Photo courtesy of CreatingHerStory
Students participate in a unity activity at Creating HerStory on Saturday, April 14. The summit was created by journalism students to empower women.

Students from the Reynolds School of Journalism came together on Saturday, April 14, to learn how to address issues such as the gender pay gap, sexism and racism in the workplace. This first ever Creating HerStory event was organized by student news editors, Madeline Purdue from The Nevada Sagebrush and Andrea Heerdt from Insight Magazine, to help media students get a jumpstart in their careers.

The event was comprised of a series of workshops led by journalism professors and award-winning journalists. Workshops covered how to negotiate salary, be an ally in the workplace and how to overcome workplace obstacles. Students met with each workshop leader for a half hour and engaged in a lunch discussion with keynote speaker Annie Flanzraich.

Flanzraich is a Reynolds School of Journalism alumna and owner of Flanz Writes. Flanzraich shared her experiences from internships and jobs while sharing tips for what she called, “How to stop freaking out when you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life.” Some of Flanzraich’s work tips were to be politely persistent and to accept that change is inevitable.

“Your professional education and development becomes your responsibility,” Flanzraich said.

Journalism professors Alison Gaulden, Dr. Myrton Running Wolf and Vanessa Vancour led the group workshops. The professors gave advice based on their professional backgrounds.

While the event comprised mostly of female journalism students, it was open for all students to attend. Angela Lujan, 25, who is an English major and Insight Magazine staff writer, came to find out how to address issues of representation and shoot for higher salaries. Gaulden provided Lujan and others advice and information on how to negotiate salary, and how to be confident in doing so.

“I feel that I’m more prepared to try to negotiate a salary at this point,” Lujan said.

Dr. Running Wolf ran a workshop on representing minorities in film and media industries, including how to be an ally in the workforce. The students participated in an awareness circle exercise where they discussed how to better serve minority communities in media.

Vancour’s discussion workshop covered how to overcome obstacles women face in the news force such as sexism. Students learned what questions to ask when going for a job and how to advocate for themselves.

“We had a small, intimate crowd, but I think it was perfect for the first time we had this,” Heerdt said. “It wasn’t too overwhelming for anyone. I feel like everyone really learned a lot.”

The event ended with organizers Heerdt and Purdue sharing their stories about how they got involved in student media. As female student news editors and leaders of their publications, they shared how students can participate and contribute content.

This is the first ever Creating HerStory workshop to take place at the University of Nevada, Reno. Heerdt and Purdue were satisfied with the first event and believe the small crowd was intimate and effective.

“I’m excited to see where it goes in the future and I think if we continue it on, the workshops will only get bigger,” Heerdt said. “It can only go up from here.”.

Note of Disclaimer: HerStory was organized by Sagebrush staff member, Madeline Purdue.

Karina Gonzalez can be reached at and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.