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Fellow's oral history project will capture their experiences, challenges

Yong VolzWith gender disparity still present in some newsrooms, the accomplishments and contributions of women journalists aren’t always acknowledged in the public eye. Missouri School of Journalism Associate Professor Yong Volz wants to give women journalists a chance to speak up as she pursues a fellowship at the Reynolds Journalism Institute this fall.

Yong will be connecting with women from various life stages and career statuses to gather insights about their professional experiences and association life through recorded oral histories.

“It’s not so much of an interview,” said Volz. “We want to hear their voices, their perspectives and their own experiences. It’s more conversational. Just let them talk.”

Volz is not only interested in career lives but also the women’s involvement and participation with gender-based professional associations such as Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS). She will be partnering with JAWS to identify the women to include in the project.

She is also curious to learn more about how in the post-feminism era “gender continues to structure and condition the field of journalism.”

“Their accounts will also advance our understanding of the strategies and circumstances that have facilitated or hindered their careers, and thus serve as a resource for those who seek to foster diversity in the field,” said Volz in her fellowship proposal.

She in interested in learning the strategies these women have used to advance in their careers and help one another succeed. The focus will move beyond how organizations/journalism schools can help women enter the traditional male-dominated field of journalism and explore how to help these women succeed once they get into the field – how do women get the professional recognition they deserve?

“We want to focus on not only how to get them in the field but how to help them grow,” says Volz.

Volz plans to use the oral history data, as well as data she gathered about female Pulitzer Prize winners, as core materials for research-based journal articles and a book.

Jennifer Nelson  
Senior Information Specialist


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