GUEST BLOG: Mizzou Alumnae share their favorite things about being a woman in media

by Alli Ladd 0 Comments

By Micheala Sosby

Micheala Sosby is a junior studying convergence journalism at Mizzou. She is an Audience Engagement Specialist at MizzouRec and recently got a new writing gig at Levo League. Micheala loves caffeine, S’mores PopTarts, Lake Michigan and all things Amy Poehler. 

Being a woman in the media industry comes with a unique set of challenges, whether we like it or not (we don’t always).

Despite the fact that for the first time ever, a woman is more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than a man, dozens – if not, most – industries still put up dismal numbers reflecting a gap in women’s representation, especially in corporate leadership. This holds especially true in the media world. Too many women in our profession will face harassment, threats, stalking – the list goes on. I won’t go into any more detail because unfortunately you need only look at the latest Women’s Media Center annual report, read the news or talk to your colleagues to understand what I’m getting at. 

And yet despite all of the garbage women in media deal with far too often, I think we still have so much to be happy about. We can demand change and in the same breath celebrate our triumphs. This is so important and I don’t think it’s practiced often enough. We can always do more to support and brag on the amazing women who call themselves media professionals.

So, I want to introduce you to seven Mizzou alumnae who are incredibly successful women in our field. I guarantee reading their responses to “What’s the best part about being a woman in media?” and “Describe a positive experience you’ve had as a woman in media” will give you reason to believe that our gender is more a blessing than a curse. With that said, make it a point to give out (literal or figurative) high-fives to your colleagues when they’re kicking ass.


Kristin Wilson-KepplerKristin

‘96 BA History, Political Science minor

Senior Producer at CNN covering stories from the Papal Visit to the GOP Primary – and everything in between.

Favorite things at Mizzou: I have to say my favorite things at Mizzou had very little to do with the academics — football games, basketball games (basketball was king when I was there) and I had a great job at the University Club. Harpo’s was the place to hang out, and whenever the weather was nice, we were on the Quad. I won’t confess to climbing the columns, but we all know it’s a graduation requirement!

Career highlights: I’m not sure I could pick out one great experience. There have been so many. There was something very special about producing the story of the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the March in Selma, Alabama. Walking over the Edmund Pettis bridge with Rep. John Lewis as he talked about being willing to be beaten, arrested or even killed simply to REGISTER to vote was a powerful moment – it might not be about being a woman in particular, but for all the fighting women have had to do to get ahead in this once very traditional man’s profession – there was something dignified in how Rep. Lewis chose to fight – with class and with dignity. Women don’t have to scream and yell for equality. We simply show class, show grace, and be the very best.

What’s the best part about being a woman in media?

The best part about being a woman in media is that women – now more than ever – are making their mark in journalism. The road paved by Marie Colvin, Elizabeth Neuffer, Candy Crowley and Jill Abramson – among so many others – have made it possible for women to cover stories that were before left to the men. War, politics, the military, sports and have shown that women can be the boss of a powerful media organization. Plus we can do it in heels. Try having a man do that.

Describe a positive experience you’ve had as a woman in media.

I count three people as mentors in my career. The great Leroy Sievers, who I had the joy to work with at Nightline and who I have missed every day since he was taken from us in the summer of 2008, taught me to look at every side, listen to every voice. Never judge, even when you want to, and to make sure you are having a great time along the way. “When this stops being fun, it’s time to walk away,” he would say. He had the big booming voice and a big booming laugh and he could convincingly argue both sides of a story with such conviction that you never knew what he really thought. Until he laughed.

Tom Bettag, another Nightline alum. We teamed up again at NBC. He has walked me through my career for years, counseled and nudged, pushed me and even let me freak out when it wasn’t going “my way” – he is the best of the best of the best. He took a chance on me as a rookie. I owe him my career.

And, certainly, Candy Crowley. If a woman in media thinks she can’t make it, just look at Candy. She was a single mom with two boys and a career just on the edge of either taking off or fizzling. If that moment doesn’t make you pull up your bootstraps and get it done, nothing will. No whining. No complaining. She also taught me the delicate balance that women in the media have to find between home and work. There is no better set of footsteps to follow. I hope to be half as good as her someday.


Abby RogersAbby

‘10 BJ Print and Digital

A Plus, Lead Social Media Editor

Career highlights: The places I’ve gotten to live and the experiences I’ve had. I’ve reported and lived in D.C., Yosemite and super tiny towns in California and New York City. I’ve covered some really cool things and lived places I never really thought I would.

Favorite things at Mizzou: Being a part of The Maneater. I learned more as a reporter and editor for The Maneater than I did in quite a few classes honestly. I was way more prepared to enter the job market because of my Maneater experience.

What’s the best part about being a woman in media?

The other women I’ve gotten to work with. I’ve met and learned from some truly incredible women. New York media women are very tough and smart, and I’ve learned more in the four years I’ve worked with them than in my whole career probably.

Describe a positive experience you’ve had as a woman in media. Quite honestly, there are so many women in my immediate New York media circle who are amazing. From my old boss at Fusion, who taught me so much of what I know now, to women I barely knew at the time, but who were willing to make time in their schedule to meet with me and teach me just to be helpful. Women in media are really amazing.


JazminJazmin Burrell

‘15 BJ Strategic Communication-Account Management, BA Spanish

Public Relations Intern at FleishmanHillard Dallas and Contributor for BuzzFeed Community

Career Highlights: Having multiple job offers after graduation, Seeing my work published for the first time, Receiving the AAF-KC Scholarship

Favorite Things at Mizzou: Mizzou Alternative Breaks, Tiger Stripe Ice Cream, going to Obama’s Inauguration

What’s the best part about being a woman in media?

Since I’m a double minority by being black and a woman, I love being able to bring a perspective that is not often represented in the boardroom. I’m new to the industry but I love being able to collaborate with different people and knowing that my voice and life matter.

Describe a positive experience you’ve had as a woman in media.

A great experience I had was the Griffiths Leadership Society. There are so many professional women of all backgrounds that can help you break into anything. None of my mentors are journalism professionals, so don’t limit yourself at all! Be open to all assistance and realize that we are all on the same team…trying to take the seats in the Old Boys’ Club!


Isabelle RougholIsabelle

‘08 BJ News – Editorial

International Editor at LinkedIn

Career highlights: Reporter at The Cambodia Daily in Phnom Penh after graduation, then worked on a documentary inspired by my stories. Joined Le Figaro and The New York Times International Weekly in Paris in 2009. LinkedIn since 2012, first in Paris, now Sydney.

Favorite things you did while at Mizzou: All the hours I spent at The Missourian, as a reporter and assistant city editor. I fondly remember a reporting trip to New Orleans for the first anniversary of Katrina, and writing the subsequent Sunday cover story alone in the newsroom at 3 a.m.

What’s the best part about being a woman in media?

Not specific to being a woman, but unequivocally, the work. Writing is my daily source of joy.

Describe a positive experience you’ve had as a woman in media.

I can probably point to a dozen more senior women who have been my teachers and my cheerleaders along the way. Peer mentorship has been tremendous, too. I work alongside the most incredible young women and have kept in touch with quite a few from Mizzou as well. There are ugly clichés about how women behave with other women – in my experience we lift one another up far more often than not.


​Emily Stewartemily-stewart_360

’11 BJ Convergence, Multimedia Design, ’14 MA with a focus in accessibility in web design
UserTesting, Web Designer

​Career highlights:
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’d say implementing a responsive redesign for the UserTesting website and the UserTesting landing pages (webinars, ebooks, etc…) was a rewarding challenge.

Favorite things you did while at Mizzou:
One of the best things about the journalism program at Mizzou is how flexible it is. I was interested in learning iOS app design and was able to pursue this as an independent study. [Unrelated to journalism], it’s definitely a toss up between 1) Mizzou Snowpocalypse 2011 or 2) attending College GameDay in 2010 when #11 Mizzou upset #1 Oklahoma. We got to the Quad at 4:30 a.m., tailgated all day, attended the football game that night and celebrated until 3 a.m. It was exhausting, but totally worth it.

​What’s the best part about being a woman in tech. I think people are becoming more cognizant of gender issues in tech. We still have a long way to go—but I’m glad to be proving certain stereotypes wrong. Yes, I’m a designer who codes…and I happen to be female.

​Describe a positive experience you’ve had as a woman in media. 
My design mentor, Charlie Triplett, was crucial to me pursuing design as a career. I still draw on the feedback and advice he gave me.


Kathryn LucchesiKat

‘09 BJ Radio-TV, will graduate with an execMBA in May 2016

Mizzou Football Multimedia Director

Career highlights:

Covered NFL Combine, NFL Draft, two SEC Championships, five bowl games and an ESPN Carwash. Really every practice and game are experiences I’ll never forget!

Favorite things you did while at Mizzou:

I miss covering high school football with KOMU!

What’s the best part about being a woman in media?

Hopefully leading a path for others to follow!

Describe a positive experience you’ve had as a woman in media.

I couldn’t do this job without the help of two Mizzou students, Kennedy Calton and Caroline Hall.


Rachel Coleman Rachel

‘12 BJ Strategic Communication

Senior Account Executive, FleishmanHillard Chicago

Career highlights:

I was recently chosen to attend FleishmanHillard’s first-ever Central Region Young Professionals Summit, which brought together a handful of young professionals across FH’s Central Region offices for a day and a half of presentations, workshops, activities and networking. Attendees were hand-picked for their leadership and dedication to the firm. Other highlights include being able to work on a wide variety of clients and projects everyday that allow me to strengthen my communications skills and grow as a PR professional.  

Favorite things you did while at Mizzou:

Socially, going to football games are a huge highlight of my Mizzou experience. One of my favorite Mizzou memories of all-time is when we beat #1 Oklahoma during Homecoming and got to storm the field. It was such a rush celebrating with the whole stadium and the players. It’s a moment I’ll always remember. Also, this might seem small, but I still get cravings for El Rancho’s steak nachos!

From a more educational standpoint, a huge memory was my trip to New York City with the J-School during my senior year. The J-School organized an amazing two-day trip that was filled with visits to PR and advertising agencies, magazines and creative studios. I met so many amazing professionals, learned about awesome campaigns and programs, and really got what I thought was a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the world of media works.  

What’s the best part about being a woman in media?

I prefer to think of myself not just as a woman in media, but as a professional in media. Media is everywhere! I love that I am working in an industry that reaches all types of audiences. My job allows me to influence people and opinions through creative and meaningful programs, which I think is an incredibly powerful position to be in.

Describe a positive experience you’ve had as a woman in media.

The general manager of my office is a woman, my supervisor is a woman and my mentor is a woman, so I am surrounded by smart, successful and powerful women everyday!  My growth as a PR counselor and professional is largely in part due to the things I’ve learned from the women in my office. In addition to the skills they’ve helped me develop, they have all been great advocates for me as I move through the ranks and are always there to offer advice about the challenges I’ve faced as a young professional.

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