Empowering Women Series: Journalism Professor Marie Campagna Franklin

After 10 years of teaching English and advising school newspapers at three different public high schools, Journalism Professor Marie Campagna Franklin decided it was time for her to develop her own writing skills and pursue a career in journalism.

Franklin Poses at Com Day 2019. Original photo by Raegan Cleary

 

“...The teachers of writing spend a lot of time reading student work, evaluating student work, giving feedback for students and I just got to the point where I said ‘I love the work that I’m doing, but I’m never going to become a writer myself,’” Franklin said.

Six or seven years into her teaching career, Franklin was accepted into the journalism Masters program at Boston University. While still working during the day and taking classes at night, she completed her degree in about three years. Shortly after,  Franklin was expecting her first child. Despite having tenure, she left her job to stay at home with her daughter, Emily, and pursued being a freelance journalist while also learning how to be a mother at the same time. For the first year that Emily was alive, Franklin was freelancing for two newspapers in Brookline, and sold her first story to The Boston Globe, a feature story on how to find babysitters, an idea that came from her own personal experience.  

A year after that, opportunity literally came knocking on Franklin’s front door when her neighbor, a part time editor at the Globe, told her she was moving to the West Coast and the Globe needed a replacement.

“She said they are looking for someone to replace me, and they wanted it to be someone with some journalism experience but a lot of education background and I thought of you right away,” Franklin said. “So, I went in for an interview and it went really well and they offered me the job on the spot… That was the beginning of a 25 year career at The Boston Globe.” For the first 10 years Franklin was at the Globe, she also taught as an adjunct professor of journalism at Pine Manor College, teaching one class a semester.

Shortly after, Franklin realized she was pregnant with her second child. About four years later, the Globe’s budget allowed her to be full time, however, she decided that part time would be the best fit for her as a mother at the time. Prior to her career at the Globe, there were many freelance journalists, but very few part-time staff employees.

“The fact that they allowed me part time work was great, and allowed me to focus on my career and my family at the same time,” Franklin said. “But that fact that I was part time all those years meant that some people didn’t take me seriously at the Globe, like especially some of the guys.”

Despite not being taken seriously, Franklin used the fact that she was an editor at the Globe and a mother to her advantage. She would use experiences from her own life as ideas for article pitches and write about topics like traveling with children or the conditions of public school bathrooms in the Greater Boston Area.

Looking back, there isn’t much Franklin would do differently, however she said she would advocate for herself more.

“Maybe I would have advocated for myself more. Maybe I would have stayed at work later some nights. I always worked what I would call mother’s hours, your know, I was in the building at 8 in the morning and I’d be home by 3 in the afternoon, and a lot of activity in a newspaper happens after 3 o’clock. So maybe I would have adjusted my hours a little bit, but maybe I wouldn’t have, you know. I try not look back, I try to sit in the present and look forward. It’s very easy to beat yourself up when you look back,” Franklin said.

After her career at the Globe, Franklin never expected to be a college professor, but the opportunity fell into her lap. The biggest benefit of becoming a professor for Franklin was the opportunity to mentor young adults. At Lasell, Franklin got the reputation for being “Professor Mom,” by not being afraid to get on a more personal level with her students and getting to know them outside of the classroom as well.

Franklin recently celebrated 10 years of teaching here at Lasell, and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her and her students!