Tuesday, February 19, 2008

JAWS by Suzie

      I promise to settle into my Friday writing spot, but now that I've figured out some of the mechanics of posting, I'd like to go ahead and tell you about Tad Bartimus winning the Washington Press Club Foundation's lifetime achievement award.
      My career was spent in journalism. As a teenager, I admired Tad, the first female bureau chief for the Associated Press. She wrote about people and places with empathy, as if she were at home. She wrote so well that you forgot her writing. You thought only of the story, not who was telling it. 
      Later, I realized that it matters who does the telling. Different storytellers, different voices, enrich our understanding of the world.
     Tad founded the Journalism and Women Symposium. I was giddy to go to my first JAWS, imagining that I would be going to my home world, full of feminist journalists who would welcome me into the sisterhood. Instead, the women were like my real sisters, each one different, each one with her own ideas. I sent home a postcard, saying I feared I'd feel alienated even in a convention of clones. 
        I found my connection during a night of wine tasting. Earlier, a businessman fondled one of the JAWdesses as he walked past. That evening, we saw him, went after him, surrounded him and made him get down on his knees and apologize. It was sweeter than a late-harvest riesling. 
     That was 1996, when JAWS was held in Napa, Calif. 
    May we all find people to inspire us and come together to confront injustice.