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HCAU’s Womxn in Politics Discussion with Professor Betsy Fischer Martin

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

Her Campus American is extremely grateful for the opportunity to speak with Dr. Elizabeth Fischer Martin about womxn in politics and her background in in journalism, broadcasting, politics, and education.

Professor Betsy Fischer Martin is an award-winning journalist and TV news executive along with being the current Executive Director of American University’s School of Public Affairs Women & Politics Institute. Dr. Martin is a former co-host of Bloomberg Politics’ Masters in Politics Podcast and founder of her own consulting business. She was a managing editor at NBC News Political Programming and an executive producer of Meet the Press, for 11 years.

HCAU is greatly appreciative we were able to facilitate a discussion with Dr. Martin about her experience in journalism and womxn in politics.

Her Campus American: During your time at NBC News Political Programming, how did inclusivity of womxn play a role in development and execution of network political coverage?

Professor Martin: I was the only woman for a while. Even when I was an executive producer on NBC, our guests would make comments like ‘oh she’s the intern’ or ‘can I get a cup of coffee?’ even when I was running the show.

HCAU: Why didn’t you have more women on the show [Meet the Press]?

Professor Martin: We tried we really did but we pulled in really high-profile people onto the show and a lot of women didn’t fill those positions. We need more women in the pipeline so that our show can give women in politics more representation.

HCAU: What is your professional opinion towards the upcoming 2020 election?

Professor Martin: For women, we made history in the democratic primary with six women running for President- an outstanding number. I thought that after Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in 2016, that it would deter a lot of women from running for office. But instead, after really seeing who she lost to, it had the opposite effect. Since 2016, we have had a record number of women running for office and it really motivated more women to run.

Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protest
Photo by Dan Aasland from Flickr
*Questions from the general audience during our general meeting*

HCAU: As an organization HC makes a real effort to say yes to all our member’s ideas and pitches because we know that as soon as we step into a professional organization/occupation, rejection comes with the job. So, with that, how do you handle rejection?

Professor Martin: It is really important to understand that every rejection means you’re one step closer to a good idea or a good pitch. It is important to stay motivated and never give up.

HCAU: Are unpaid internships worth it?

Professor Martin: It really depends. If it’s the dream internship or the dream job, I think it’s worth it because then you have an incredible experience to share with your next employer. It is really sad that unpaid internships are a thing because employers lose so much incredibly talent and hardworking students. Additionally, there is an organization College to Congress that pays the stipends of interns working in Congress so they can have a political background. There are more organizations like that that will help young people break into whatever field they are passionate about.

Again, HCAU is so grateful to Dr. Martin for speaking to our general members and executive board about her experiences thus far. As a journalist-centric, student media organization, we hope to inspire our writers through our events and platform to break the glass ceiling and strive for the truth.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Photos: Her Campus Media

Hannah Andress

American '21

Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus American. Currently an undergraduate student at American University involved in the Global Scholars program studying International Studies and Arabic. Preferred gender pronouns are she/her/hers. Her interests include national security, women in politics, international human and civil rights, and creating an impact that is long-lasting and sustainable.