Clare Crawford-Mason

I went back to my high school’s 50th reunion. And somebody came to me and said, “How did you know?” And I said, “How did I know what?” And she said, “How did you know you didn’t have to live the lives our mothers lived?” And I realized as I looked around the room that I was one of the very few people who had had a career, much less a public career.

— Clare Crawford-Mason

Clare Crawford-Mason

Having attended JAWS camps since the 1980s, Clare Crawford-Mason has a sizable collection of JAWS T-shirts reminding her of the annual women’s weekend of relaxation and fun. She identified the highlights as learning from conference speakers and having the chance to exchange knowledge with members. Since “getting a little long in the tooth,” as she described herself, her attendance has been more sporadic, but she hopes that her career experiences offer a positive influence on younger women journalists.

Born to a family with a long line of educated women, Clare believed in attaining her utmost potential. Journalistic roots also ran deep in her family, as her grandfather covered the White House in the early 1900s and her mother penned a newspaper column abroad. She began working at The Washington Post as the first married “copy boy,” despite the editors’ claims that marriage and journalism did not mix for women. Clare then got a dictationist position at The Washington Evening Star and began covering Maryland and Washington politics during her free time. The hard work paid off when she became a full-time political reporter for the Washington Daily News. After more than a decade in print, she became a reporter and the first woman senior producer for NBC News for television documentaries and was simultaneously tapped as a Washington, D.C., bureau chief for People magazine. Since 1981 as president of CC-M Productions, she has published books and DVDs on management and leadership.

I arrived at Clare Crawford-Mason’s Washington, D.C., home on December 16, 2013. She was eager to talk about her journalism career and led me down a staircase where she had hung framed pictures of her with U.S. presidents. Then we sat in the living room, she offered me some cookies and tea, and we began the oral history interview. Her many family members and friends called during our conversation, so we had to stop the tape several times, but she was able to paint a vivid description of her life and career. In the evening, she drove me to the nearest metro station and bid me good wishes on the project.

( This interview was conducted by Youn-Joo Park )