The three speakers and moderator of the Press Club of Long Island’s recent panel discussion — “A high-wire balancing act: Do journalism and family mix?” — all agreed: There really isn’t such a thing as balance between work and family. One or the other dominate your life at any given time.
The Press Club of Long Island recently hosted a panel discussion on balancing a career in a demanding field like journalism with a family. Panelists included, from left, Kim Como, Shawna Van Ness and Jeff Bessen. PCLI President Scott Brinton, right, moderated. Photo courtesy Brian Stieglitz
All agreed, however, the best one can do is give 100 percent to work when you’re at work and 100 percent to family when you’re with your family.
The event was held Feb. 26 at Herald Community Newspapers in Garden City. The three panelists, all longtime pros with families, included:
• Shawna Van Ness, Newsday senior assistant managing editor for features and entertainment.
• Kim Como, Newsday communications manager.
• Jeff Bessen, Herald Community Newspapers senior editor and PCLI board member.
Scott Brinton, Herald Community Newspapers executive editor and PCLI president, moderated.
Roughly 20 journalists attended the event. Photo courtesy Brian Stieglitz
All panelists said guilt is a given. You should never have to apologize, however, for having to work to provide for your family. And, they said, one does not make “sacrifices” to have a family. One makes choices.
Employer support is critical to any journalist wanting to have a family. All three said their employers fully support journalists with families at home.
They also said proximity to workplace is critical. Bessen and Como, had, earlier in their careers, worked for media outlets in New York City, but found employment on Long Island, close to home, after having had families. Brinton and Van Ness have worked on the Island throughout their careers.
Audience members asked a number of questions after, and all enjoyed time chatting over pizza before and after the event.