By: Lauren Berny and Julia Terbeche
Presented by Beach Weekly, Off the Record is a podcast co-hosted by news editor Julia Terbeche and multimedia editor Lauren Berny, who discuss hot-button issues and give audiences a behind-the-scenes look into the journalism world.
In this episode, Terbeche and Berny sit down with a special guest, editor-in-chief Madalyn Amato, to talk about women’s issues, what it’s like being women in journalism, dating and our futures.
Hosts: Julia Terbeche and Lauren Berny
Edited by Julia Terbeche
Madalyn Amato 00:00
Throw me my underwear, I need to go get my press badge.
Julia Terbeche 00:04
Pass me my underwear and my riot gear, let’s go.
Madalyn Amato 00:06
Lauren Berny 00:11
This is Off The Record, where we go on the record to discuss hot-button issues and the journalism world.
Julia Terbeche 00:17
We’re sitting here with editor-in-chief Madalyn Amato. Madalyn, how’s it going?
Madalyn Amato 00:22
It’s going well, thank you guys so much for having me.
Lauren Berny 00:25
On this episode, we’re going to talk about women in journalism.
Julia Terbeche 00:28
Women’s issues, what it’s like to be a woman in the journalism world, being a mother and all that jazz.
Lauren Berny 00:33
Yeah. Pretty much.
Madalyn Amato 00:35
I know a thing or two about this topic. So yeah,
Julia Terbeche 00:38
Like, we’re experienced in this realm.
Madalyn Amato 00:41
Lauren Berny 00:41
Considering we’re all women, women in journalism. So yeah, I feel, there we go.
Madalyn Amato 00:47
We could get a conversation together.
Lauren Berny 00:49
Julia Terbeche 00:49
Madalyn Amato 00:50
Don’t hold your breath, folks.
Julia Terbeche 00:53
Okay, well, I know you had some research, Lauren.
Lauren Berny 00:56
I did. So I had a couple of things from pewresearch.org, six facts about United States mothers. One of them is women are more likely now to become mothers than they were a decade ago. This is particular in the case among highly educated women, which surprises me.
Julia Terbeche 01:18
That surprises me too. I thought more people would be not having kids.
Lauren Berny 01:22
Julia Terbeche 01:22
As time progresses.
Lauren Berny 01:23
Yeah. I feel like now people are, more specifically women, are more open to not being mothers. Yeah, like Julia and I, we don’t want to be moms.
Madalyn Amato 01:34
Count me in.
Lauren Berny 01:35
Julia Terbeche 01:36
There you go, the verdict is in.
Lauren Berny 01:38
Yeah. Why don’t you want to be a mom?
Julia Terbeche 01:41
I just, I don’t feel I have a maternal instinct. Like, I just try and visualize myself as a mother, raising children and having that be a part of my life forever. And I it doesn’t feel like it fits. I feel like it’d be forcing it. Like, I just think I shouldn’t do it if I really don’t want to because that’s not fair to the kid.
Julia Terbeche 01:57
Or to me, really. Yeah, I think you both feel similarly.
Lauren Berny 01:57
Lauren Berny 02:02
Yeah. For myself, it was always something that was expected of me, was to be a mom. Yeah. Like, I didn’t have a choice in the matter. It was going to happen. I’d rather spend my time traveling, working, getting a dog. And, you know, that’s kind of how I want to live my life. And I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, how about you?
Madalyn Amato 02:22
I like babies. I think kids are cool, but I definitely feel I’m more of like the cool aunt,
Julia Terbeche 02:27
Lauren Berny 02:27
Madalyn Amato 02:27
I love when my friends have kids because I, like, I go all out. I’m like, baby clothes, baby blankets, baby this, I love baby things. But I when I think of, like Julia said, like me being a mom, I’m like, I just I can’t. And then, of course, you know, the topical conversation here of like my career choice of being a journalist. And I want to get into like crime and politics reporting, which is very demanding. Like, my end goal is to be, at least one of my goals, is to be a white house correspondent. So I mean, that’s a 24/7 job.
Lauren Berny 02:59
Do you feel like women in journalism are less likely to be mothers?
Madalyn Amato 03:03
I think it depends. I think it depends on what you report on. So you know, if you’re a food journalist, and you write reviews on restaurants and stuff, or you do more local stuff, I feel like, you know, you can make it work. I think that’s the thing is like you can make it work, it might take a little bit more juggling, you might have to, you know, invest in childcare, but I think you can make it work. But I think also that might look like having kids later in life, which I know at least from my experience, the female journalists that I know that do have children have had them a little bit later.
Julia Terbeche 03:36
I don’t want to speak for every woman in journalism, but I feel like a lot of women who do go into journalism just kind of don’t see that in their future because their career is something that doesn’t keep them at home. So their mindset might be more about travel and like a different way of living, than family life and motherhood.
Lauren Berny 03:53
I feel like I would just end up being too busy for that.
Madalyn Amato 03:56
Lauren Berny 03:57
Because for myself, my end goal is like I want to go into documentaries. And then once I do that, maybe I’ll become a teacher and have my students be like my kids.
Madalyn Amato 04:07
Lauren Berny 04:08
I don’t want to have my own. Another statistic on here is that women are becoming mothers later in life. And it says in 1994, more than half, 53% of women in their early 40s had become mothers by age 24. By 2014, this share had fallen to 39%.
Madalyn Amato 04:31
I mean, it makes sense. Like I said, I’ve had a couple of friends who have had babies and it is fucking expensive, like a box of diapers, which babies blow through, is like $40.
Julia Terbeche 04:44
How many come in a box? I don’t even know.
Madalyn Amato 04:46
Like a regular, like a regular box.
Lauren Berny 04:50
Let me look.
Julia Terbeche 04:50
Fourty bucks, like every week or two?
Madalyn Amato 04:53
Every couple of days. Babies shit a lot. I mean, it’s expensive to have a baby, and rents are going up. You know, I think also we’re saying women have babies. But like, there has to be a sperm involved, however, that sperm is involved, whether it’s your…
Julia Terbeche 05:07
Madalyn Amato 05:08
Husband or, you know, a donor or anything like that. It’s expensive. And I think, you know, if you don’t have a career and you don’t have a stable foundation, it makes sense that women are doing it later.
Lauren Berny 05:17
One pack of Pampers is $26.
Madalyn Amato 05:20
Oh, fuck off. Absolutely not. Yeah, see?
Lauren Berny 05:24
And that is $40. Yeah, no thanks. Mothers are spending more time in the labor force than in the past. But also more time on child care.
Julia Terbeche 05:36
Women are just spending more time on everything.
Madalyn Amato 05:38
Well, I know that’s why my mom ended up becoming a stay at home mom, was because she had my older brother, who was five years older than me. And to put us both in childcare because she was working full time would be her entire paycheck. So she would be working for the sole purpose of putting us in a daycare, there would be no income beyond that. So it made no sense. Like, it wasn’t benefiting the family unit in any way for her to continue working just so that we could sit in a daycare. So once my mom had me she, you know, was stay at home. And I was very lucky to have a stay at home mom, I know a lot of kids don’t, or haven’t. And so my mom was always there to, you know, pick me up, take me to school, PTA, stuff like that, which is, you know, I feel very lucky. But at the same time, there wasn’t a second income in the home.
Lauren Berny 06:25
My mom was also a stay at home mom, I was very fortunate for that. I didn’t realize how lucky I was. But her path and my path are very different. And I think my mom came to realize that recently where she was like, ‘You’re not going to have kids, are you?’ She just asked me, and I was like, ‘No, I’m not.’ And then I thought she was gonna get really mad at me. But fortunately, she wasn’t as mad as I think she would have been a few years ago.
Julia Terbeche 06:51
That’s really interesting. Because you kind of approach the subject, like, ‘I don’t know if I’m gonna have kids.’ And it’s kind of like, ‘oh, you’ll change your mind when you’re older because you’re not, you’re too young to know now.’ And it’s like, maybe I will, but I’m letting you know that it’s very possible I will not. Because it’s how I feel.
Madalyn Amato 07:06
I think my mom’s come to terms with the fact that she’s only going to have like fur grandchildren. So like my cats, and I think she’s okay with it.
Lauren Berny 07:14
My idea of marriage has changed over the years. Where, is that for me? Do I need to have marriage to feel secure? Is that the problem? Do I want to, I don’t want to trap someone into marrying me. So…
Madalyn Amato 07:31
Ma’am, I don’t think that’s a trap. I think you’re a, you are a prize.
Julia Terbeche 07:35
Lauren Berny 07:38
But it’s like, when I think of marriage, do I think of the wedding? Or do I think of what happens after the wedding?
Madalyn Amato 07:46
See, I’m the type of girl who’s like, I kind of want the wedding. I’m not going to lie.
Lauren Berny 07:48
I kind of want the wedding.
Madalyn Amato 07:51
I want the dress. Yeah, you know very, like, cottage core with the flower crown and
Julia Terbeche 07:58
I can’t wait to go.
Madalyn Amato 07:59
You’ll be there. And so will Barb and Gary, I want that and I want the like I think it’s a very romantic idea. Also, opinions, taking their last name.
Julia Terbeche 08:10
That is, so, great question.
Lauren Berny 08:13
Madalyn Amato 08:16
And thank you so much for listening.
Julia Terbeche 08:18
It depends on the name.
Madalyn Amato 08:18
Right. See, I’m of the belief that I don’t want to take the name because the roots of it are ownership. And I know that’s not necessarily what it means today, but that’s what it is.
Julia Terbeche 08:30
That’s what it feels like, I’m sure.
Madalyn Amato 08:31
That’s what it feels like but also Madalyn period name did not earn an associate’s. Madalyn last name did not earn a bachelor’s, Madalyn’s last name did not earn, well, I mean, we’ll see where we go here. But a master’s degree, you know, that last name, did not do the work that I’ve done. That’s me. And so that’s kind of my thing. Like, I don’t want to lose my identity of who I am and what I’ve accomplished by changing my last name. I can see doing a hyphen.
Julia Terbeche 08:56
Lauren Berny 08:56
Madalyn Amato 08:57
I think, I think that’s where I’m at, is like, I don’t want to give away my accomplishments.
Julia Terbeche 09:02
I’ve gone back and forth. Like, I used to always assume I was gonna get married. And then when my parents got divorced when I was 18, that kind of became how I perceive marriage is actually not reality. Because like, they were together for 23 years or something. And then, like, it might be the case where I’m like, I don’t know. And then one day I’m like, ‘Okay, yeah, for this person, yeah.’ But it’s true, like, then the last name thing, too, like, it’s weird, the concept. Like, if you don’t get this piece of paper signed and put a ring on a certain finger, then they’re going to go sleep with someone else because otherwise, it’s not official. Like, what is that?
Lauren Berny 09:31
And my mom was telling me she was like, well, it’s for security. I was like, security for what? Yeah, I want security for, I want to be able to pay my own bills.
Madalyn Amato 09:40
Lauren Berny 09:40
My own stuff.
Madalyn Amato 09:41
Lauren Berny 09:41
I don’t want to have to rely on someone.
Madalyn Amato 09:45
How do you guys feel that, like, when you’re out in the field or you’re reaching out to sources as a woman? Do you feel like you get respected? Have you ever been disrespected?
Julia Terbeche 09:56
I feel like I have to be really polite in like my emails and stuff.
Lauren Berny 10:00
I think people have taken advantage of me because I am nice. So it’s like, ‘Oh, she’s nice. I could walk all over her.’ But me as a woman, I went to Kamala Harris’s, one of her events when she was running for president, and I was the only female photojournalist there.
Julia Terbeche 10:17
Good for you.
Lauren Berny 10:18
And I noticed the male photojournalists talking to each other, but they would specifically not talk to me.
Julia Terbeche 10:24
Yeah, fuck them.
Madalyn Amato 10:27
Yeah, I find when I am talking to sources I turn on like my customer service voice. And, you know, it depends on the topic, if I’m really trying to get an answer out of somebody, I will, you know, talk like I normally talk. And sometimes I even actually, like, lower my voice a little bit because I have this idea of like, a lower voice is more authoritative. But I definitely find sometimes that I’ll giggle on the phone or some things that I don’t normally do when I’m talking to people that I know. It’s just this societally ingrained thing that like to get what you want as a woman, you have to be a people pleaser, and you know, giggle and laugh at their jokes. And so yeah, I at least that’s been my experience reporting. And then also being a leader in the newsroom. It’s been hard because, I haven’t experienced it so much here at Long Beach State because we all are a little bit more of a similar age group, but I know when I was at Fullerton College, and I was editor in chief there, I was the youngest female editor in chief the paper had ever had, I was only 19. And a lot of the staff because in community college, you get a bigger age range. People are returning, you know, stuff like that. So I had staff, male staff members who were 10, 20 years older than I was, and there was a very clear lack of respect towards me because I was a younger female.
Lauren Berny 11:46
You know, I don’t think I’ve experienced it as much in this newsroom either. I think something else that people don’t know about this newsroom is that it’s mainly females.
Julia Terbeche 11:55
I was just gonna say, all of our desk editors are women, and I think that’s rare.
Madalyn Amato 12:01
And our content adviser is female.
Lauren Berny 12:02
Was that by design?
Madalyn Amato 12:06
No comment. No comment. This, here, I had a staff writer who gave pushback for edits because, quote, ‘He did not like women editing his work.’
Julia Terbeche 12:19
I forgot about that one.
Madalyn Amato 12:20
Yeah, right. You remember that? You were in on that. But you know, I was just kind of like, well, tough shit. I’m the editor. When you’re editor, you go ahead and make those calls. But when you would go out and do interviews in person, did you feel like you had to dress up?
Lauren Berny 12:32
Absolutely. Like 1,000,000% yes, if I was going out and reporting today, I would have straightened my hair, I would have put on probably a ton more makeup to look presentable.
Madalyn Amato 12:45
You know, it was crazy. Over the summer when I was covering the George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Black Lives Matter movement. I found myself putting on eyebrow gel and mascara to go cover protests. And I remember getting, I think it was mascara in my eye because I was sweating so much because we’re, you know, marching and running from the police. And I was like, why am I wearing makeup right now? Going out with male reporters in their T-shirts and cargo shorts and flip flops and jeans and, you know, I’m in a blouse with my hair done. And, you know, I got to look presentable. I can’t just wear my normal jeans, I have to wear my nice jeans, if you know if I’m gonna wear jeans, or I’m gonna wear slacks.
Lauren Berny 13:25
And yeah, I do. I do think that for male reporters, they can wear a T-shirt and pants and be fine. And you know, a baseball cap. But for a female journalist, you definitely need to have makeup on be presentable.
Julia Terbeche 13:40
Yeah, they can roll up in jeans and a T-shirt. As long as they have a reporter’s notebook and a press badge, they’re going to get the interview. And if we’re standing aside looking like just normal, that’s not enough.
Madalyn Amato 13:50
I know, I remember, I will never forget this. I was at Fullerton College. And we did a tour of the LA Times. And the tour guide was asking all of us, it was the newspaper class. And he was asking us, you know, ‘what type of journalism are you guys interested in?’ And a couple of girls were interested in sports broadcast. And this man looks at them and says, ‘I don’t think any of you are going to make it because none of you are pretty enough.’
Lauren Berny 14:12
Fuck that guy.
Madalyn Amato 14:13
And that has always stuck with me.
Julia Terbeche 14:16
As much of an asshole as that guy is, and he is, it speaks to the industry. Because, like, he should not have said that, but if that’s how the industry is, that’s how it is. I was talking to Elizabeth Sanchez, who’s a journalism professor here who’s a broadcast reporter, and she said that early in her career when she was trying to get jobs as anchors, she was turned down because she was, they were looking for a blonde anchor. It’s like, what?
Lauren Berny 14:40
This is the world we live in, unfortunately.
Madalyn Amato 14:42
Even like my few my few speaking engagements on television, I’ve been so like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I looked like that,’ and I was on national television, or local television. Like, you know, and it’s crazy. Like I can’t imagine doing that for a living.
Julia Terbeche 14:57
I get like that with a Zoom call with one other person on the other end.
Lauren Berny 15:02
Lauren Berny 15:03
I’m so self conscious about my teeth. And I’m like, I can’t smile. I can’t talk because if I open my mouth, I look like a damn hillbilly.
Julia Terbeche 15:15
It’s like there’s a really fine line between being presentable and professional, and like sexism.
Madalyn Amato 15:21
That line is very thin.
Julia Terbeche 15:23
Madalyn Amato 15:24
It is. It is transparent. It is dental floss. Dating.
Julia Terbeche 15:32
Ooh, that is…
Madalyn Amato 15:35
Dating is hard, period. But what I’ve run into in, not only dating app world but also like, in some of my more long-term relationships, is that I’m extremely dedicated to my career. Like, I do not care what I am doing. If there is breaking news, I am dropping everything and I’m reporting on that fucking story, like I don’t, I have made so many illegal U-turns, I have run into oncoming traffic, I have run towards, you know, police firing rubber bullets. I mean, like, I don’t care, like I’m getting the story. That is who I am. That also goes for the fact that with a significant other, like, I don’t care if we’re hanging out watching a movie, something’s going on, I need to go take care of it.
Julia Terbeche 16:18
Roll over, I need to get my press badge.
Madalyn Amato 16:19
Throw me my underwear, I need to go get my press badge.
Julia Terbeche 16:23
Pass me my underwear and my riot gear.
Madalyn Amato 16:25
I need my underwear, my helmet, and my tear gas goggles and I am good to go. So that has come up a lot though, in my relationships, is that they get really pissed off that I’m not paying attention to them. I’m working.
Julia Terbeche 16:40
Because suddenly you have a different priority.
Madalyn Amato 16:42
Exactly. And you know, that hasn’t really happened when I’m in the scope of like working retail like I’m scheduled to work at Vans from noon to nine. Okay, cool. Like, maybe we can hang out or, you know, after or I’ll see you tomorrow. And I don’t know if it’s because it’s a little bit more unpredictable, or a little bit more of a constant thing. But I’ve noticed in my personal relationships, or even just like getting to know somebody, if I’m not texting them back immediately because I’m in a meeting or I’m interviewing somebody or you know, whatever, they get upset and they get offended. And I actually just had a guy messaged me on Bumble, and I said like, ‘Oh, hi,’ like smiley face. And he was like, ‘Oh, God, a liberal journalist, every cisgender white man’s worst fear. But I’m not scared of you.’ And it’s like, well, you should be.
Julia Terbeche 17:32
I feel like they don’t understand the industry.
Madalyn Amato 17:35
Julia Terbeche 17:35
And I think it does have to do with the unpredictability because we could be hanging out with the, two seconds later, we’re out the door. And they don’t know how to deal with that.
Lauren Berny 17:43
I had to have a sit-down conversation with Simon about this. Where it was like, there’s going to be points where I’m just going to not be paying attention to you, there’s going to be points probably down the line where I’m going to be gone for months. That’s just going to be my career, that’s going to be my life. And I need someone to support me. It’s not that I don’t love you any less or that I don’t want to be with you. It’s just this is what I have to do. This is what I was made in this world to fucking do. So I’m gonna do it.
Madalyn Amato 18:14
Julia Terbeche 18:15
It’s my calling, deal with.
Lauren Berny 18:16
It was my calling, deal with it.
Madalyn Amato 18:18
Julia Terbeche 18:19
I can’t give my 100% all the time. And that’s not personal.
Madalyn Amato 18:23
And I don’t know about you guys. But this is kind of the opposite end of the spectrum. Like, some guys like fetishize that I’m like, busy and like, I’m quote, I’m doing air quotes here a ‘boss bitch.’ okay, like, they’re like, that’s fucking hot. I, I had one guy tell me that, like, he wanted to take me into my office when I told him I had an office and I was like, ew, no, that’s gross, there’s other people here. But I feel like there’s some like fetishization of powerful women, which again, goes into the objectification of women in power.
Julia Terbeche 18:58
I’ve experienced this too. I just, I feel like they think that you’re so busy, and it’s like, part of their fantasy or whatever, that they’re so busy that they’ll, ‘oh, no, you’re my priority, still, right?’ The fact that I’m so busy, and it’s like, no, no, I spelled it out for you day one. I’m busy.
Madalyn Amato 19:14
No, no, no, you ain’t paying my fucking bills, bitch, so…
Julia Terbeche 19:19
They think they’re being like so progressive because they’re, they love that you’re a working woman, you know, career woman, whatever, like, you’re busy, they like it, but then they don’t realize that they’re being sexist because it’s such a big deal that you’re working instead of not thinking twice because that’s normal.
Madalyn Amato 19:38
Talking about, you know, being in relationships and talking about, you know, in particular being a woman and having these expectations of being in a relationship and, you know, this career field is definitely one that it is difficult. I would say more so than a lot of other careers to have a very healthy relationship because, you know, it’s fluid. Some days it’s absolutely exhausting and communication. You’ve been talking to people all day long. You don’t want to talk.
Julia Terbeche 20:09
That’s why I feel like I can maybe, ideally I’m like, well, then somebody in journalism, right, will get it. Yeah, it just feels like it’s so hard to find. But it’s like, that’s where my mind goes because if anyone’s gonna understand it, it’s gonna be a fellow journalist.
Madalyn Amato 20:21
If you’re an attractive young male journalist, hit us up.
Lauren Berny 20:24
Yeah, I think journalists just marry other journalists.
Julia Terbeche 20:29
It does happen. Yeah, it does happen.
Lauren Berny 20:31
I mean, the only person I know who’s married another journalist is Barb.
Julia Terbeche 20:35
Robin, the adviser for DIG.
Lauren Berny 20:38
Julia Terbeche 20:39
She, Elizabeth Sanchez. Her husband’s a photojournalist. Mike Goulding, maybe, remember?
Lauren Berny 20:44
No, that’s right. Mike Goulding is married to a journalist, she writes and he is a photojournalist.
Julia Terbeche 20:49
That happens a lot. Also Valerie from the Post. Yeah, he came from this program.
Madalyn Amato 20:52
I think she met her husband at the Post.
Julia Terbeche 20:55
She’s a journalist and he is also a journalist, he’s a photographer I think.
Madalyn Amato 20:58
He does like visuals. He does like video and stuff.
Julia Terbeche 21:01
And it’s very, it happens a lot. And I’m like, where’s my guy?
Madalyn Amato 21:04
Yeah. Well, I mean, it makes sense because, especially like newsroom romances. Like we’re in the same area all the time.
Lauren Berny 21:13
I’ve only heard, like, drama from that.
Madalyn Amato 21:16
This is also true.
Julia Terbeche 21:17
Yeah, double-edged sword.
Madalyn Amato 21:18
Yeah, it is, definitely. Don’t shit where you eat. Because if it goes, there’s shit, and…
Julia Terbeche 21:26
You want to eat.
Madalyn Amato 21:27
It gets stinky. It gets stinky sometimes. And if it works? Hey, power to ya, but…
Julia Terbeche 21:33
Yeah, you got to really be sure.
Madalyn Amato 21:35
Julia Terbeche 21:35
But I’d see it when it does work, damn, that’s cool.
Lauren Berny 21:38
I think that’s a good note to end on.
Julia Terbeche 21:40
I agree. This is Julia,
Madalyn Amato 21:42
Lauren Berny 21:43
And Lauren. And we are signing off.
Julia Terbeche 21:46
Tune in soon.
Lauren Berny 21:48
Julia Terbeche 21:49
We’ll figure it out. This has been off the record. Thank you for listening.