Park School of Communications Honors Women in Media as Part of Women’s History Month

By Stephen Shoemaker, March 2, 2016

Park School of Communications Honors Women in Media as Part of Women’s History Month

The Roy H. Park School of Communications is celebrating Women’s History Month with a series of events that begin on Thursday, March 3. Women in Media will shine a light on the underrepresentation of women in the industry as a whole, while highlighting some of their accomplishments in all aspects of the field.

The school’s annual Park Distinguished Visitor Series kicks off the series on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with filmmakers Sarah Moshman and Dana Michelle Cook. Their documentary film, “The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things,” follows their journey with three other filmmakers as they embark on a trip across the U.S. to spotlight women in leadership roles from a range of industries and lifestyles.

Moshman has worked as a field producer for “Dancing With the Stars” and other reality programming on ABC, as well as other network and cable channels. “For me, I was turning on the TV and only finding so many negative messages for women,” she said. “From the magazines we read, to the songs we listen to on the radio, it’s like the media is perpetuating this feeling to women that they are not good enough as they are and that we live in this male-dominated society.”

Cook has managed product placement and been a freelance field producer for shows like “Design on a Dime” on HGTV and “DWtS,” as well as producing original content for network and cable. She said she began to realize that reality programming often pitted women against each other as catty, degrading antagonists.

“And I thought, 'What are the messages we’re buying into as women, but even worse, what kind of example are we setting for young girls who are watching this?' And I knew something needed to change,” she said.

On Tues., March 8, which is also International Women’s Day, the Park School will host a panel discussion featuring alumnae and current faculty. It will be moderated by Cindi Berger ’83, who is the chairman and CEO of PMK*BMC Public Relations & Marketing, and who represents such clients as Barbara Walters, Robert Redford, Mariah Carey and the Dixie Chicks.

The other panelists include Chrissy Guest, an assistant professor, who will talk about her research and production on women in animation and her own career as a technical director and director; Anna DeShawn Rainey ’08,  director of webcasting services at INXPO and founder and director of E3 Radio, who will provide an overview of how she balances her ‘day job’ with her passion for founding ‘authentically edgy’ streaming radio programming; and Allison Usavage ’11, the marketing strategist at Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement and a photography entrepreneur, who will share her perspective on resources for women entrepreneurs and her own entrepreneurial efforts right out of college.

“I hope that participants learn about the challenges that women and other underrepresented groups face when they engage in careers in all aspects of the media – and that they have the power to change the current dynamics,” Diane Gayeski, dean of the Park School, said. 

“Our speakers are wonderful role models of women who have empowered themselves and others to assume roles to which they aspire.”

The full list of events:

The Empowerment Project
Screening and Q&A with the Filmmakers
Thursday, March 3, 7:30 p.m., Park Auditorium
Emmy Award-Winning filmmakers Sarah Moshman and Dana Michelle Cook created a documentary that shines light on positive female role models. This event is funded as part of the Park Distinguished Visitor Series through generosity of the Park Foundation.

Media for Social Responsibility Mini-Course
2016 Topic: Women Working Behind the Scenes 
March 3 and 4 from 7:00-10:00 p.m. 
March 5 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
This mini-course open to all IC majors will allow students to meet the women whose faces are invisible to television and movie audiences, but whose impact on the final production is enormous. Guest speakers will participate both in-person and via Skype.

Women in Media Panel
Tuesday, March 8, 12:10-1:00 p.m., Park Auditorium
Women make up the majority of students in the Park School – but not in the media industry! Join the Park School of Communications as we host a panel of distinguished female media alumnae, faculty and staff to discuss these issues. Keynoter and panel chair will be Cindi Berger ‘83, chairman and CEO, PMK*BNC Public Relations & Marketing, who represents such media giants as Barbara Walters, Robert Redford, Mariah Carey and the Dixie Chicks. 

Women in Media Screening, Special Guests, Reception
Tuesday, March 8, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
The Studio, first level of Center Ithaca, Ithaca Commons
Come join The Studio to Celebrate Women in Media! Students will present their films and other media projects. 

Jessica Savitch Award of Distinction for Excellence in Journalism 
Friday, March 18, New York City 
Barbara Walters will be honored. Not open to the public.

Women in IT Panel
Thursday, March 24, 10:00-10:50 a.m., Campus Center, Kling Lounge
An Ed Tech Day Event, Hosted by DIIS (Digital Instruction and Information Services)
In-depth seminar about the role of women in information technology (IT) and how a diverse workforce makes a more effective working environment.

The Landscapes of New Media: The Habitats Exhibition
Thursday, March 31, 2:35-4:00 p.m., Park 281
Feminist critical analysis and screening of media about and by women presented by Dr. Claudia Pederson, Wichita State University and assistant curator of new media for the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF).