I feel fortunate to work at a publication that reports the truth, supports its staff, and amplifies marginalized voices.
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Nearly six months into my tenure here, I can say unequivocally, I love DAME magazine.
Journalism is a second career for me. After spending many years working in consumer finance, I decided to return to school at the age of 40 and pursue my passion. I set out to major in English, and my plan was to write my ass off.
One of my professors suggested I take a journalism class. I was immediately hooked. I had found my lane.
I went from J-school directly into a corporate newsroom. I learned a lot, built up my reporting and writing chops, learned to be a good editor, and made a name for myself in a very short time. As much as I loved that newsroom, there were things that bothered me while I was there. My biggest issue is the corporate overlords.
When your newsroom is owned by a corporation—or worse yet, a private equity firm—you find that it is sometimes hard to do your job as you envision it. Corporations often answer to advertisers, and advertisers often don’t want hard-hitting journalism. They want content that won’t hurt people’s feelings or force them to face uncomfortable truths.
When your newsroom is dictated by private equity firms or advertisers, you may find that you may not get the resources you need to report your stories. It gets tiring and frustrating, and it is a huge reason a lot of people are leaving legacy newsrooms for the greener pastures of freelance and/or independent journalism.
I am one of those people.
I left my corporate job last November. My plan was to take it easy for two months and then start fresh in January as a freelance entrepreneur.
Through a series of very fortunate circumstances, I was introduced to Jennifer Reitman, DAME’s publisher, by one of my favorite people, John Stoehr of The Editorial Board.
Jennifer was looking for someone who could do some deep dive reporting into the history of white vigilantism in the United States, and John felt I was the right person for it.
Jennifer and I hit it off immediately—our first phone call lasted for two hours. I told her about my background, what I envisioned for my future, and the kinds of opportunities I was looking for. Specifically, I told her I no longer wanted to be chained to a desk. I wanted to be able to write whatever I want, for whomever I want. While I don’t mind editing, writing is my first true love, and I wanted the time and the space to focus on that.
“I want to work with you,” Jennifer said. “You need to come to DAME.”
It was a match made in heaven, and I am glad I said yes.
I cannot express enough how affirming it is to have a boss who wholly supports not just my work, but me as a person. I am a woman who has a million story ideas swirling around in her head for myself or other writers, and DAME always finds a space for it. But it’s more than that.
In a media landscape that tends to favor voices that are loud and white, DAME seeks to amplify the voices of writers from marginalized groups, inviting us to write about subjects closest to our hearts and most urgent to our lives. It’s something that every newsroom should do, but we know that they don’t.
DAME presents voices and ideas that often get shouted over or talked down or erased in other newsrooms. They don’t shy away from telling it like it is, even when the truth hurts.
DAME is an important part of the media landscape at a time when U.S. journalism is a hellscape. These voices need to be heard. They need to be supported. They need to be amplified.
There are no corporate overlords here. We don’t answer to advertisers. We are not owned by a private equity firm. We are run entirely by women, which is probably my favorite thing about it. We are the very definition of independent journalism, and what we do is very important. I am happy here. I feel fulfilled. It is probably the most low-stress job I have ever had in my life. I want to stay here as long as possible and do good work.
So I am going to end this little gush fest with a personal plea:
If you enjoy my work and want to see more of it, please support DAME.
If you value truth over sanitized “news,” please support DAME.
If you believe in amplifying the voices of women and trans people, please support DAME.
If you want us to keep separating the bullshit from what is real, please support DAME.
We need you.
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