“These are good gigs”: Jann Ingmire leaving JAMA for University of Chicago
A personal note from Jann Ingmire, Director of Media Relations:
I am leaving my position at The JAMA Network next week for a new job. It has been a privilege to work for the JAMA journals and with you for more than 11 years…My best regards to you all!
Ingmire’s last day at JAMA is Wednesday, November 13. She starts at the University of Chicago on the 18th.
Not surprisingly, given JAMA’s prominence, Ingmire has appeared frequently on Embargo Watch. I asked her to answer a few questions about her time at the journal by email:
So, you’re leaving JAMA, which a lot of people probably think is at the pinnacle of media relations in medical publishing, after nearly 12 years. What prompted the move, and what will you be doing at the University of Chicago?
I’ve loved being at JAMA and the JAMA Network journals. It has been a privilege to work for these prestigious medical journals. That said, this opportunity at the University of Chicago (which is a very prestigious place, too!) was too good to pass up. Jobs in the U of C News Office do not become available very often. I’ll be covering the Social Sciences. New job, new subject area.
You’ve run a very tight ship at JAMA, and I’ve praised you for being highly consistent and fair with your embargo policies. You even have a sense of humor about your mistakes. Are embargoes a big part of your new role?
I imagine I’ll be on the other side of the fence working with professors who are having work published in various journals. I will be SURE to check the embargo policies before I send out a news release!
What kinds of lessons do you feel you’ve learned about working with the media while working at JAMA? If you had a magic wand, is there anything about embargoes or other aspects of that relationship that you’d change?
I’ve learned that respect goes a long way. I have great respect and admiration for the overwhelming majority of the health/medical/science reporters with whom we work. It’s not easy to translate the information from some of these studies and make interesting stories that people will care about. You all do that every day and, for the most part, do it very well! I wish everyone would abide by the embargoes and not blame their editors, the web guy, or the inability to translate time zones for blowing an embargo. My magic wand would be used to set an embargo time that everyone loves all over the world.
Your start at JAMA was a bit of a trial by fire. The Women’s Health Initiative Study was published just a few months after you joined the journal, prompting the blacklisting of a longtime health reporter, and the same happened to a financial reporter late the following year. Did those early experiences inform your approach to embargoes?
Thanks for bringing up those memories, Ivan! Those experiences made me quickly realize how important the embargo system is for equalizing the opportunity for all reporters to get the information out at the same time. When embargoes are broken, many reporters are left scrambling to hurry up and get their stories out. I also learned how much reporters like having the embargo in place to have time to read the studies, interview the authors or other experts, and write more thoughtful stories.
You were a TV reporter and anchor for almost a dozen years before going into media relations. What would you tell someone thinking about making that transition today?
Find a good mentor (hopefully, your new boss) who will help you learn how to be a good media relations professional. I’ve always remembered the PR/media relations people I liked when I was a reporter – usually the people who got back to me before deadline and were actually helpful. These jobs use the same skill set. I’m writing, making news judgment calls, interviewing authors for podcasts, and producing videos. All skills I learned long ago, but I have also worked hard to continue to learn through professional development and by going to graduate school for a better foundation in communications. These are good gigs if you find a place to work that you believe in and are fortunate enough to have great colleagues like I’ve had at JAMA.
Here’s wishing Ingmire all the best of luck in her new role.