Sylvester, Judith L. 1952-
SYLVESTER, Judith L. 1952-
Born 1952. Education: University of Missouri—Columbia, Ph.D. (journalism), 1994.
Office—Manship School of Mass Communications, 209 Hodges Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-7202. E-mail—[email protected]
Educator and journalist. University of Missouri School of Journalism, founder and director of Media Research Bureau; Manship School of Mass Communications, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, associate professor, Media Leaders Forum faculty team leader. Former news editor for Missourian Weekly and Family Missourian.
National Federation of Press Women, Society for Professional Journalists, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Directing Health Messages toward African Americans: Attitudes toward Healthcare and the Mass Media, Garland New York, NY), 1998.
(With Suzanne Huffman) Women Journalists at Ground Zero: Covering Crisis, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2002.
Contributor to books, including Milestones in Black Newspaper Research, National Newspaper Publishers Association, 1995, and Mass Communications in the Information Age, Vision Press, 1996. Contributor to periodicals, including Brain Injury, Missouri Medicine, and Newspaper Research Journal.
Together with fellow journalism professor Suzanne Huffman, Judith L. Sylvester is the author of Women Journalists at Ground Zero: Covering Crisis, a book that recounts the experiences of twenty-four women journalists who reported on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 from New York City, Washington, D.C., aboard Air Force One, and at the scene of the Pennsylvania airline crash. As Library Journal contributor Susan M. Colowick noted, the author's inclusion of "how the events affected each woman's career … and the logistical details of covering catastrophe" make Women Journalists at Ground Zero of particular value to journalism students.
Realizing that coverage of the 9/11 terrorist incidents involved more women than men journalists, Sylvester and Huffman decided to collect the experiences of several of the women reporters involved. As Meg Spratt noted in a review of Women Journalists at Ground Zero posted on the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma Web site, the book "isn't meant to suggest that women journalists report differently than men, but to recognize the central position they now hold in relaying and recording national and world news." As coauthor Huffman told Spratt, "The choice to focus on women is a matter of recognizing their numbers and documenting their presence and expertise in journalism."
Among the television, radio, print media, and photo-journalists included in Women Journalists at Ground Zero are Judy Woodruff and Elizabeth Cohen of CNN, Ann Compton of ABC's White House Press Corps, Amy Sancetta of the Associated Press, People magazine writer Fannie Weinstein, and WNYC reporter Kerry Nolan. The experiences of photojournalist Suzanne Plunkett were common to many; Plunkett was planning a fashion shoot for the Associated Press when, on the morning television news she saw a plane hit the side of the World Trade Center, only blocks from her New York apartment. A call from her office put her in the press front lines. Another Associated Press photographer, Gulnara Samoilova, did not wait for the call from the office, but ran to the site of the Trade Center attacks. As Sylvester and Huffman write of Samoilova's experience: "She compared being in the cloud of debris to being in a tunnel with strong wind pushing all around her. 'I didn't have time to be scared. My heart wasn't pumping. I didn't have an adrenaline rush or anything. I just kept thinking it's like I'm in a movie, I'm not here.' Gulnara said being behind the camera helped her to stay focused. She could view the scene as if it weren't real."
Judy Woodruff was on the air at CNN's Washington, D.C. studio that morning. The Pentagon nearby had already been hit by a plane, and it was still unclear how the New York and Washington attacks were linked when footage from the scene of the airline crash in Pennsylvania began to arrive. "I was horrified by what was going on, and I know that I reflected that in some of my comments that day," the veteran reporter recalls in Women Journalists at Ground Zero. "I was quite open at times to talk about what we were seeing and how horrible that was. But, you can't just sit there and break down on camera."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Huffman, Suzanne, and Judith L. Sylvester, Women Journalists at Ground Zero: Covering Crisis, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2002.
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, autumn, 1998, Carolyn A. Stroman, review of Directing Health Messages toward African Americans: Attitudes toward Healthcare and the Mass Media, pp. 663-664.
Journal of the American Medical Association, July 8, 1998, Carl Bell, review of Directing Health Messages toward African Americans, p. 196.
Library Journal, November 1, 2002, Susan M. Colowick, review of Women Journalists at Ground Zero: Covering Crisis, p. 101.
Advocate Online,http://www.theadvocate.com/ (September 24, 2002), Marlene Naanes, "Women Who Covered 9-11 Tell Their Stories."
Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma Web site,http://www.dartcenter.org/ (April 14, 2003), Meg Spratt, review of Women Journalists at Ground Zero.
International Journalists' Network Web site,http://www.ijnet.org/ (January 29, 2003), "New Books Recount September 11 as Experienced by Journalists."