This month, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to feature a few of the women in communications that we most admire. We kicked off our March series in honor of Women’s History Month with a spotlight on Tracey A. Reeves, Director of Media Relations for Johns Hopkins University.
In this post, we’re shifting our gaze to the world of journalism. Editor Linda O’Flanagan (pictured at center, above) and reporters Sarah Trefethen and Holly Dutton (pictured above, at left and right, respectively) make up 75% of the editorial staff at Real Estate Weekly, which covers news affecting the commercial, residential and industrial New York real estate markets. To read more about how these women found their way to the paper, click here.
What did you think you would be when you “grew up” — and are you doing that now?
Linda: I initially wanted to be a veterinarian, but when I discovered what that entailed, I changed my mind. I am a wimp at heart, and although I still love animals, I can’t even cut my cat’s nails — never mind perform surgery!
What has always driven me in my work is my love of the human spirit, as dramatic as that sounds. People never cease to amaze me, and telling their stories allows me to be a part of that. Whether they have designed a magnificent building, figured out the engineering, carved the stonework or even sold the apartments, the passion that people have for their work can be infectious. I aspire to transfer that passion through the written word and, hopefully, inspire and amaze other people.
Sarah: There’s a scene in Superman II where Lois Lane is climbing up an elevator shaft spelling out the words “Pulitzer Prize” to keep up her spirits. I loved that scene as a kid. I spent my teens and most of my twenties traveling and collecting experiences rather than building a career, but when I finally decided to pick something to be when I grew up, that came back to me. I am, however, yet to find myself trapped in an elevator shaft.
Holly: Growing up, I was always interested in the news and I loved to read and write. I would religiously watch evening news broadcasts and shows like 20/20 as a young child. I remember setting up my own “news” broadcast with a video camera in my father’s home office in elementary school and then self-penning a school newsletter in junior high.
When I reached high school, I took a journalism elective my freshman year. One of our first assignments was to write a hard news story about a current event. The writing felt completely natural to me and exciting, and that’s when I knew for sure I wanted to go into journalism. In my senior year of high school, I took a photography class and fell in love with it, so I ended up combining my two passions and studying photojournalism in college. Now, at 28, I’m writing and photographing for a living and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
How have you seen women evolve in your profession since you started?
Linda: There are many women working in the field today. Frankly, I am of the school that your gender shouldn’t matter, although I know that it does, particularly in an industry dominated by men. My inclination is always to simply do my best and conduct myself in a professional manner and I encourage any young woman entering the business to do the same. Fear is what will hold you back in any business, so I say embrace the challenge and nothing will hold you back.
As a communications professional, what do you feel is your most important responsibility?
Holly: I feel that my most important responsibility as a reporter is to communicate all aspects of a story as best as I can. I want someone reading one of my stories to be engaged, find the story easy to understand, and feel that I covered all the bases and didn’t leave them with any unanswered questions.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Linda: Undoubtedly it is meeting people. Whether they are amazing, inspirational, genius or downright dumb, the diversity of the world really floats my boat. I have been lucky enough to meet great business leaders, celebrities, athletes, and regular Joes, and every one of them has impacted my life.
One big secret that few people know: I still enjoy writing obituaries. You can rarely tell from just looking at someone the kind of life they have lived. I love to see beyond that and get a glimpse of what made them who they were.