Gravitas Summer 15

Florists' Review Media Group has served the global floral in study for over 124 years.

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Page 44 of 83

GRAVITAS MAGAZINE | 45 F WOMEN IN MEDIA By Katherine Ferrara Johnson or as long as I can remember, journalism was the only career I've ever known – or ever wanted. Some of my earliest memories as a child were gathering around the table for family dinners, watching the nightly news on television. My dad would quiz me on current events and encouraged me to ask questions of everyone I would meet. I was mesmerized watching the authoritative men and women beaming in our home through the small black-and-white television screen, delivering stories from around the world. From natural disasters to international news involving foreign heads of state to stories about cute animals, current events became my way of life. I soaked up all types of media —newspapers, magazines, flipping channels between local stations with lightning speed to see how the reporters told their version of events. I wanted to be the voice for the voiceless, to advocate for the greater good and tell amazing stories. But my wide-eyed debut into my professional career following college graduation was met with challenges and obstacles not taught in J-school. While I had a former editor who swore that the Internet was a fad and wouldn't last 10 years, I was much more realistic in my view of the future of journalism. My ability to excel quickly across multiple media platforms was rewarded with a position in management by my mid-20s. While I celebrated my achievement expecting others to do so as well, I faced scrunity from my peers, especially women. I lied about my age and second-guessed my abilities. I also learned very quickly in my career that women in media – whether peers or managers – did not laud other women climbing the ranks. In some cases, there was a concerted effort to sabotage and diminish my role and value as a woman, both in my job description and pay. Determined to break the Queen Bee cycle, when I was promoted to my first management position, I showed more empathy and more compassion than had ever been shown to me. I mentored anyone who sought my advice — both men and women. Today, I still look for opportunities to share my life lessons and help others. It's my small way of building a new generation of mentors in an industry that has an ability to tear down and break the best in the business. My story is one of thousands across the industry. There are many more women that faced harsher lessons, especially in the generation or two before me. On the following pages, you'll read stories of some of the most successful women in media today, in newspapers, radio, and television from Tampa and Sarasota. In each interview, I asked them to share their personal stories as they climbed the ladder of success, the challenges they faced as women, and the lessons they learned along the way.

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