I sent out several emails to some of my role models in the broadcast industry, particularly in the Phoenix market, for our leadership styles analysis paper. Some are still getting back to me, and a couple of days ago one of my biggest Valley role models responded.
I actually Facebooked Kristin Anderson, one of the anchors and reporters for KSAZ Fox 10 Arizona Morning. She has a heavy social media presence, both on Facebook and Twitter, and I knew I would be able to best reach her this way. When I interned at Fox 10 last spring, she was a friendly presence both in the newsroom and in the field, and I was lucky to shadow her in the field many times. She was a willing leader, and stepped into the role of mentor easily. Kristin had nothing but encouraging and positive words of advice, and thanks to social media I’ve been able to keep in touch with her as she continues to establish herself in Phoenix (she arrived to Arizona Morning in Fall 2010).
My questions for the journalism leaders I interviewed included:
-Who were some of your earliest role models in the industry and out of it?
-How do you define leadership in this industry?
-And what leadership roles have you taken on in the community and in the newsroom?
Kristin is a good example of both a journalism and community leader, and I think I look to her because I am able to relate to her in a variety of ways. Her response to my first question was similar to what mine would have been. She said her dad was her earliest role model, because growing up he made her feel like she could do anything she wanted to do and let her know that she was capable of it, as well. My dad provided this encouragement for me, as well, and as a journalism leader in his own right, showed me that it was possible to go as far as I wanted to when I set my mind to it. These thoughts, in my mind, mirror much of what our goal was in the Legacy Project. We set out to become role models in a way with this project, and I believe we have created something extraordinary that will set the tone for next year’s project, too.
When I asked Kristin about what it means to be a leader in journalism, she responded with the following: “…someone who sets a positive standard professionally and interpersonally. A leader is someone with fresh ideas and continually evolving, always getting better.” This made me think of our setting examples at various events, including the Farm Days event, where we set out to set a positive standard and create a good experience for the children we were volunteering for and with. I agree, too, that a leader is someone with “fresh ideas,” and this brought me back to our Films Presentations, where many groups presented their films in an original way. I particularly think of the School of Rock group, who were well organized and prepared to lead us through their film and its meaning to our particular context.
Lastly, Kristin said that she is fortunate enough to hold a number of leadership roles in the community, but that her favorite is being a mentor to women in the television industry. Having worked with her, I can safely say that she is passionate about her mentorship role, and I think a lot of what I learned about leadership in the newsroom came from working with Kristin and the other strong females in the Fox 10 Arizona Morning newsroom. Likewise, I think this is an important role we can all play in one way or another having taken this class. We learned a lot about leadership from each other and from our own experiences in the Legacy Project and our volunteer projects. These lessons are vital, in my opinion, to our sense of self and our leadership styles.
So I pose the above questions to all of you: what does a journalism leader look like, both in and outside of the newsroom? And what do you think was the most valuable leadership lesson you learned this semester?
It’s been a privilege working with all of you! Thank you for a fantastic semester!
Facebook interview with Kristin Anderson. 26 April 2012.
Given that March is Women’s History Month, and based on recent blog posts on various leadership blogs, I thought it might be interesting this week to reflect upon the female leaders in our lives. One blog in particular, Lip-Sticking, focuses on women’s issues and women’s roles in society, particularly as leaders and businesswomen. I enjoy it because it often makes me reflect upon how I can be a strong, female leader in my generation and an example for younger generations, especially if I am fortunate enough to one day have a daughter.
One question I have for all of you this week is: what woman in your life do you perceive to be a leader? Do they lead out loud, or in a more silent, powerful manner? I fondly recall one of my high school English professors, a woman named Dr. Conway, who lead in a silent but very powerful way. She was quite the feminist and ever the intellectual, and really spurred my passion for literature into action. She left my sophomore English class with many words of wisdom, including the insight to never feel limited by the roles people saw for us. If men or even other women perceived us a certain way, she dared us to break that mold and show that we were more than what they thought. I always appreciate that one of the ways she saw for us to do this was education, and that she lead by example with a Ph.D in English Literature!
Speaking of perceptions, there was an interesting article posted on Lip-Sticking on March 2 entitled “Copping Out of Opting Out.” It addresses the idea that many women choose to “opt out” of the workplace still in favor of raising children and focusing on family, or taking on other ventures, and that other women often opt out of the professional areas they have come to dominate. This latter category includes women such as Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey, both of whom recently chose to break out of their comfortable roles in daytime TV, in which they were prominent leaders, to try something new. The author of the article, Yvonne DiVita, goes against what many critics are saying about them now and asserts that just because “their new endeavors are not yet wildly successful, is not to say they don’t still deserve our admiration.”
These women and other powerhouses like them are enduring struggles just as they first did when they entered their original professions. Just because they chose to break out of the roles in which we are comfortable seeing them does not mean we should write them off as failures. Rather, we (men and women alike) should all be so brave to break outside of the mold and past our comfort zone to become leaders in a new field. Even if we fail, we can still lead by example and pick ourselves up again, learning from our mistakes and becoming better people and leaders for it.
So I pose the following questions to the class this week: what women leaders make or made a difference in your life? What kind of leaders are/were they? And what role, if any, do you think you need to or want to break out of in your personal/professional lives? I still sometimes find myself arguing with my mother and grandmother about the concept of “having it all”–a family and a successful professional life, and I’m working to find a balance of both.
Image courtesy www.oprah.com
As promised last Monday, a little experiment in Storify, where I track Occupy Phoenix through its official coverage, citizen journalism, and social media:
[Please forgive the short, lazy blog post; all my energy tonight went into the Storify itself.]
… that is the title of my first blog EVER in history published in the Croatian media, i.e. medium – my Croatian TV. Small step for mankind, but giant leap for my two or three fans back home! It is the official start of me like a new media journalist, which is the real purpose of me being here and now. I shared sad moments with you, my dear Humphrey Fellows (and hopefully many other readers in the future), and I feel like sharing a happy one too.
It was on the front page of the www.hrt.hr all day yesterday (Croatia is 9 hours ahead), and further on you can see the link on the HRT blog page. It is only in Croatian, but you will certainly recognise the photos of Arizona and me. Also, the second link in the blog is on Malik Siraj Akbar Writes.
Who has ever had a heretic thought of not loving social media?