Katherine Rowlands

You know when I get asked for advice by people who are starting out in journalism, I say never turn down a job if it sounds like it’s beneath you or too little because there’s always interesting stories to tell no matter what.

— Katherine Rowlands

Katherine Rowlands

Katherine Rowlands heard about JAWS while attending the Poynter Institute for leadership training. Being a new manager and hungry for advice, she decided to try out the annual camp. On the plane ride there, she sat by a woman named Edie Lederer who happened to be a JAWS member. Kat said she was initially intimidated by Edie’s prestigious journalism career but immediately felt at ease by her warmth. Since then, she has wholeheartedly espoused the JAWS culture of connecting and learning from one another, and she recently served as president of the group. For Kat, JAWS validates the experience of women journalists who go through similar challenges and helps them re-energize for another year.

Growing up in Berkeley, California, Kat happily chased her father’s former dream of working in journalism. Straight from Macalester College, she obtained a master’s at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and then freelanced for a year while living in the Netherlands with her husband. Upon her return to the Bay Area, she worked for a wire service and a local paper before moving with her husband to Honduras and being a freelance foreign correspondent for four years. Kat then again returned to the Bay Area and sought to work up to an editorship, so to make that dream come true, she commuted hours every week to her newspaper job in San Luis Obispo, California. Although the job separated her from family, she was glad to find mentorship from a strong woman editor until she learned the ropes and nabbed a position of regional editor for the Contra Costa Times. Over the past decade, she has worked in various editor positions for the Bay Area News Group. Her busy career requires her to be choosy in the time she can spend with her children, but she is happy they are supportive of her journalistic pursuits.

This oral history with Kat took place at the JAWS camp in Essex, Vermont on October 27, 2013.

( This interview was conducted by Yong Volz )