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Women’s History Month Spotlight: Assistant Professor, Lara Salahi

Lara Salahi typing on a laptop in the library
Assistant Professor, Lara Salahi, is a female leader in the journalism industry who’s making a difference in our community and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
3/12/2019

To continue our celebration of Women’s History Month and our amazing female leaders here at Endicott College, we’re introducing you all to Lara Salahi, assistant professor of broadcast and digital journalism. Salahi is an impactful leader whose achievements span from running a broadcast intensive three-day immersive experience, to contributing to the growth of Endicott’s digital media major, to constantly collaborating with colleagues in the industry to bring speakers to our campus and our students out into the field, and being a published author of her book Outbreak Culture: The Ebola Crisis and the Next Epidemic. The list goes on.

A broadcast journalist herself, she’s worked at nearly every television network in Boston and as a regional field producer and reporter for national ABC News shows, including Good Morning America and World News with David Muir. Her newsroom  at The Boston Globe even won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. 

She says, “My work entails continually keeping up with the industry demands so I can teach the innovative and relevant skills to students who will be entering the field. I still work in the industry so that is beneficial to the students.”

Paving the way in her industry and at Endicott is backed by incredible support, she says, “I work with a wonderful group of colleagues and have had incredible support from the administration which is a motivating factor in leading new initiatives. I think collaboration is critical to success and that’s demonstrated by the partnerships we’ve created with the school and outside organizations to bring new initiatives to the School of Communication.

"It means so much to carry the legacy of an institution founded by a woman for women."

Other fun facts about Salahi prove her constant determination and grit.

  • She believes that gratitude and service make her such a successful leader—she’s constantly learning from others.
  • She is the faculty advisor for the campus’s Society of Professional Journalists, a student chapter of the national organization dedicated to strengthening journalism and fostering the next generation of journalists.
  • She was part of the newsroom at The Boston Globe and its news site, Boston.com, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
  • Outbreak Culture: The Ebola Crisis and the Next Epidemic, is her latest book, coauthored with Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University, Pardis Sabeti. Salahi looks forward to sharing the story at her book reading on campus on Thursday, April 4.

Here’s more about Salahi and what she has to say about being a female leader at Endicott.

Q&A with Salahi

Tell me a little bit about yourself/your leadership role as a faculty member here at Endicott.
I’m responsible for introducing and teaching a majority of the journalism courses in the School of Communication.

What does it mean to you to be a woman at Endicott?
It means so much to carry the legacy of an institution founded by a woman for women. While now a co-ed institution, I find the vision of educational and personal growth and independence are still embedded in the culture. I am humbled by the incredible women I work with at Endicott. They are mentors to me and many have grown to be friends.

What does it mean to be a female faculty here at Endicott?
The journalism industry is in desperate need of more female leaders, and I find it part of my responsibility to empower young women to join and excel in the profession just as I was empowered to do so by my family and in college.

How do you feel empowered as a woman leader here at Endicott?
I am so honored to work at an institution that supports “big ideas” and celebrates my successes. Everything from bringing a major regional conference to campus, to venturing off campus to immerse students in the industry, to writing a book.

Why do you think it's important for women to support other women?
I believe in the saying that we rise by lifting others. When I reach a milestone, I remember to thank those who lifted me and to reach back. I trust in the method of gratitude and service. I am surrounded by female leaders at Endicott. When I began as a full-time faculty member, I was assigned a mentor, Danielle Currier, who helped me through the critical starting years in academia. I am grateful and still in awe that I work alongside accomplished colleagues like Charlotte Gordon who has been a continued cheerleader of my successes. Even within our School of Communication, senior faculty members like Professor Amy Damico and Dean Laurel Hellerstein have been a continued source of support and encouragement.

Professors Ellie Pye (left) and Lara Salahi (right) with
alumnus Matt Leighton '18 at Lynn Community TV.

What has been your greatest success here at Endicott? 
I think the growth of the School of Communication’s digital media major is a great success. We offer some innovative journalism courses, co-curricular, and extracurricular opportunities. Next month, I along with a group of students are headed to the Society of Professional Journalists’ regional conference in Boston. In a few weeks, two of our students are headed to the New York Times for a daylong workshop. In the fall, my beat reporting course will be integrated with Gatehouse Media, which owns many local papers throughout Massachusetts. Much of the work students are doing in class will be published in outlets like the Beverly Citizen, the Danvers Herald, and the Salem Gazette. Stay tuned for more. 

Tell us a little about the broadcast intensive you recently led. 
The broadcast intensive was a three-day immersive experience into creating a television news magazine show. Students worked on deadline as they wrote, reported, and produced an entire show that aired on Lynn Community Television. This weekend-long program took place at Lynn Community Television station, in Lynn, Mass. on March 1-3. This was the first time we’ve run this workshop and it exceeded our expectations. 

Talk a little bit about your book and what it’s been like to lead in the area of outbreak culture as a female author.
It was a humbling experience writing Outbreak Culture with another female leader, this time in the field of genomics. Our book is an important and underreported narrative in outbreak response. It is a provocative account of the challenges responders faced during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. But what we found was that these challenges were not unique to Ebola. Every major infectious disease outbreak past (and even present) has experienced a manmade culture that has propagated the spread of disease. We highlight some ways we can change this culture, and call for leaders to act before the next major epidemic. 

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