U.S. Consulate in Jeddah conducts workshop on women in media

The event started with the introduction of a newly appointed Information Officer John Elliott

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The Public Affair Section of the U.S. Consulate here arranged a workshop Thursday, which was attended by current and aspiring journalists and media persons.

The event started with the introduction of a newly appointed Information Officer John Elliott followed by the introduction of a Columbia Journalism School professor Betsy West.

West presented her innovative, multi-platform project “Makers: Women Who Make America,” a series of dynamic stories about the struggles of women in American media.

The event screened five excerpts from hundreds of interviews conducted with women of achievement in the media, such as Oprah Winfrey, Christiane Amanpour and Barbara Walters.

The documentaries showed the effort of women in the 60s and 70s as they surmounted obstacles and hardships in media and other fields.

The stories mentioned their challenges in the face of inequalities, harassment, low payment, injustice and lack of opportunities.

Women endeavored to fight for their rights and achieved what they wanted, as they proved they deserved it.

Toward the end of the evening, West took questions from the attendees, many of whom represented different fields of media.

The questions raised were about the differences in Saudi and American society, and the ways in which Saudi women struggle.

For a woman, her greatest challenge is to balance her family life and career.

“I am impressed on hearing the news that Somayya Jabarti is now the first woman editor-in chief of a newspaper in the Kingdom. I hope one day I’ll be documenting the story of Saudi women in media for 'Makers,'” said West, who is the executive producer of “Makers.”

West and her team at Storyville Films oversaw and conducted most of the interviews. She is currently working as an executive producer of another documentary, with senior producer Barak Goodman.

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