Inaugural Women In News Summit held in South Africa

July 14, 2017

 

 

 

 

More than 250 women media leaders attended the first ever Women in New (WIN) summit in Durban, South Africa, in June 2017. 

The event was oversubscribed with more than 250 women leaders gathering at the International Convention Centre. 

The summit was convened by WAN-IFR's Women in News programme with WIN MENA director Fatemah Farag and frayintermedia's founder and Managing Director Paula Fray hosting the event.

 

Fray opened by explaining the theme of the event - "breaking through". 

"We gathered here today under the banner of breaking through because we have brought together an incredible array of women media managers who are going to share with us their success and some of the challenges that they have experienced ... so that we too can break through the proverbial glass ceiling and go on to help other women break through."

 

WAN-IFRA's Director of Media Development Melanie Walker said the summit was the culmination of a long journey. 

"What began back in 2010, working with 12 women media professionals in Botswana, Namibia and Zambia, has today grown into a multi-country, multi-regional initiative that counts more than 80 media partners," said Walker.

The event saw two great editors receive the WIN Editorial Leadership Award to recognise their contribution to their newsrooms. The Laureates were Egypt's Karima Kamal, a contributing editor for Al Masry Al Yom and Kenya's Pamella Sittoni, who is Nation Media Group's Managing Editor.

 

Keynote speaker was Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa who spoke about the challenges faced by women in the news industry and also gave advice on how women could be successful managers: "The key thing is always to be able to control you own fear ...  when you're managing a business, if you can conquer your fear and have clarity of thought to make the right choice, that's what you're after."

 

The event also presented an opportunity for media professionals to reflect on the moments that defined them and their work. Al Ghad Newspaper Editor in chief Jumana Ghunaimat spoke of the challenges of being the first female editor-in-chief of Arabic Daily Newspaper saying that "everyone was happy and chuffed and surprised". 

 

Huffingtonpost former editor Verashni Pillay reflected on her recent experiences and shared some wisdom on how newsroom leaders should approach their work. 

"As a newsroom leader, you will make mistakes. It is inevitable. Especially given the pressures under which we work and the dwindling resources. It is how we react to those mistakes that count," said Pillay.

 

Other women sharing their experiences on the podium were Kjersti Løken Stavrum (Norway), Monica Almeida (Ecuador) and Mahlatse Gallens. 

 

Gallens, who is also the chairperson of the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF), ended her presentation with a quote: "Here's to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, and may we raise them."

 

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