Jenny Rogers, the assistant editor of The Washington Post’s outlook section, will make her first trip to South Dakota later this month. She will deliver a talk, “The Enemy of the American People: Working as a journalist when half the country doesn’t trust you,” at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at the South Dakota Art Museum.
The talk, which is open to the public, is sponsored by the SDSU Foundation's Women and Giving program, University Programming Council and the SDSU Journalism Club. Rogers’ talk previews the second annual Women and Media Conference, held Sept. 21 at the Holiday Inn-City Centre in Sioux Falls. The event for professional journalists is organized by former SDState assistant journalism professor Teri Finneman.
Finneman asked Rogers to visit because it is important for journalists to have conversations with students and the public in this age of rampant misinformation.
"With so many accusations of fake news and attacks on journalists occurring, it's critical to have real conversations about how journalism works and how we serve the public," Finneman said.
Rogers also has another topic for discussion.
“I’ll talk about how to be a journalist and still be a human being,” Rogers said. “What I most want people to understand about our profession is that it's a big tent. You do not have to have a certain personality or a particular set of interests to be successful in this field. I often felt like a lightweight compared to some of my colleagues because I liked reading fiction and watching trashy TV and I followed pop culture. However, I've learned that my interests are assets. I want the women at the conference to know that they don't need to downplay anything about themselves to work at the Washington Post.
“This profession is about people, so I love any chance to meet new people,” she continued. “This business grows from the bottom up; I want to meet the next generation at this conference—and maybe find some new freelancers.”
Rogers said working in Washington, D.C., could be viewed like working in other large cities, with one exception.
“Here, you can get stuck in the vice president's motorcade traffic,” she said. “I come from local news, where we tend to distinguish between ‘Washington’ and ‘D.C.’ Washington is Congress, the think tanks, the federal government. D.C. is the city where regular people live, and most of us don't live and die by what happens on the Hill.”