For many, the media serves as a voice for the people, a foundation for political understanding and a reliable source of information. With media professionals attending to such a massive portion of the public, it came as a surprise to two Reynolds School seniors that there weren't many resources for women in media to be empowered and shape the world with their ideas.
Madeline Purdue and Andrea Heerdt conceptualized and hosted the first Creating HerStory: A Women in Journalism Summit on Saturday, April 14. The event consisted of four workshops and a keynote lecture from Annie Flanzraich, an influential reporter and writer in the community.
A group of 15 students who attended this weekend learned from Reynolds School staff members Alison Gaulden, Vanessa Vancour, Myrton Running Wolf and student media leaders about negotiating salary, battling sexism, looking at diversity and getting involved in student media.
The event came to life when Purdue and Heerdt both attended the ASUN Elect Her event held in fall 2017. For Purdue, the incoming editor in chief at the Nevada Sagebrush, the Elect Her event was inspiring but left her curious on how she could impact young women in media.
"I saw how inspiring (Elect Her) was to female students and how it impacted them to run for office," she said. "While that event was amazing, it didn't really apply to the journalists sitting in the room. I thought: why couldn't this apply?"
Heerdt, the editor in chief at Insight Magazine, also fell in love with the idea to put on a workshop to empower women in media.
"This year, I was the only female student media leader at UNR, and Insight Magazine's staff happens to be all female for the first time," she said. "My staff and I thought it would be great to team up with Madi and help fellow students take advantage of some of the great advice professors, student media leaders and local professionals had to offer."
Purdue and Heerdt are hoping to make Creating HerStory an annual event to create a strong network among young female professionals in the field, year after year.
"When you enter the workforce and are fighting for equal pay, you won't just stand there with no idea where to start," Heerdt said. "Events like this give you the tools you need to take matters into your own hands."
With a weekend full of empowering women, Purdue and Heerdt walk away excited that their words will have an ever-lasting impact.
"I do think that once women have the tools, and they feel empowered, they're going to change everything," Purdue said.
For more information about the event visit: journalism.unr.edu.