Balancing work and family can be difficult for any professional, not to mention a woman simultaneously trying to raise a family and maintain a career in journalism.
New York Daily News reporter Susan Ferraro recounted a tale when she almost lost a telephone interview with former New York Jets football star Joe Namath. During the interview she was suddenly interrupted by the loud, high-pitched shriek of one of her children’s playmates who she was secretly attempting to monitor. She sat humiliated while listening to Namath laugh on the other end of the line. This was just one of the many experiences Ferraro had to share about her life as a female reporter.
Ferraro was honored last night at the Michigan League when she was named the 2002 Michigan Media Award Recipient. The two-year-old award is sponsored by the University’s Women’s Studies Department and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.
Ferraro, a medical reporter for the Daily News, was selected because of her exemplary coverage of women’s health care issues.
“We reward journalists who cover feminist perspectives well … it’s so often an under-represented or caricatured issue,” director of IRWG and event organizer, Susan Douglas said.
After receiving the award, Ferraro gave a lecture titled, “Truth and Romance: Why One Female Journalist Needs Them Both in the Hard Fact World of Twelve Inches at 4 O’Clock” about her experiences as a journalist.
In explaining the title Ferraro joked, “In the newspaper world, 12 inches is considered a generous slice, and keep in mind that I write health, which has a lot of big words … big words take up space.”
The 4 o’clock in her title referred to her unbending deadline enforced by her editors, she said.
“You have to realize, reporters have a few hours to learn everything they can learn about something they knew nothing about when brushing their teeth that morning,” she said.
Ferraro spoke about her mother’s experiences as a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle in the ’40s and the issues female reporters have to deal with today. Switching to a more serious tone, she described her experience covering the Sept. 11 attacks.
“The press was there for you on September 11, and I think the Daily News soared above the rest on the coverage,” she said after describing the trials of her fellow reporters and photographers who witnessed the horror personally that day.
Many students and faculty said they enjoyed hearing Farraro’s experiences in the news world.
“I just came because I like to hear all sorts of perspectives on women’s issues,” Stacey Palazzolo, a senior at Eastern Michigan University said. “But, I thought her stories were hilarious.”