I Am Woman (Roar!)

This is a guest post by my SHIFT colleague, Colleen Wickwire.

Last week a handful of SHIFTers attended the Girls in Tech “Journalism 2.0 RoundTable” event moderated by Kara Swisher of All Things D. The panel of journalists included TechieDiva’s Gina Hughes, ZDNet’s Jennifer Leggio, Ubergizmo’s Eliane Fiolet, VentureBeat’s Camille Ricketts and Deborah Gage (formerly of the SF Chronicle, who’s now working with Reuters).

Topics ranged from the evolution of citizen journalism to how women in tech can earn respect in a predominantly male dominated industry. Answer:  Be on top of your game at all times, don’t let the doubters get to you and, if all else fails, resort to violence (Kara’s strategy).

Some of the best insight came when the panel shared their advice for young women starting out. I’m glad the consensus was to INTERN, INTERN, INTERN! I think it’s something that should be a no-brainer for every college student out there – especially in today’s market where graduates are competing against seasoned professionals for entry-level positions. Other discussion points included saying “yes” to everything (even if you’re afraid of it) and never taking “no” for an answer.

These are important lessons for PR newbies – and good reminders for pros. Taking advantage of every opportunity is great, but being proactive is even more crucial to success. Seek out opportunities on your own and be persistent. Journalists (and for that matter, everyone you work with) are busy and they are going to ignore you – if you are confident that you have a relevant story, don’t be afraid to keep at it until you get their feedback (within reason of course). I think the first few years in PR are the toughest, so if you can persevere then PR might be a good fit. Above all, be confident in the value you bring to the table – that’s how you’ll gain respect from girls (and boys) in tech and beyond.

I asked panelist Jennifer Leggio a few questions since her career experience includes a stint in PR (after she worked at the Orange County Register and before writing for ZDNet). I also started out in news and had my own misconceptions about the industry (no, we don’t just send pitches all day long), so I asked her what surprised her most – both positive & negative – about PR. Here’s her answer:



Posted on: August 16, 2009 at 4:10 pm By Todd Defren
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