Catherine Combs

December, 2020


The Year in Review

By Becky Brooks, AWM/F Executive Director

Wow – what a year! We are closing out twelve months at a time when most of us can use the phrase, “if someone had told me eight months ago we would…” fill in the blank. The silver lining? There are few times in history where a single event, or experience, has impacted nearly everyone in some way. There is some measure of comfort in that all of us are living with the same uncertainty…and hope.    

In past “Year in Review” reflections, I recall events that took place throughout the year — those moments, by the time we get to December, we forgot happened and the role media played in the storytelling. In the spirit of not “doing things just because we’ve always done them” – I won’t walk down 2020’s memory lane!

What should stay the same, however, is the importance of celebrating storytellers. 2020 was an opportunity for journalists to put into action what we’ve known is true and hadn’t seen to even these extremes – to share the must-tell stories however and from wherever they could – basements, front rooms of apartments, in the streets and everywhere in between. Our connection to media, in every form, was even more powerful in a year that brought a pandemic, social justice movement and a challenging presidential election.

And we have a heightened need to connect with others in person.

Speaking for myself, this lack of connection is real and it’s hard. We have two kids who are attending school virtually since March while my husband and I work from home. As I said at the beginning, if someone told us eight months ago our kids wouldn’t walk the halls of a school and we would work from home through the end of the year – oh, and pulling off events virtually for the first time ever – we would have had a good laugh over the absurdity! Yet we did it. We have enjoyed breathing for a minute when not at a soccer game that was cancelled or swim meet we watched online – and remembered to enjoy every minute of cross country and activities outside.

So, while we don’t want to ignore that things are hard – it’s taught us more in a short period of time than imaginable. We are courageous and tenacious albeit weary. One of my favorite stories of courage is that of the founders of AWM. We celebrate 70 years of AWM next year. Imagine the courage of those women signing an organization into existence in 1951! There were so few women in media roles at that time they formed a group to educate, connect and recognize others just like them.

As we look to turn the page into 2021, we invite you to join us in celebrating the courage of all women in media and supporting our journey. We will offer opportunities throughout the year to engage and recognize those who have inspired you. We need your financial support to keep doing the important work of creating programs, offering scholarships and recognizing the courageous storytellers. Please consider a donation to the Foundation, joining AWM, posting your jobs on our career center and entering for a Gracie. These are all ways to keep us active and thriving and we cannot do it without you.

I am so grateful for the amazing leadership of AWM and our partners who navigated and steered us through 2020 while looking forward to everything that is possible as we build on the lessons from this historic and unimaginable year!

Cheers to 2021!