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Mary Kay Blakely says what she has to say at The History of Women in Journalism

Mary Kay Blakely talking about The History of Women in Journalism at Columbia Public Library
YuMin Ye

Miranda Priestlys do exist. Just ask Mary Kay Blakely, a professor of journalism who relates to Andrea Sachs’ character from The Devil Wears Prada when she explained that she could not tell the difference between two seemingly identical cerulean belts. On Tuesday night at Columbia Public Library, this celebrated magazine journalist gave some great life advice:
Do what you have to do. Say what you have to say. People will recognize your motives. You will be forgiven.
Facts thrown at people are not remembered, but facts woven into a story are. Throughout the course of the evening, Blakely shared stories about her times spent teaching journalism and writing about subjects that generated a lot of reader mail, such as the first time she ever considered becoming a journalist. She wrote an article that sparked a three-month debate about whether or not she was a communist and that took her down her journalism path. Deep down it’s all about the passion.
During her time spent at Vogue, Blakely was able to write about women’s topics, abuse and child pornography because the magazine is about pictures and fashion. The words didn’t matter so much. Well, after finding a photograph that depicted child pornography, Blakely decided to write an article talking about why pictures like that one cannot be taken and even though "Vogue" never published the article, it was shown to the whole staff and another photograph like that was never taken again. It is safe to say that Blakely’s words do matter.
After sharing her stories, she left the floor open to anyone with questions. Journalism may have changed over the years from paper to digital, but people will never give up reading and there will always be some people who prefer scrolling through the news on their tiny screens, while some will always prefer to hold the news in their hands to flip through. What’s important though, is the soup, not the bowl.
Women feel the divide between having a career and having a family, but men feel this way too, even if at first they think life is all about them and what they want, not what’s best for their family. It’s also interesting that older men can be on TV, but not older women. People still want news magazines. After all, if you drop your magazine in the bathtub, you’re not going to get electrocuted.
Finally, some people think that if they want to relieve stress, they should not read the newspaper. But Blakely reminds us that we should still read the newspaper to find out the “goal of where we’re going.”

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