16 August 2013

A Parting Note from the Ms. Foundation’s Inaugural Fellow

By E. Tammy Kim, Ms. Foundation 2012-2013 Fellow

Like every journalist with the nerve to fancy herself a “writer,” I take more than a few cues from the New Yorker’s Janet Malcolm. In one of her distinctly psychological ruminations, she describes journalists as “connoisseurs of the small, unregarded motions of life,” and journalism as having a “mandate to notice small things.”

These details, the texture of life, are what distinguish thorough, reported stories from the quick write-ups and editorializing that dominate this media moment. But deep storytelling takes a lot of time and money—they are a luxury that few outlets and individuals can afford.

For the past year, I enjoyed the rare, substantial gift of journalistic support from the Ms. Foundation for Women. With its integrated vision of media, grantmaking and policy in the service of women, the foundation enabled me to write in-depth, investigative stories on child care and low-wage work. My research and conversations with affected women across the country have, I hope, informed the organization’s work more generally.

Here are some of the pieces I wrote in the course of my fellowship:

  • “The Invisible Workforce: Why Do the People Raising Our Children Earn Poverty Wages?” in The Nation (Aug. 2013), on in-home family child care providers in New Jersey, with an accompanying short video.
  • "What Separates Welfare from Work" on Open City (July 2013), on welfare-to-work and child care subsidies in New York, featuring former Ms. Foundation grantee Community Voices Heard.
  • "The Fourth Circuit’s NLRB Smackdown" in The American Prospect (June 2013), on recent court decisions further hampering the National Labor Relations Board.
  • "A Brooklyn Corner: Day laborers who clean for ultra-Orthodox Jewish households are learning about their rights" in The Nation (Apr. 2013), on women day laborers and the informal domestic economy in Brooklyn.
  • And keep an eye out for my story examining cuts to child care and kinship care subsidies in Kentucky, forthcoming on Al Jazeera America later this month.
I hope these stories ring true and further our collective work toward economic justice for all. With deep gratitude to the Ms. Foundation and my colleagues, and as I move on to a staff writer position with Al Jazeera America, I look forward to continued partnership and better, deeper storytelling.

The Ms. Foundation’s incoming fellow, Lindsay Rosenthal, will begin next month in her role identifying the best strategies for increasing access to health care services for girls currently in or transitioning from the juvenile justice and foster care systems. 

Return to the Ms. Foundation for Women website

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