did you make that happen, and a lot of you – when you were talking about that guy who said, “You better find yourself a good husband.” A lot of you have talked about how your husb ands really made it possible for you to have the kinds of careers that you have. So, if you could talk -because I know that – maybe for some of you, it’s too soon for you to be thinking about “How am I going to have a career and have a family?” but we have a wealth of experience up here of women who have made that happen and Vickie, you in particular put it out that you need to make a choice to have a family and a career. How do you make that work?
34:30 VN: I think, you know, I recently read a memoir by Mika Brzezinski – she’s on Morning Joe on MSNBC – and I thought it was really refreshing what she was saying in her book, because it’s something I tell my interns all the time. And by the way, it’s amazing – this panel – the folks that are up here and hearing their breadth of experience. You would not get a collection of women like this anywhere, so I’m in awe, but for me as a fairly recent graduate I will say, you – as a woman especially, if having a family is something that is important to you, or you think it will be down the line, you’re 19, 20, 21 now, 30 is like right around the corner. And then, in this business in particular, you hit that milestone quicker than you imagine because it’s really exciting, what you’re doing. You’re going full force and then all of a sudden, you realize, like along the way – how? Have I been doing what I should be doing for my personal life the same way I’ve been hard-charging after my professional life? And sometimes, you know, especially for us women, that biological clock is ticking and it’s doesn’t stop, so put as much gusto into finding your teammate, your partner, whoever that person is going to be because I think television in some ways, you’re on borrowed time. And, you know, at some point, you’re going to look back and the things you’re going to be proud of in your career are important, but the things that you’ve accomplished in your personal life and the people that surround you are also important. And TV can be really ruthless, too. You know, you’re – you have a lot of ups and downs, and sometimes that’s not based on your performance. That’s based on how your manager is feeling that day or you know, if someone in a higher position is not having a good day, so you really should prioritize having a family, if that is important to you the same exact way you would go after – and it is hard, and it’s a juggling act but that’s also what keeps you sane. You know, one of my former mentees called the other day, she’s at a career transition, she’s got an interview in Sacramento, she’s also got an interview in Los Angeles, different job positions, and then at the end of the conversation, she said on a side note, you know, “How do you deal with jealousy?” Just straight out – you’re on Facebook, you’re on Twitter, you know, so-and-so is doing this awesome story, so-and-so just got a promotion to anchor at this station, and here you are, you know, in your market, doing what you’re trying to do, getting to that next job and their Facebook reality is amazing, right? You deal – I mean, this is a very competitive business. You’re always going to be kind of envious or jealous, that’s normal. That’s people, right? And don’t forget, like the grass is always greener on Facebook. But I told her, I told her, “You know what? You’ve got to be the best you. There’s always going to be someone smarter or prettier or younger or whatever, but there’s no one that’s going to be better at being you than you.” And I know that sounds so cheesy, but it’s true, so focus on the things you can work on and change and improve upon and grow. And you’ll have that confidence. And also, have some balance. Have people that tell you that, you know, your life isn’t all about that story that you just did that day. You go home to you know, your friends, your family, the people you love and they help you keep a healthy perspective too, so that this doesn’t sort of eat you alive.
37:40 TM: Anna, you have three children. How do you – how old are they?
37:42 AD: My oldest just turned eight last week and I have twins that are six.
37:46 TM: Oh, wow. Ok, so how do you manage having little kids and having your career?
37:51 AD: Uh, most of the time, I feel not very well. But I mean, in all seriousness, I always feel like something is being not done up to the best I can do, but like Vickie said, you just do the best you can do and that has to be good enough at the end of the day. I mean, I actually made the choice to leave TV because of my family. And that was just the situation that I was in. Everybody’s situation is different but I made the decision that it was taking up too much time away from my children. I was working a morning shift at Channel 5, so I would get up at 2:30 in the morning, and by the time I got home, I would get home by 1:00 in the afternoon, but I would be so tired that I really couldn’t devote the time and energy and attention to my kids that I wanted to. So after some soul-searching, I decided – and I decided it was time for me to leave Channel 5. And I didn’t know what I was going to do after that. I just knew that I was –I needed to spend some more time with my family. Thankfully the opportunity to – at KCBS opened up a few months later, and it’s – I just feel like it’s a better balance for me. And you know, being in TV at the time was wonderful for me. It taught me so much about making my deadlines, about writing, about you know, getting the right information for the story, and now I basically do the same thing that I did on TV on radio, but I don’t have to check my hair every five minutes, so it’s great. But no, I mean, that feeling of not devoting enough time to my family ate away at me to the point of where I had to make a change and I did, and I’m thankful that it has turned out well. But it was up to me to make that choice because I’ve seen a lot of people burn out in TV, or you know, in broadcasting in general because it is a very competitive business. But you know, if you take care of your own well-being first, I think the rest tends to follow.
39:39 TM: Valerie, what was it like being a pregnant pioneer on television? Did they hide you or were there discussions about how long you could stay on the air?
39:47 VCM: I didn’t tell anyone at the station that I was pregnant until I was five months pregnant. I was wearing big, wide belts. I could not afterwards hide it because that’s when KGO had us all walking onto the set. So you know, we didn’t – we weren’t here and then the open. It was, you know, you walked from there onto the set. I just held my head high and my stomach forward, then walked. It’s funny. I laugh about it only because when I think about what I went through to conceal it, it was like, that was crazy. Why was that the case? It was the case because it was politics of the television newsroom. And politics play in our lives all the time, hugely for women. Because the presumption was, OK, once you have – if you’re going to have a baby, then what’s going to happen? And so we all work harder to make sure that, you know, there’s no blip or dip in our productivity. My mother helped me with two things. Number one, she said, “Valerie, drop the word balance. When is the last time you had a 50/50 day? 50 percent family, 50 percent work?” It just doesn’t happen, and yet women, and especially in my day, that was when we got the SuperMom title, doing it all? Everybody was trying to balance, and my mother said, “Just integrate your life.” She – I remember she did “Just integrate your life.” Which means that sometimes it’s going to be 80/20, and whatever. But if you can embrace that now at this point, you won’t make yourself crazy when you reach decisions on other things with your career and your personal life. So you need to integrate them. The most difficult thing about being pregnant on air was that everybody else’s nervousness. My crew- you know, every time I would come and sit down, they would look at me. You could just tell. And in fact, one of my floor directors always would do, right before we started, he’d do like this – “Just dipping my hands in hot water if I have to do a delivery.” And it was very tender. It wasn’t a negative at all, but it was just, there was nobody that they had worked with. Everybody took a maternity leave. You disappeared and then you came back. So that’s how I handled it. I wasn’t looking at balance. I was looking at integrating my life. I knew that because I was pregnant, it didn’t mean that my brain wasn’t still functioning, so I didn’t act like many people thought that we would all of a sudden have these – pardon the pun – pregnant pauses, you know of not being able to produce. And the final thing I’d like to say is that when I did come back to work, and I came back three months after my first daughter was born – I have two daughters. And it was the Jerry – oh, my goodness – time – it’s was the governor’s race – Jerry Brown – and who was he – he was running against – I am so sorry – I just – my mind will capture it in a moment, but the point is that I was sent down to do a story in Southern California. Here I had, you know, my daughter, who was still very young. I called my parents. They lived in Riverside. We were going to be starting the tour actually in LA, so I took my daughter – flew home, left her with my parents. They were delighted. Went and did the five days and came back and finished it in Riverside, where Belva used to cater, but my Mom and Dad prepared meals for my crew. Those are the memories that I have about being pregnant on television. I was healthy. I took care of myself. I looked well. I didn’t look really pregnant, except if you saw me standing up and waddling on to the set of KGO.
43:16 TM: This question is for everybody on the panel, and I feel so strange asking it but I’m going to think it’s germane. How much have looks mattered in your career?
43:27 BD: How much –
43:27 TM: How much have looks mattered, like what you looked like?
43:32 BD: Could I say something, just to tag on to what they’re talking about, because when I started, the women’s movement was just getting underway. And I had two children. And my youngest was not yet in school. And I only say this because there are so many guys out there, to let you know that it wasn’t just me, it was my husband, who was the leader. My husband quit his job and stayed home, and luckily for us, he was a photographer. Opened up a little lab in our garage, and he took care of our children. And it was his decision because he felt that the pressure on me was going to be so enormous that he didn’t want me to worry about the children along the way. But my guilt overrode a lot of that. Oft times when I got off late because there was no 8-hour work day back then. You just worked for a set salary. And if you read in here, I had a part in creating an 8-hour work day, but I would wake my children up, and have them have dinner with us because I saw that on television that families, you know, ate together, and I didn’t want to deny them that privilege, even though I don’t think that they can remember one meal. But I just wanted to say that because Bill was such a unique guy and all of you have an opportunity to be a unique guy, also.
44:51 JK: Just to add to that point, and I think that’s really sweet and I think, you know, what you’re hearing too is that, you know, the spouses – when you’re in broadcasting, it is such a demanding job. I think we’ve all given up holidays, had to say, you know, “We can’t make Thanksgiving dinner because we have to work.” It’s very strange that way, it’s almost like doctors’ hours. You never know if a big story is going to happen and you’re going to get called at 2:00 in the morning to go out and cover it. And so, you know I think just as Belva was saying, the person you pick as your partner is really important. For me, I have a five-month-old son. I just had a baby in March. And one of those moments – you know, I always thought, “OK, it’s fine. You know, Channel 2 is great. KTVU – we have like twelve – we call it the Channel 2 Baby Boom. There are like twelve babies for Channel 2 employees that are going to be born in the next year, and so the management is really, really sensitive to the issues of parenting and work. But the thing that really br- the one incident that really brought it home to me was last October, when there were the Occupied protests. And you know, as a journalist and as a professional, you want to be on the big story. You want to be, you know, covering it and in the middle of it, so I was in Oakland covering the Occupied protest, and you know, was going to be the lead for our ten o’clock news and just 30 seconds before I went on air, I heard this “pop-pop-pop” and I look around and there are these people running towards me with this big cloud of teargas right behind. Well, I was four months pregnant, and the first thing that came to my mind is, “I have to get out of here!” Like, you know, “This is not going to be good for me. It’s not going to be good for my baby. I’ve got to go” So I took off running. And the anchors – they couldn’t see what was going on, so they went ahead and tossed to me, and said, “Jana Katsuyama is live in Oakland, in the middle of everything!” And the camera comes up, and my photographer, Ben Cruz held his ground and there’s no Jana Katsuyama because she’s halfway down the block. So, you know, I was running, running, running, trying to get away from this but since the anchor had tossed to me, your instinct kicks in, so the first instinct is, well talk. So here I am, and I’m like [pant, pant, pant], “Well, they just threw teargas and uh ” It was just bizarre. And you know, and so I’m running around. I’m trying to get away from it and I finally tossed back to them, and they go to my pre-recorded story. And so after that, I actually ended up getting shelter inside of a Channel 5 van because there was somebody in there, and I’m pounding on the door and they let me in and you know – teargas – that was the first time that I’d ever been in teargas. I would never wish it on anyone. It is a horrible feeling, a horrible experience. I mean, your eyes are burning and you know – everything’s running and you can’t see, you can’t talk, and you know, after that, I had a really long, heart-to-heart conversation with my husband, and I had, you know my managers actually called me in and said, “You know what? We love your reporting. You’re doing great, but we also want to make sure that you’re safe. And so there is this conflict that you come into, when there is that personal and then there’s the professional. And so for me, it was the reconciliation that I am still worthy – I’m still a good journalist. I’m still valuable to the team, even if, for this amount of time, I may not be able to go out and be in the middle of rallies with teargas. And so in that sense, you are negotiating the personal and the professional all the time. And I think, for women, you know, because of pregnancy, because of the family, that often comes at very difficult times and you just have to allow yourself to say, “Hey, you know. I know my own self-worth. I know my own worth.” And you know, hopefully you’re in a place, as I feel I am, where there are people who value that.
48:39 TM: To return to the question asked a little while ago, I know that for – I don’t know if it’s still the case, but historically, it’s been an issue for -more for women than for men, but probably for men, too, on television, what they look like. And I know that – like when you’re talking about television being ruthless, I’m thinking about people who you know, sort of got shoved off the air as they started to look older, or maybe they had pressure to look a certain way. There’s an article in this month’s Atlantic Magazine talking about how women on cable television are appearing more and more sort of painted. And guests coming on are, you know – it’s one thing if you’re an anchor, but woman, she – “I’m regularly a guest,” and she’s like, “I’m amazed at like how many different kinds of eye shadow they put on me.” But anyway, I mean, Belva you’ve been in the business for a very long time, and has that ever been an issue for you?
49:35 BD: Of course.
49:36 TM: Ok, how?
49:37 BD: Well, you know, this – not that – it sort of comes with the “first” stuff. You know, because they don’t have any experience with it. The first – my first confrontation with it was when they brought in [inaudible] newscast, and they brought in this top makeup artist from Los Angeles, to do everybody’s personal makeup. The Westmoreland Brothers, they were quite famous. And so, when they got to me, they just looked at me and they said, “You’re fine.”
50:09 VCM: Translation, Belva?
50:10 BD: So I found out that the only thing they had was this makeup they’d done for Elizabeth Taylor for Cleopatra. And it just wasn’t going to work on me. So they just did nothing, and because it was better for me to let that moment pass and to work out another solution, I let it pass. Then, it became the problem of the hair. What to do with the hair? And finally, I had to make peace with that because we – of course, you know, we had a big ruckus here over Dorothy Reed’s hair.
50:41 TM: Tell them about Dorothy Reed’s hair because I don’t think people know about it.
50:43 BD: Oh, Dorothy Reed was going to the opening of the ballet and she had cornrows in her hair. And she wanted to wear them on-air the next day. They said, “No.” And she was subsequently suspended, fired because of her hairstyle and the union had to go to bat for her, wholly, providing a lawyer and everything else and so that was a big test. And so my solution – for some of you will think it was a chicken way out, but I said, as long as I pay to get my hair done, I’ll wear it the way I want. You want to pay for having my hair done, then you can have a say. So, they decided to pay to have my hair done.
51:27 TM: Wow.
51:27 BD: That was not a good solution for some people, but it was the way I could be pleased with that.
51:35 VN: If you can get them to pay for your hair and your makeup in this day and age, more power to you, but we don’t have makeup artists, I mean, at my station
in terms of even for the anchors. You know, you’re kind of on your own. And do looks matter? Absolutely. I mean, television is a visual medium, right? Are looks the only thing you should worry about? No. You should come to work dressed and appearing the way that you want for the job that you want. So if you want to be an intern forever, wear the flip-flops and the jeans and the tank top. If you want to actually become a producer, or a reporter or whatever else, dress the way those people dress in the newsroom. It’s crazy to hear that someone was fired over cornrows, but the truth is, unless you’re Oprah, you need to kind of look the part of the people that are in your arena. And that doesn’t just apply to journalism. If you go into business, if you go and work for a startup, then the flip-flops are good. And if you show up in a suit, you are going to be mocked. So whatever the profession is that you go into, you do need to kind of see how people are presenting themselves, and see how that works for you, but yeah, looks matter. It’s important. I mean, I struggled with the hair then. I struggle with the hair now, and if I look back at the twelve years of just hair and makeup, it’s a crazy odyssey. So yeah, it’s something you think about. It’s funny to hear Anna say, you know, you do the same thing in radio – it’s more challenging, I think because the turnaround time is more frequent for your stories – but thank goodness you don’t have to powder your nose and check your hair one more time before you know, you get broadcast, but it is – it is important, and your presentation matters, I think, in any industry, and yes, when you’re on air for sure.
53:12 AD: What I want to say, so, you know, the TV stations hire consultants that come in and work with you on your look, and when I first started at Channel 4, you know, it was a very overwhelming time. I had done traffic reporting on the radio, and went in for a weeklong audition to see if I could do the afternoon traffic reports, and they hired me after the third day. So it was very overwhelming. I’d never been on TV before, and all of a sudden, it’s going to be my job. And they had this very nice lady. Her name was Judy Grant, and she was a – not only a voice coach, but also just kind of a – you know – career coach. And she – she pulls me aside and she tells me that I need to get a more cohesive look. And I struggled with that! I said, “What does that mean?” She said, “You just need to look more cohesive.” And my hair was pretty wild at the time. I think I used a smaller barreled curling iron, and it was kind of frizzy – and you know – it’s frizzy, so I have frizzy hair. But I got after that they wanted it more sleek. You know, they wanted it more put together. And I – I did the best I could, but it was something that, you know, I – I had to deal with. It wasn’t something that I had made a priority in my life up to that point, but yeah, I knew that to do the job that if they told me I needed to look more cohesive, I needed to find out, first of all, what that meant, and then just do my best to implement it and it seemed to work out, but you know, they’re looking very closely at the way you look, so it absolutely plays a role. Even if it doesn’t come in as a factor in the stories that you’re covering.
54:37 BD: I can add – I’m the old person here – so I can say this: it really irks me to see a newswoman in the morning with green eye shadow.
54:50 BD: I just think about all of the trouble – all of the work people did so that we could look natural, and then – When I went down to LA – some of you probably know this – girls are sitting on high bar stools so that the length of their skirt shows, and they twirl, you know, and I’m thinking, “I don’t – I think you guys got mixed up here somewhere. You’re not – you’re selling yourself instead of the news.”
55:18 TM: I’m going to ask one last question, and then we’re going to open it up to the audience. Last night, I heard the term predator. Do you know what The Predator is?
55:25 VN: Mmm hmm.
55:26 TM: OK. Tell ‘em what predators are.
55:27 VN: Producer-editor.
55:29 TM: Right.
55:29 VN: Writer. Ok.
55:30 TM: So, and you talked about the one-man band. I know that a lot of all types of newsrooms have had shrinking budgets and shrinking staffs, and you’re being asked to do more of the job. How have these changes affected the type of career that you all who are on – still in it are having and what should people be – who are interested in going into television journalism be thinking about in terms of their futures?
55:59 TM: How they should be preparing? This is open to anybody who wants to speak up. Go ahead, yeah.
56:02 JK: So I think one of the things about – you know, there’s a great thing about technology is that you get things quickly. And then the downside of it is that you’re getting a lot of things quickly. And so, I think, you know it’s been a great tool for me, and I know a lot of, you know, people in news because if you want to verify something, you know, the Internet, having a smartphone there, you know, you can get all kinds of information instantly. But I think one of the things that I keep coming back to is, you know, in my experience in the liberal arts education, and I think, whatever it is you’re doing, is the ability to think critically because in this day and age, you’re getting so much information so quickly, and it’s that ability to look at something and to question, and then to think,”What are the things that I need to – how can I examine this? How can I establish whether it’s true or not?” And those are the kinds of skills – the ability to read, to think and to ask really important questions, are the basic tools that you need. The other technical tools are things you can use to get the information but basically what’s going on inside your brain is the most important processing that’s going on. It doesn’t matter how much processing power you have in your hand. It’s what you have in your head and how you’re able to tease through things and make sure that when you’re reporting on something, or if you’re a news consumer, are you asking the questions of, “Well how did they arrive at that assumption? Where are they getting those numbers? What’s the – what is the basis for this tweet?” And those are the things that I think that, every day, as you’re going through your classes, and you know, you’re being confronted with news articles, with reports, with studies with doc – with masses of documents from, you know, the state, as you’re doing research, those are the kinds of things that you should really be focusing on. You know, the looks and the technical parts of how to put together, you know, reports are important, but really, it’s about the approach that you take to the information because there’s more and more of it out there.
58:03 VN: Do I think you should know how to shoot and edit your own video, and tell a story? Yes, I think that would be an extremely valuable skill for you to get, whether you get it here in your classes, or if you get it through an internship. And that would be kind of the takeaway for what I think would be good for you, is do your homework. I mean, if it is broadcast journalism or radio or television or Internet, at the end of the day, multimedia journalist is the word that I hear a lot, and that means you’re going to do it all. So just because you start out in print doesn’t mean you’re not going to be asked to record a video that then you post online yourself. And your writing style for print or broadcast or web, those are all different as well. So, it’s hard to be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none, but I think some of you have just grown up with the tools that some of us are learning, you know, on the job, so it’s going to be second nature to you. So don’t get overwhelmed by that aspect, but try to learn every time you have an opportunity to learn how to shoot something or edit something or write a web article or how that’s different from writing a print article, or how to conduct an interview that’s going to be for radio versus television, those are all things that you should start collecting and putting in your toolbox now, because by the time you graduate in one, two or three years the landscape of multimedia journalism will be different again, so being able to adapt and also kind of doing that cross-training now is going to really prepare you well for it. Does it mean that in the future everyone’s going to be a backpack journalist and doing everything by themselves? No, I think there’s a time and place for an electronic news gathering crew, a cameraman, a reporter, you know, a sound person. I was at a panel recently, talking to people who were on-air and behind the scenes for you know, 20/20 and for Nightline and Dateline and things like that, and you’ve probably noticed this. The video is very different. If you’re doing an interview with Beyonce, yeah, you’re going to have a huge bank of lights. If you are traveling to Antarctica to document someone’s trip to wherever in an igloo, you’re – you may be with a producer or that person may just be shooting video on a GoPro or their own iPhone, so that’s not taboo anymore. The video that you see on mainstream network television sometimes does come from a home camera that’s embedded in a family, and they’re asked to record their child every morning, so things are changing so much, and I think the best education you can get in addition to your education at USF is to get into the newsroom or the office or the startup company, or wherever you think that you want to be, get in there and see how they’re doing things right now in real time and then figure out if that’s what you’re going to want to do. Because, as we’ve talked about the pay in journalism is not the greatest. I mean, I’ll speak from my personal experience. My first job offer was in Sioux City, Iowa and I think the of- I mean, I remember, the offer was for $18,500. A year. A whole year. And I mean, I could have gone to the McDonald’s there, you know, and gotten an hourly job and made more money than I would have doing, you know, the job of a one-man band for the ABC station in Sioux City, Iowa. And that was 2000. That hasn’t changed. I have interns as recently as last year asking me if they should take a job for $19,700. So that scale has really not moved a whole lot. So you’re going to be in this for more than just the money, and eventually the money will come, or at least it will come to be like a comfortable amount for you, hopefully. But it’s not just what you’re being paid in your dollar, it’s also what you’re being paid in terms of the value that you get from your work.
1:01:43 VCM: I would just like a couple of things because I – every single thing that’s been said here, I appreciate because Belva and I – we were not photojournalists. We didn’t have to do that. I mean, when I started, you had a camera man, a sound man and me. I mean, it was a three-person crew. And I have never had to be a video journalist. Nor is it anything that I think I would be good at. You however, this is just kind of what you do, or what you’ve been introduced to, so embrace it. Learn everything that you can. You may not need it right now, but at some point it will be valuable. One of the things that I did learn, though, from the previous years of being in television is, I talk about my crew, and the crew to me is family. So if you are not a video journalist and you’re working with other people, understand what their job is and what they do and how they do it. Because television especially is a collaborative event, and if you don’t have an appreciation for what other peoples’ jobs are, how do you know where yours begins and theirs ends, or where you can pick up or where you can collaborate, who you work with well? I’m still in touch with people that I worked with. My floor director – one of the best floor directors in the country – Joey Smith – still here – and Joey could tell me, the camera could be here – if Joey pointed and cued me behind me, I would turn around because I trusted him that much because he never, ever led me astray. And so, know your crew, know the people that you’re working with, what they do, and collaboration is the key word. And finally, know the relationships that you’re forming right now at this university. I can’t tell you how important it is to be able to say ten years from now, “You know, when I was at USF, there was this great classmate who just was always on it precisely, with this, this, this and this. I wonder where she is now, or wonder where he is now?” Don’t burn bridges, build them to relationships in this business.
1:03:46 TM: Audience? Do we have questions?
1:03:51 Moderator: If we could have – if you’re a student, or if you’re a faculty or staff, if you could tell your name, if you’re a student, what year you are?
1:04:02 Zoe: I’m actually an alum, from three months ago. My name is Zoe and I had a question for you ladies about whether you would recommend graduate school?
1:04:13 VCM: Well, ok. I’ll start it. It’s tough, because while I very, very much respect education, and I have a graduate degree. I did a one-year Master’s, if it is graduate school or there is a job there that you can get, I would say, take the job, and look at companies that may, in a couple of years, allow you to be part of a program where they pay for your education. And that way, you’re getting kind of a double bang. But I think it’s just critically important, if there is access and you can get into the industry, it’s very important. It doesn’t diminish a graduate degree, it’s just that you may want to combine it in a different way than just going from senior year directly into graduate school.
1:04:58 JK: Really quickly, I just want to let you know that I was at this crossroads when I came back from Japan and somebody said – I was looking at graduate school and somebody said, you know, just as Valerie said, get a job. And so I went and I got the lowest-paying production tech job, but then I went out on all of my days off and put together a reporting tape. And so I would say, you know, I mean, at my, you know, like we’ve all been saying, it’s a changing industry. When I go back to Duluth, they are now putting, sometimes interns, on air to do stories because it ‘s that kind of, you know, business model now, where you’re doing more with less. So I would say, you know if you want to report on air, get a job because as soon as you get in, you are on the ground, you know and you are running, whereas if you go to graduate school, it’s good for networking. That was one thing I found. I wasn’t in a graduate program, so I didn’t have that built in network that you get, but you – if you can find a place, and sometimes it might mean moving to a smaller city, or it might mean, you know, going to someplace here in the Bay Area, and getting, you know, really a low paying or maybe non-paying job but just getting in the door and building those relationships and skills. I would recommend that because that, I think, it’s a valuable way and, you know, you can always learn things on your own, you know, if you need to, but you know, really trying to get into the job is useful.
1:06:18 BD: I have a question. There’s a great experiment going on at UC Berkeley’s graduate school. I don’t know all of the particulars, but I would highly recommend it because at the core of what they’re doing is they’re trying to figure out what the next model is going to be. So students are getting the experience of study and shaping the future. Don’t know a lot about it, but only know what the leaders of that program said, and if I were in the world out there, looking today, I would try to get into that program where people are making the decisions about the future.
1:06:51 VN: I would do what you’re doing and ask a lot of people in the industry that you’re interested in, because I think the answer depends. For journalism, I totally agree with what Jana and Valerie said, and I love how Valerie said that some companies will pay for your Master’s, because that Master’s Degree may help you in making a transition. You do journalism for a few years. You decide maybe that’s not for you and you want to go to the next thing, that degree will be there and probably would help you if it was an MBA or whatnot, but I think your education and your Master’s Degree, doing what we’re doing in the trenches is highly valuable, and you can’t get that in the classroom. The networking is really important, but you can do that by joining professional organizations, like SPJ, or AAJA any number of journalism organizations. Google it and you’ll find out where, you know, there are scholarships to be had, fellowships to pay, you know, for your work, and that’s where you can develop a lot of great contacts, and you should – this is the first step in your network right here. Get everybody’s information. Get on their Twitter, their Facebook, their card, email, whatever the case may be. Make your connections every chance that you can because this business ends up getting very, very small.
1:07:55 VCM: Absolutely. I have a question. How many of you have business cards? Good. But you know what? Every single student – I tell my students all the time – I teach at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I teach The Art of the Interview. Our first class was yesterday, and when they left, I told them, “It’s not that I have stock or anything in VistaPrint, but vistaprint.come, you can get 250 free business cards. Go there right away.” There is nothing worse than meeting someone who would like to help you, and then they say, well how do I get in touch?” And the student takes a piece of paper, tears it and starts writing their name down. Your professionalism starts now. And so, if someone says, “How can I get in touch with you?,” have your business card. Your name, the year you graduate, the course of study and your contact information. Always have it with you. If you jog, if you play golf, if you run out to do something, have it in your wallet. You never know when there’s going to be an opportunity. My dad, Belva knows this story contained in my book because I believe this very much applies to everything in life. My dad always says, “the rearview mirror” when I was facing a tough situation. He would say, “Valerie, why does a car have a rearview mirror?” The answer was, “So you know where you’ve come from.” He’d say, “That’s right, but what happens if you look in the rearview mirror too long?” The answer was, “You won’t know what you run into.” He wasn’t talking about having an accident. He was talking about, you won’t know what opportunities you run into if you’re just looking in the rear view mirror. You’re not looking forward. Business card? Looking forward.
1:09:37 JK: One quick thing – just to add onto that – if you do do a card, one thing that I’ve found recently that a lot of people are doing, are putting a link to like a website or even if you have YouTube, if you’re in broadcasting, even if you do a student project, pop it on YouTube or put it on Vimeo, you know, put it online and then you can just have a little line, you know, underneath your mobile and your other info, and then that gives somebody a way to see what you do and that’s a really good tool, so that’s another thing I would just add to what Valerie said.
1:10:07 TM: Ok, it’s one o’clock right now but we’re going to try to go for 10 more minutes, so we’re going to try to get in a few more questions. Who has questions? Yes. Roland, what’ve you got?
1:10:20 Roland: Thank you guys for being here. I just had a quick question. I guess this is for all – anyone who wants to answer on the panel. I’m here for a gender course and I see obviously, you guys –there is a large span of years in journalism, but I’ve never spent time in a newsroom. I’ve kind of done PR things, more recently, I’ve had an internship with the Mayor’s Office, but if you could speak a little about to the dynamics of men and women. Do you see more women in the newsrooms now or – ? Because, obviously, I’m from Los Angeles and when I look at the TV now, I feel like most of the TV anchors are women, women like Pat Harvey, a lot of different, you know, but if you could speak to maybe the newsroom and the changing nature, if any?
1:11:09 JK: We have men at KTVO, and they’re cool.
1:11:15 BD: There is something there. When the airwaves were dominated by men, the salaries were better. The working conditions were better, and as the conditions became more volatile and without as many rewards, the men migrated and women moved in because we were willing – we were the ones willing to take the sacrifice. We were willing to work for less because we were – you know, we were mowing down old barriers, so I think everything rights itself eventually, and hopefully the salaries are going to go up again, and a guy can feel that he can support a wife. And many women who come in are single and can do other things.
1:11:54 VCM: I was just going to –one quick thing – if you’re going into the industry and you – as a male- your opinion is that there are a lot of women, and maybe you’re thinking that you don’t have an opportunity, look everywhere. I mean, you know, television isn’t just commercial television anymore. It’s multimedia, so you have the opportunity to have your own podcast. You know, you have the opportunity to do many things that we didn’t. I wouldn’t look at it so much as, there are so many women and so what’s the culture in the newsroom? I would look more at what is the culture in management? Because it’s managers who make the decision as to whose going to be in the newsroom. And unfortunately, often too many female choices are made for reasons that are not the legitimate reasons that we talked about here. So the culture of that newsroom could impact you but not for the reason that you think. It could be that it’s showing you what management thinks, how they operate, is this a place for you? Is this a place for opportunity for you? Or is management clearly on one road and if you’re not the right size, color, gender, shape or whatever, it’s better to know that early on and then look somewhere else.
1:13:11 Sahira: Hi, I’m Sahira, I’m a freshman, and I’m wondering, maybe this is off-mark a little but when you’re reporting, are there taboos? Are there things that you can and can’t talk about? Ways that you can and can’t say something, you know, issues that you can and can’t discuss and does this apply more to women? Does it apply more to people of different races, is it general? Just putting it out there.
1:13:32 TM: It’s a huge question!
1:13:34 S: Yeah!
1:13:35 JK: Is there something in particular – like in a particular instance that you’ve seen or that you wonder about?
1:13:42 S: I’m just putting that out there, because I hear just like rumors and things in the more like off-color media, the sort of lesser-known sites about, “Oh, there’s things that you can’t talk about on CNN. ” You know, there’s things they can’t say, blah, blah, blah.
1:14:00 VN: I think you’re talking about something called “broadcast standards” and every medium is going to have a different level, right? What The Onion reports versus TMZ versus what a network like an NBC or an ABC or a Fox reports, that’s all going to be different. Cable versus broadcast, so it really depends on the station for which you work and the medium itself and what your lawyers and what your ethics department and what your news director is going to tell you is acceptable.
1:14:27 TM: Could I maybe, like, narrow your question a little bit? OK, just pick off a little piece of it? So one of the things that I think I hear you saying is, “Are there certain questions or things that it’s difficult to ask people about?” Would that be something worth asking? OK?
1:14:42 S:Yeah, for sure
1:14:45 TM: Ok, so if maybe some of you could address a situation where you had to talk to, even perhaps a volatile interview, or you had a touchy question you had to ask. How do you approach that?
1:14:54 BD: Well, I’ll just give you a little history. The first time I wanted to do a story about breast cancer in women, I was told I could not do it. And I got into a big fight with our company, fought it all the way to the manager in New York, eventually got the story on the air, and – but it took pushing. So, I think we’ve pushed most of the walls today, but there are still topics like that sometimes, you’ll be challenged on.
1:15:25 VN: I just have to share something so funny that landed in my inbox, because Belva just said, she had, you know, a breast cancer – it’s like, you know, we have pink ribbons totally the norm now. Someone just pitched me from a PR company, a story about vaginal rejuvenation. Actually did a blog post on it. I’m going to post it tomorrow, but I mean, that’s how far we’ve come, from you had to fight all the way up to New York, and here I’m getting a pitch, about, you know, uh plastic surgery for your va-jay-jay. I mean, that – and you know what, if I were at Fox still and this is what I wrote back, I may have been able to pitch that story and we may have been able to cover it. Or it would have been a topic on the morning show, so times have changed. Attitudes have relaxed. I mean, standard [inaudible] very specific to, you know, the story and the outlet that you’re working for.
1:16:13 TM: This lady in the blue and white – yeah, you in the blue. Your hand was up.
1:16:20 Theodora: Hi, my name is Theodora, and I’m a senior, and this is mostly to those who work in radio because I spend at 10-month internship at Alice for CBS radio. They always mention, like, how radio is shrinking and how tiny it’s becoming from when they first started. Are you noticing that? Like is it harder for people to get into radio?
1:16:44 AD: Forgive me, because I don’t really pay too much attention to the business aspect of it, but I know that this is because the larger corporations are buying up all of the airwaves and the stations, but I mean, when I first started at KCBS, it was in 1994 and that was a few months before I graduated, and I would say at least half of the same staff are still there. So I don’t notice it at KCBS. I know that it’s a pretty well established Bay Area institution. I haven’t worked at any of the music stations but I know that they’ve got to a lot of automated technology, and that has erased jobs, so in that aspect, I would say that it is shrinking, but the staffing levels at KCBS – because we have to have, you know, feet on the ground out in the street has not changed since 1994. But I don’t know if that’s an anomaly or not.
1:17:28 T: Thank you.
1:17:29 TM: Yeah, over here. Yes, mmm hmm. Ok. I can do two more questions. Yes, go ahead.
1:17:40 Hi, good afternoon. I’m Kristen. I’m a junior at the San Francisco State University, and my future, I would like to become an anchor eventually, my question is, though, I interned recently at a prominent news station in the Bay Area, and I noticed that anchors and reporters are given the story to report on for the day. What my question to you is, what’s the level of autonomy for you to find your own story that you’re passionate about , that you have your interest about, for it to be heard on a regular news, prime time news session?
1:18:18 VCM: We’re all reaching for the microphone. You prove yourself, you do your assignments. You take whatever the assignment desk gives you. You do it well. But in the mean time, have your ideas. Let them know. It may not happen right away, but if you keep coming back with ideas that are decent and good, someone may start looking. The other thing is know your assignment editor and know your assignment desk. How do they work? CNN in New York, for example, it is – we’re doing so many stories that rely on outside sources as well, that sometimes our rundown is there. It’s already set. There’s not any room for anything that’s additional, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still say, “You know, on today’s newscast, we did this. I actually have a contact who can do that. Here’s a story idea.” Write it down. Give it to the assignment desk. If they don’t do anything with it, I don’t think you should look at that as a negative. Be consistent. Be deliberate. My first rake at KRON where I was hired to be the researcher for Phil Wilson, who was the investigative reporter, I started researching faster than he could give me stories. I finished everything up and so it was like, “Ok, Phil. What’s next?” And he was like, “I’m fine. Just go do something.” And I would go to the assignment desk, and at the desk I said, you know, “Are you going out on a story? If there’s no reporter going, may I ride with the crew?” I did that so regularly that when the crew was leaving, they would stop by my cubicle and say, “Valerie are you working or are you rolling with us?” And I would always say, “I’m rolling with you!” And one day, it was a story that just kind of blew up. It wasn’t expected to be as big as it was. They didn’t have a reporter on it, it was the crew and I was rolling with the crew. And here they said, “This is going to be the B-section lead. We need this to be a minute and thirty, and we need you back in the house in 45 minutes to edit.” And I was just like, “What is the – how can I do this? ” The way I did it was as a student, I always was there, asking, I want to go in with the reporter and watch him or her edit. I wanted to know how they did it. I knew what the language was. I knew what the personalities were like. And remember, I told you about crews? The crews were so great, I looked at my crew and said, “They want me to do a this!” And the crew turned to me and said, “No problem. We have your B-roll. What you need to do is go over here and do your standup.” That’s how I did my first one. So, always being curious. Always being ready to say, “Yeah, I can do that. I hope I can. I hope I can.” And having people who say, “Yes you can, and here’s what you do.”
1:20:49 TM: Yes.
1:30:54 Alum: I’m an alum, and this is just a point of admiration, and what I admire is your abilities to ask questions, step back and look so involved when you’re getting your answers. I particularly admire when I watch KQED, Belva. She asks a question and then she lets the person answer it and she does not waiver. So, I’ve seen all of you on the air, I believe, or heard you and that is what I admire about all of you. Ask a question and then let the person answer it. Thank you.
1:22:03 TM: Speaking of thanks, we would like to thank Mary Wardell and Adriana Broullon from the Office of Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach. They have done extraordinary work in putting this event together. Ann Marie Devine, also from – tell me your office? The Office Of Communications. I just think of her as the person who is the link between me and the outside world here at USF. Anyway, thank you so much. She helped put this panel togther. Roger Salquist, who had the idea. Provost Jennifer Turpin, who is sort of like the engine behind this. Who else? The Department of Media Studies. The Journalism Minor. Foster Johnson for putting together our video, and most of all, our incredible panel. This has been such a gift to the University. Thank you so much. There’s – Valerie and Belva’s books are for sale over there. They just brought in fresh sandwiches over there. Thank you all for coming, and thank you for making this a great event.