Brief But Spectacular: Ann Friedman, co-host of “Call Your Girlfriend”


JUDY WOODRUFF: Next, our Brief But Spectacular
series, where we ask interesting people to describe their passions. Tonight, journalist Ann Friedman, co-host
of the podcast “Call Your Girlfriend,” explores why it’s important to find your own voice. ANN FRIEDMAN, Journalist: Women are frequently
asked to couch their opinions in a lot of filler words, which is why I find it so interesting
that we are simultaneously seen as unserious when we use phrases like um, you know, or
like, because, frankly, if you say things directly, without a lot of “oh, you know what
I think” sort of padding around them, it’s difficult for both men and women to hear. I don’t think it’s just men that have a hard
time hearing direct especially criticism when it’s coming from a woman. Knowing it doesn’t really change the fact
that, like, in the real world, women have to do a lot more emotional labor to convey
their opinions and decisions and ideas. I am one of those boring people who has only
wanted to do one thing for my entire life, which is be a journalist. It’s pretty impossible to equip someone for
a 10-plus-year career in media right now. You’re going to get fired or laid off at some
point. It will happen. And you probably are going to have to learn
a bunch of new skills. You probably are going to have to come to
terms with the fact that you’re not only going to write long-form magazine articles in the
style of 1960s “Esquire.” I didn’t wake up one day and say, you know
what, I should have a podcast. I have a good friend here called Gina Delvac. She had said for a long time to me and to
my friend Aminatou Sow, hey, you guys have a great chemistry, you would be great podcast
co-hosts. I think it was somewhere around where we came
up with the name. I guess we just create a fun, safe place for
ourselves and discuss the things that we are interested in. And it turns out that a lot of other women
are interested in those things, too. Voice is one of those things that when you
talk about it in a classroom or with a group of writers, it can feel very big and abstract. I think, when I was earlier in my career,
I had more doubts about my validity as a writer and a journalist. And I made my more effort to copy the tone
of the places that I was writing for, inasmuch as they had an institutional tone. And the longer that I had been working and
the more confident in my opinions or my reporting or, frankly, like, my career and my place
in the world, it gets easier to write the way that I speak. If someone can’t hear the substance of what
I’m saying because of the tone I say it with or because of the little filler words that
I use — which, P.S., men use, too, we all use — then that’s their problem. My name is Ann Friedman, and this is my Brief
But Spectacular take on finding your voice in journalism. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, just say it, that’s the
message. You can watch additional Brief But Spectacular
episodes on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.

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