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Two Powerful Women Leaders Took the Stage in March
Jill Abramson, Executive Editor of the New York Times presented the 2013 Mullin Welch lecture March 19. Abramson, the first woman to hold that post at the Times, spoke primarily about her career path and about truth and trends in journalism.
At the core of her talk was the need for bold, investigative journalism in the midst of a time of transition. Her call for independent quality journalism reflected the New York Times' own realization that reporters and editors had made mistakes in their pre-Iraq War coverage concerning missing Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, Abramson spoke of the new business models being developed by print news organizations. While optimistic about the future of independent journalism, she outlined the difficulties of moving into a digital age. She commented on how newspapers are addressing the mix of online and print availability for subscribers, the need to integrate media into news stories, and the advertising revenue challenges of online media. In addition, Abramson pointed out the disappearance of many local and regional media outlets which, she said, eliminates an important aspect of holding local governments accountable for their decisions.
The Mullin Welch Lecture Series, established in 1989 by Frances Daseler and Marjorie Jackson in memory of their sister Elizabeth Charlotte Mullin Welch, brings to campus lecturers who exemplify Elizabeth's characteristics: creativity, strength of character and expansive vision.
Donna Brazile, well known Democratic political strategist, kicked off the 2013 U-M Women of Color Task Force (WCTF) annual career conference with refreshing humor and insight. In her keynote address, Brazile shared her list of essential leadership traits including honesty, perseverance, compassion and flexibility - all of which, she noted, tend to be common characteristics among women leaders.
Calling attention to International Women's Day on March 8, Brazile also emphasized the importance of advancing the "gender agenda" in the face of current political attacks on key women's issues. Brazile, a proud native of New Orleans and Louisiana State University graduate, has a long list of accomplishments and honors. Among them, she is a noted political commentator, Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and founder of Brazile & Associates, a consulting and grassroots advocacy firm in DC. As Al Gore's 2000 campaign manager, she is also the first African American to run a presidential campaign.
WCTF conference attendees delighted in Brazile's engaging and thought-provoking remarks, a perfect kick-off to a rewarding day. CEW and the WCTF would like to thank TIAA-CREF for being the conference Platinum Plus sponsor.