One of the most inspiring sessions at the National Association of Broadcasters Show was the Women in New Media Session. I originally expected the session to talk about the struggles women were facing in the media industry and offer some cliches about what we can do to overcome the sexism we face. However, this session was full of strong, empowered women who discussed their achievements. The panelists were skilled filmmakers, internet content creators, producers, hosts, and writers (who were accomplished in more than just one area). They discussed how they got their projects off the ground, how they marketed for their projects, and why they chose their career path. The main focus of the session, and how the professionals were able to pursue their passions, was networking to break into the media industry.
Jenn Page, one of the talented panelists, emphasized the problems women faced, “as women, we get in trouble because we are nurturers, we want people to like us, and we say ‘yes’ to too much shit.” As women who wish to break into the industry, she suggests asking for help. “Don’t be scared to ask because the worst that can happen is ‘no;’ ask for help and build a community [of women who will help]” Page expressed. So basically, stop being such a Regina George. Women will change the face of the media industry (and society in general) by bonding together and lifting each other up.
We had the honor of interviewing another panelist, Sandra Payne, an LA-based writer, director, producer, and owner of PurseDog.TV, who wholeheartedly agreed with networking with other women. “We need to continue on the path of making our own opportunities,” Payne said. “[Women bring] so much to media. We need a balance of how life is approached, and women provide the balance. If everything is male-centric, you lose a lot of wisdom and you lose a lot of what the world needs: our compassion, our ability to be inclusive… which is an important thing in media.” Payne is the prime example of a strong woman in media that the session discussed; in an interview she gave us, she touched on her struggles to pursue her passion, not the gender-based complications she had faced. Payne did not think of herself as a female writer, director, producer and owner; she holds all of these accolades without any reference to her gender (as if gender impacts the ability to hold a career in any field… LOL). I think this attitude is incredibly important for the millenial generation of women to embrace. As future industry pros, we are not relegated to female prefixes. “Media is how a lot of us experience the world,” Payne accurately observed. As women, we need to get our stories out there. Our gender is not a handicap; being women in media provides an incredible opportunity to join together, rise up, and kick ass.
– Lauren Peterman