Welcome to carol jenkins:media, a blog about media–especially media by and about women and girls and people of color.
This Blog: Media is my family business. Both my father and stepfather were journalists; my daughter is a writer. I spent a full career as a television journalist–anchoring, reporting, producing the news. The highlight was standing outside Nelson Mandela’s home in Soweto the morning after he was released from prison. The sight of him waving to the schoolchildren, skipping along in their brightly-colored uniforms, took my breath away. Impossible to top that–but as funny as life is, being included in the Superman comic, above, was a real thrill.
These days , in addition to developing media projects, I am writing and speaking about the media–as well as advising companies, organizations and individuals on their media needs.
I also continue to speak about the economic status of Black America, based on the book my daughter, Elizabeth Gardner Hines and I wrote about our uncle: Black Titan: A.G.Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire.
We need media that includes everyone’s story–and everyone’s voice. Thanks for joining me here to help create that media, Carol.
Monday morning, February 04, 2013 will be the beginning of the next life of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Famous for her staggering work ethic, she has been on the job, she says, from the time she was 13 years old. On Monday there will be–presumably–a reprieve.
In her latest incarnation as Secretary of State she visited 112 countries, traveling nearly a million miles to hold 1,700 meetings with foreign leaders. She concluded this heroic stint with a virulent bug and fall, a concussion, blood clot–and five hours of testimony in Congress on the Benghazi attack. By almost all accounts, she clobbered doubters in Congress–and her doctors predict the same for her lingering health side effects: complete victory.
This week’s farewell tour with the networks, beginning with an unprecedented joint interview with President Obama, has only served to polish up her already shiny reputation. She considers one of her main accomplishments to be the restoration of confidence around the world in America’s ability and readiness to lead–a reputation seriously tarnished during the preceding administration. For Clinton’s lending of her smarts and popularity (nearly 70% approval rating) she deserves, and is getting, the thanks of the American people.
During one of her televised interviews she seemed genuinely not to know that a SuperPac has already been established for her run for president in 2016. At this writing “Ready for Hillary” has almost 52,000 Twitter followers and over 30,000 Facebook fans –with the opportunity of throwing money into a presidential effort coming soon. Hillary Clinton insists that at this point all she knows is that she will write, continue to work for women and girls, and may join up with her husband’s global work.
Like the rest of the world, I am eager to know about the next Hillary adventure. As a reporter I sometimes covered the Clintons–from Little Rock on election night, at the conventions, through the bad times–and believe she has the best shot of becoming our first woman president, and could do it in 2016. Her famous quote about violence against women not being cultural or custom, but criminal, stands out as a line in the sand the world must adhere to.
Today, in one of the final exit appearances, she gave a wide-ranging summation of her tenure at State before members of the Council on Foreign Relations. A guest in the speaker series “Remarks on American Leadership,” Clinton spoke for more than a half hour in a formal address, urging that we must understand that “leadership is not a birthright. It has to be earned by each new generation.” And that what we must do now is build a smart, flexible structure for it, “more Frank Gehry” than the classical Greek architecture we’re accustomed to; that reservoirs of good will will not last forever, they need to be replenished.
The four operative levers as she sees them are: “widening our aperture” to include the people of countries as well as governments, because they increasingly drive the economics and politics of a country; engage civil society in the nuclear non-proliferation agenda; recognize “the new Silk Road” of creating jobs here at home from countries abroad; and finally, what she calls “the unfinished business of the 21st Century”: equality for girls and women, and their inclusion in peace , security and economic building.
And, interestingly, Clinton had much to say about the media: correcting erroneous statements about our country, protecting the freedom of the internet (“the country that built the internet should protect it”), building a 21st Century state of the art approach to social, and all media.
Hillary Clinton had a very big close to her work at the State Department, one that left her in probably the best position of anyone thinking about running for president.
If she is thinking that.
Like many in these United States–and around the world–I am tuned into the second inauguration of Barack Obama: a time of assessment, a time of re-set of goals and hopes. The last time around I was on the Mall, one of the 1.8 million who wouldn’t have missed that historic moment for anything in the world.
Much has changed because of this man’s leadership. There is so much more to do. The question for those of us tuned in this time from the comfort of our homes: how can we help?
Here’s a piece I wrote from Washington, DC for The Women’s Media Center, my thoughts on the first swearing in of the first African American president.
REMAKING AMERICA, January 21, 2009
In the darkness of predawn, we walked silently through the streets of Washington to take our places on the mall. As the day began, there was no noisy jubilation, only the sound of forward movement, a determination to secure a spot to witness history. Mine was about midpoint among, we believe now, a million and a half witnesses.I stood next to a middle-aged man wiping tears from his face as his wife leaned into him; behind a mixed group of young men—black, Asian, white—in awe of the spectacle; in front of a group of older black women, quietly insisting the younger, taller ones stoop down so they could see. They responded quickly with a smile. I’ve never been in a more congenial, optimistic, unified throng.
I’m sure the others were like me: carrying our ancestors on our shoulders for a good look at what was about to happen. I carried my late mother, born on a farm in deeply segregated Lowndes County, Alabama, one of 15 children with a not atypical heritage: parts slave and slaveowner, even a few confederate officers tossed in. My late father was there, too. Born in a time when black men were denied first-rate educations, he and my mother nevertheless carved out a successful life in the old America, needing to fight every inch of the way against discrimination and unfairness. Because of that fight, their granddaughter graduated from Yale and Harvard.
I had that daughter with me, too, courtesy of texting—from the mall to New York City and back, our expressions of incredulity and celebration. A president that reflected our life experiences was now being sworn in: the crowds cheered and waved flags—American flags that belong once again to everyone. My daughter’s late father was with us: an immigrant from Jamaica who came to America as a dishwasher and created two signature New York City restaurants of his own. My son was on my mind: adopted as a baby, his heritage is Latino, his biological parents from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. But most essentially he is a black man in America. Suddenly, possibilities for him seem improved. And I thought about my granddaughter—due in April, a biracial child who will come into the world with a biracial man as President of the United States. The world for her will never seem alien. She arrives at a moment in history when she is actually a part of the narrative, not the subtext.
Barack Obama, in one sense, remade America by taking the oath. But the most important messages of this historic inaugural were not words—they were acts. On Monday here in Washington, D.C., we celebrated the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Then still President-elect Obama took a paintbrush to the walls of a shelter for homeless teens—part of the declaration of a day of service in memory of the slain civil rights leader. Thousands more across the city did the same.
This is our true mission as we leave the scene of great celebration: to remember the homeless we saw sleeping in doorways as we made our way to the fancy inaugural balls last night. To determine acts to accompany the words that will counter the deepening economic distress we woke up to this morning—affecting, increasingly, not only the anonymous buried in the statistics, but people we know, perhaps even ourselves. To remember the women, still the poor and vulnerable of the world. And to remember that ever more importantly, we must tell their stories—tell them straight and strong so we move people to act, as well as think and feel.
I’m a long time admirer of the work Marianne Schnall does. Her feminist.com website preceded the proliferation of women’s/feminist sites and she does some of the best interviews on women to be found.
Up now on the Huffington Post, a powerful collection of statements from influential women on the upcoming election: what’s at stake, what difference will our votes and voices make? I’m honored to be included on this list.
Among the voices you will hear–that of Ai-Jen Poo, one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2012. Head of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Co-Director of Caring Across Generations, part of her contribution:
“When women vote our values, we make a decisive difference. When women organize and build our power together, we make history.”
Influential Women Speak Out About the Election
A great piece in the NYTimes, Monday, October 29th, about Sally Kohn, the progressive analyst on Fox News. Sally is one of ours: a graduate of the Progressive Women’s Voices training program at The Women’s Media Center.
When we began our intensive media leadership program in 2009, this is exactly what we had in mind: delivering a cadre of women who could effectively advance the progressive, feminist, activist point of view.
To date we have added over 130 women–and now a class of girls–to the important conversations of our time.
More about Progressive Women’s Voices on our website, www.womensmediacenter.com.
Congratulations to Sally, and all of the other terrific women of our program who do such a great job articulating the cause of women everywhere.
So pleased to announce this year’s Carol Jenkins Emerging Journalist award winner–Sarah Hoye of CNN. Based in Philadelphia, she’s one of the hardest working journalists in the country. The Women’s Media Center is happy to acknowledge her excellence as an All-Platform Journalist. The honor will be bestowed at WMC’s gala in NYC on November 13, 2012. Tickets available at http://www.womensmediacenter.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 29, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Women’s Media Center announced that The 2012 Women’s Media Awards will honor journalist Sarah Hoye, All Platform Journalist for CNN, who will receive the Carol Jenkins Emerging Journalist Award.
The award, which is given to a journalist with promise, is named after Carol Jenkins, an Emmy-winning former television journalist, who was the founding president of The Women’s Media Center and now serves on its board. Hoye, who is the second recipient of the annual award, is based in Philadelphia where she covers regional assignments and breaking news. She has covered several prominent national stories, most recently, Philadelphia’s violent teen mobs, the Catholic priest sex scandal, and a doctor accused of murdering a patient and newborns.
“Sarah Hoye is the journalist’s journalist, essentially running a mini bureau on her own. ` She researches, writes, shoots (video and still), and edits compelling stories,” said Carol Jenkins. “She has distinguished herself in the field with numerous awards–and I am thrilled to bestow one more on her shoulders (with all that equipment!)
I have this image of her as a 12-year-old on her paper route in Milwaukee (just like her older brothers)–and love her description of clothes covered in printer’s ink, a harbinger of a career to come. That 12-year-old wanted to become a writer–dream fulfilled–and our pleasure to honor her for her contributions to the media.”
The Women’s Media Center previously announced that Pat Mitchell, President & CEO of The Paley Center for Media & Founding Co-Chair of The Women’s Media Center, will be presented with the Women’s Media Center Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award and that Martha Nelson, Editorial Director of Time Inc. will be presented with the Women’s Media Center Going The Distance Award. Mitchell is the first recipient of the award named in her honor. Lisa Ling, Host of Our America With Lisa Ling on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, and her sister, journalist Laura Ling, will receive the Women’s Media Center Sisterhood is Powerful Award.
The honorees will be presented with their awards at The 2012 Women’s Media Awards on Tuesday, November 13 at Guastavino’s in New York City with all three Women’s Media Center Co-Founders, Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem in attendance.
Hoye was among CNN’s first team on the ground to cover the aftermath of the catastrophic tornado that touched down in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as well as the Gulf Oil Spill which earned the company a 2011 Peabody Award, the oldest award in broadcasting, and considered among the most prestigious and selective prizes in electronic media. She was named 2009 Knight Digital Media Fellow for the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Program at the Ohio State University where she produced an in-depth multimedia package on the experiences of multiracial teens. In 2008, the National Association of Black Journalists named her Emerging Journalist of The Year.
Hoye has worked at The Tampa Tribune/WFLA News Channel 8, The Lexington Herald-Leader and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“I am honored to receive the Carol Jenkins Emerging Journalist Award that gives a voice to those who don’t have one,” said Hoye. “Being a journalist is not just what I do, it’s who I am.”
The Women’s Media Awards recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to advancing women’s and girls’ visibility and power in media.
“The Women’s Media Center exists to change the status of women in media. Because 51 percent of our population is women and only 3 percent of all clout positions in media are held by women, the Women’s Media Center Awards were created to honor champions for women who use their media platforms to tell the stories, facts, and solutions crucial to all viewers and to advance opportunities for women in media,” said Julie Burton, President of The Women’s Media Center. “Because media tells our stories and influences the role of women in every part of society, we are proud to honor these amazing leaders who set the standard for what media should look like when it gives voice to the female half of the country.”
Yanique Richards, a Howard University broadcast major, was the recipient of last year’s Carol Jenkins Emerging Journalist Award.
The 2012 Women’s Media Awards are co-chaired by Loreen Arbus, Donna Deitch, Jodie Evans, Fonda, Jenkins, Robin Morgan and Steinem.
The Women’s Media Center spearheads strategic programs aimed at transforming the media landscape including media training, media monitoring and activism, original media content, media reports, media programs and initiatives. It was founded in 2005 by Fonda, Morgan and Steinem.
To buy tickets or for more information about The 2012 Women’s Media Awards and the ongoing work of The Women’s Media Center, go to:
For more information, contact Cristal Williams Chancellor, Media Relations Manager, email@example.com or 202-587-1636.
This piece looking at the challenges women face these days is up now on On The Issues magazine’s website. (www.ontheissuesmagazine.com) In it I talk about the writer Marilyn French, novelist and Harvard PhD essayist who with Esther Broner, leading light of the Women’s Seder and Haggadah, a magical ritualist and Gloria Steinem, the ultimate femenist, activist, writer and I shared a 20+year four-pointed friendship that we called The Coven. We’ve lost Marilyn and Esther, but their impact intensifies. I can only imagine what they would have to say these days!
Where’s The Women’s Room This Year?
by Carol Jenkins
Few wanted to believe when Marilyn published The War Against Women 20 years ago that the systemic and organized resistance to women’s equality in the world …
The above photograph comes from the website of www.feedingamerica.org–engaged in running food banks and school pantries across the country.
It is a reminder that while we fixate on certain numbers–96,000 jobs created, 8.1 unemployment; President Obama, according to Gallup got a bounce, now 49-44 in his favor–that missing almost entirely from the current conversation are poor people: our kids, our elderly, and everyone in-between who are, on any given day, hungry.
On the heels of the DNC and RNC, the US Agriculture Dept released the Food Insecurity numbers: they remain at sky-high levels, with 20 per cent of families with children food insecure (skipping meals, not enough food on the table.) That number for African American families is 29.2 percent. Are we not scandalized? Will we not find a way to fix this very essential problem?
I thought about the local soup kitchens in New York City: it’s not who think showing up for a hot meal. When I’ve volunteered, I’ve seen every ethnicity, every age, including people wearing their work uniforms, passing through the on the lines–individually and whole families.
Let’s think hard about the people behind these hunger “statistics”…the real numbers that reflect who we are as a country.
We haven’t had much experience in talking about wonderful women keynoters at political conventions-and how a speech catapulted them to higher office-but Sandra Fluke’s performance this week at DNC2012 is surely one of them.
The object of Rush Limbaugh’s ire and spite when she defended the idea of insurance for contraception did well–better than well–she was dignified, articulate and persuasive. In fact, she may have eclipsed Elizabeth Warren, who followed her on stage.
Limbaugh–in one of the more blatant instances of sexism in media– thought he was attacking, over the course of a week on his radio show, a helpless, defenseless grad student. He had no idea. From the start of her public story Fluke has been formidable. So the question–will the Georgetown Law School grad run for office? In some interviews, that door seemed open:
Asked if her barnstorming speech on Wednesday night was to serve as the springboard for a political career in Congress, she replied: “Maybe, some day, we’ll see, but right now I’m just focused on re-electing our president.” Andrew Gully (AFP)
She has a party ready to run her. Not only did the DNC alter the speaking schedule to make sure Fluke got into prime time, it made the text available:
Why Are Women Only 17% of Congress?
By Carol Jenkins | September 5, 2012
As Michelle Obama delivered her outstanding speech at the Democratic Convention last night, at least one network ran a reminder across the bottom of the screen: Michelle Obama graduated from Princeton, and Harvard Law School. Oh, yes, that’s right. This self-proclaimed “Mom-in-Chief” is also brilliant. With a speech like that — arguably better written and delivered than any we’ve heard this election season — she should run for office herself. (President, 2016 anyone?)
Of course many women do run for office, but only belatedly find out elections can look far different depending on the gender of the candidate. This is often true whether the race is for city council or president. Widespread sexism is a major barrier to women’s equal representation. This is why projects like Name It. Change It., which seeks to identify, prevent and end sexist media coverage of women candidates and politicians are so important.
A group of experts in the field of elections spent the day in Charlotte yesterday discussing women running for office. We were brought together by Swanee Hunt, the former ambassador to Austria, philanthropist and women’s advocate. One of her new initiatives, the non-partisan Political Parity, intends to double the number of women in Congress by 2020. That would mean women would occupy 34 percent of the seats, instead of 17 percent — a number Debbie Walsh of Rutgers’ University’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) calls “pathetic.” The 17 percent figure puts the United States in something like 94th position in terms of women’s participation in government.
CAWP’s new effort, The 2012 Project, presented some encouraging numbers: women broke the record filing to run for the U.S. House this year: almost 300 did so. More than 160 survived their primaries—and there is hope that in November women will break the 20 percent marker.
And so, yesterday 100 invited women leaders of the Democratic Party (a similar gathering was held at the RNC) sat down to explore women running, and winning. The Women’s Media Center’s Name It. Change It. project is a partnership with Political Parity and She Should Run sponsored by the Embrey Family Foundation and the Barbara Lee Foundation.
Name It. Change It., regularly tracks sexist and gendered coverage of women in politics (you can read some of the many examples on their blog, or follow them on Twitter), but they’ve also produced a media guide to help reporters (and everyone) spot the sexist and gendered coverage of women candidates and politicians.
At the Name It. Change It. panel discussion in the afternoon, which followed a morning of analysis and hard-core, necessary statistics, we got down to the real-life experiences of several successful Congressional candidates. Sitting with us on the panel, led by Sam Bennett, head of She Should Run: Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Alabama’s first black woman representative, who told of intrusive and inappropriate questioning of her as a single woman running for office; and Latina Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, who ran for South Florida’s 18th District in 2008. She raised $1.3 million dollars but found herself in a “beauty contest” with media concentrating on her looks, as opposed to her positions. Others told of fabricated video and deliberately sexual front-page innuendo meant to derail their campaigns.
Attorney Gloria Allred, and To the Contrary host Bonnie Erbe rounded out the panel with their years-long experience seeing the sexism, and battling it. Actor/activist Ashley Judd earlier in the day urged women to run, promising that if you step forward, we women will support you. And we got to meet Katherine Archuleta, who is political director of the Obama re-election campaign–the first Latina to hold that position on any major presidential campaign.
The day was kicked off by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Her advice for battling the war against women underway: “Don’t agonize, organize.”
It was money on the mind of famed pollster, and Name It. Change It. partner, Celinda Lake. She said all of her pages of Power Point could be summed up this way: what women candidates need is money. Help them get it, tell them how to spend it, and there will be more women in elective office.
Getting women to run is the first step, but making sure they can fight on a level playing field is equally important.