” I feel blessed,” she says. “I landed on the right path without a lot of trial and error.”
Journalism is no joke. A combination of long hours, late nights, and tight deadlines may make the job seem a bit unattractive to some, but not for Jennifer Peter. Once a reporter, she has since moved up to become one of the Boston Globe’s top editors. She has covered stories ranging from political upheaval to groundbreaking legislative laws, but has now moved into a position where she has more input as to what is covered on a daily basis.
As a college student, Jennifer considered herself “aimless,” never taking much time to think about her career. But she always had a gift for writing. All it took was a bit of encouragement from her uncle and her career began to blossom. “Once I did it, it immediately worked for me,” she said. “It’s been a challenge and I’ve been intimidated by assignments, but I wake up every day pretty psyched to go do it every day.”
Though she always hoped to become a Globe reporter, Jennifer’s career led her around the country first. She traveled to a resort valley in Idaho, then to New London, Connecticut, and then to Norfolk, Virginia working for the Virginian Pilot, before ultimately returning to Boston to work for the Associated Press. Though she worked up and down the East Coast, Jennifer’s heart always yearned to work for the Boston Globe. “I grew up in New England. The Globe was always the paper I had read growing up and aspired to.”
Just five years ago she became the editor of Globe North, one of the regional editions of the Boston Globe, and two years later, became the state political editor. After just eight months holding that position, Jennifer became the city editor in charge of local news. And finally, in January 2010, she reached her position as deputy managing editor for local news, overseeing the entire local news operation.
“Having been a reporter first helps me be a better editor,” she says. “I can empathize and I understand where reporters are coming from. But it is a funny transition, because deadlines and length requirements become much more important to you. And you realize how much you were torturing your editors for all the years you were going past deadline and over budget.”
The other challenge is the time commitment between work and family. Jennifer is currently the mother of a two-year-old daughter and is pregnant with her second child. The struggle is inevitable, but she is extremely grateful for the Boston Globe’s understanding and flexibility towards those beginning families. In fact, she became city editor at the same time she was pregnant. “I have had an employer who has allowed me to make it work,” she said. As a woman in journalism, she says she has never felt any challenge in terms of gender. Rather, the challenge comes with the craft of journalism, not within the environment she works in. “You can’t close your eyes and do it,” she says of her career. “That’s the part that makes it challenging, but what also keeps it
The most critical advice she can give for women, especially mothers, is finding an employer that respects their employee’s commitment to family. “You need an employer that will allow you to strike the right balance,” she said. And the Boston Globe has certainly allowed her to do this. But her maternal instinct does not get in the way of her journalistic instinct. “I very much want my employer to accommodate the fact that I have a family and young children, but I don’t try to take advantage of that. When I am here, I am 100 percent dedicated to [the job].”
“I feel blessed,” she says. “I landed on the right path without a lot of trial and error.”
Reading a good news story inspires her each day along her journey. Realizing how powerful the industry can be, the power in a compelling story and the ability to hold public officials accountable are some of the many reasons she intends to remain in journalism. But the most compelling factor has been “the inspiration of fellow journalists,” she says, “and what they were able to accomplish and my desire to do the same.”