I am incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to job-shadow Valerie Casselton, Executive Editor of the Vancouver Sun on Thursday! As part of the Minerva Foundation’s Follow a Leader Program, an initiative that pairs female ’emerging leaders’ with female ‘community leaders’, I was able to be a fly on the wall at the Vancouver Sun’s offices. The very gracious Ms. Casselton told me all about her job and included me in Sun editorial meetings where I got to see first hand how editorial decisions were made!

We also had an amazing ‘power lunch’ with national political columnist Barbara Yaffe, and Sports Editor Bev Wake, where we talked about women in the newsroom, discrimination that they experienced early in their careers, and feminism!

One of the most interesting experiences was talking to Sun Editor-in-Chief Patricia Graham, one of Canada’s few female editor-in-chiefs, about feminism and the future and the history of the feminist movement. She had some fascinating stories to tell and we talked extensively about the biased coverage that female politicians sometimes receive.

Particularly interesting was a story that both Valerie and Patricia mentioned to me that truly put into context how I have felt about the need for women’s voices in the media. Apparently, when a sexist headline was run accompanying the story of the success of a female politician, both took note of the sexism and proceeded, not only to point it out, but to insist that such an oversight not happen again. It is so incredibly gratifying to know that the people in power at the Sun are cognizant of such things and passionate about creating news free of the sexism that other news outlets are prone to.

I must say that I am deeply indebted to Ms. Casselton for her time and attentions, as well as, to Ms. Graham and all the other people at the Sun who showed me around and shared their time with me. I am also particularly grateful to the Minerva Foundation, who made this opportunity possible. I encourage you to look into the Minerva Foundation, which is a phenomenal organization and to consider applying for the Follow a Leader program in 2008!

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