BABE #258: LULU RAMADAN - Journalist, The Palm Beach Post
Lulu is a journalist for the Palm Beach Post, where she reports on the local government and politics of southern Palm Beach County, FL. The topics she covers can be difficult to report, often requiring heavy investigations, but they’re stories that need to be told and she tells them well. With a firm belief in the power of the press — especially locally — she encourages us to support our hometown (and often forgotten) newspapers. Being a young female reporter is far from easy, but Lulu’s quest for the truth outweighs the hardships. She’s loyal to the duty she believes journalists are here for: to shed light on injustices, and she does so with grit, empathy and determination.
Hometown: Paterson, New Jersey
Current city: West Palm Beach, Florida
Alma mater: Florida Atlantic University (Go Owls!)
Degree: B.A., Communication Studies
Very first job: Sales
Hustle: Journalist, The Palm Beach Post; Board Member, Society of Professional Journalists Florida Chapter
Babe you admire and why?
Where do I start?! I have deep admiration for my friends, colleagues and mentors in the media industry. One of my best friends (and past Babes Who Hustle honoree), Emily Bloch, is a rockstar freelance reporter and editor for several national outlets. Our girl squad wouldn’t be complete without two fantastic journalists: Cassidy Alexander, education reporter at the Daytona Beach News Journal and fellow SPJ Florida board member, and Tessa Duval, Investigative Reporter at the Courier-Journal (and also fellow BWH honoree!) I have to shout out my female colleagues and friends at The Palm Beach Post: Hannah Winston, Olivia Hitchcock and Alexandra Seltzer.
How do you spend your free time?
If I’m not working, I’m probably reading a book, playing with my dog, lounging at a coffee shop or eating something delicious (that I definitely didn’t make myself).
Go-to coffee order and/or adult beverage?
A latte with almond milk, or a black pour-over if it’s brewed with the right coffee beans.
Current power anthem?
Now and always: “Rebel Girl,” by Bikini Kill.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
What’s something you want to learn or master?
I’m taking beginner courses on coding and big-data analysis, so I’d love to master that someday. (Though I’d settle for just grasping the skill, at this point.)
What tools most help you in your day-to-day work?
I’m a scheduling fiend. I don’t eat or sleep if it isn’t on my calendar app, so that’s probably the tool I use most.
Tell us about your hustle.
I cover local government and the politics of southern Palm Beach County for The Palm Beach Post. That basically means I write about everything from government spending, elections (and recounts—hello, Florida!), community news, profiles of interesting locals and the booming economy of one of Florida’s largest counties.
What does your typical workday look like?
I float around Palm Beach County, hopping from coffee shops to restaurants to city halls, writing about what I see and who I speak to. I interview sources about the news of the day and publish multiple stories a week.
Have you always had a passion for storytelling?
I’ve always been naturally curious. There’s nothing I love more than a good story. I love talking to people and asking questions, so journalism was a perfect fit.
What are the go-to publications and outlets you trust and believe in?
I get my news from countless publications I have the utmost confidence in. For national news, I read the Washington Post, The New York Times, BuzzFeed News, Vox and more. But my hat-tip always goes to local newspapers and reporters, no matter the area.
How do you feel about the current state of journalism in America (and its future?)
I worry for modern journalism and journalists. Newsrooms are shrinking, workloads are expanding and criticism (occasionally unwarranted and often relentless) is mounting. I think the first step to repairing the relationship between journalists and the American public is investing in local journalism—the kind untouched by national hyper-partisanism, that exists to shed light on important decisions that would otherwise take place without public knowledge or input.
What’s been your biggest career milestone?
My milestones are my stories, the big investigations that took more energy than I realized I was capable of exerting. I reported that local candidates stepped into voters’ homes in 2016 and helped them fill out mail ballots; that the mayor of Boca Raton had financial ties to the largest developer in the city, for which she was eventually criminally charged; and that former Florida Gov. Rick Scott restored voting rights to a lower percentage of black felons than his six predecessors. That data-driven piece [...] took months of research and reporting that included interviews with former felons who live all over the state. It was hard, but important, and that’s always the most rewarding reporting for me.
How has being a woman affected your professional experience?
Being a young woman in the industry isn’t easy. Sources and managers often underestimate young female journalists. I think we have to keep talking about the challenges women in media face, share bad experiences and force people in power to confront wage disparities and unhealthy or dangerous work environments. Shedding light on injustices is in our job description, after all.
What’s the gender ratio like in your industry?
I think there’s always a need for more women in the industry. Diversity in gender, race and ethnicity is an asset because people bring different perspectives to the table that allow us to explore topics from angles which would otherwise be unrecognized.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Let people question you, doubt you, tell you that you can’t accomplish your goals. Then prove them wrong.
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