Keyword
in
Collection
Date
to
Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 5, June 1978
Page 4
Citation
MLA
APA
Chicago/Turabian
Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 5, June 1978 - Page 4. June 1978. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. May 29, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/567/show/560.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(June 1978). Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 5, June 1978 - Page 4. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/567/show/560

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 5, June 1978 - Page 4, June 1978, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed May 29, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/567/show/560.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

URL
Embed Image
Compound Item Description
Title Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 5, June 1978
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date June 1978
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 4
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
File Name femin_201109_541d.jpg
Transcript of "la brecha" is "breakthrough." The dictionary says a breakthrough is any significant or sudden development that breaks down a barrier to progress. Every time it is used in the news it has a positive connotation, which is what we wanted the paper to convey about women's role in society. But, above all, it was a way to honor Mercedes, who is my friend, and her book and its impact on millions of women. How did you feel about that first issue? Well, of course, we thought it was perfect, the way new parents feel about their newborn child. It was the coming together of all of our talents and abilities - women who were writers, photographers, artists. None of us will ever forget the moment it came off the press. Or the smell of printers ink at 5:30 a.m. We realized that we had created something not just for ourselves, but for the community. How did you distribute it? We hand-addressed close to 10,000 papers of that first issue and compiled all kinds of mailing lists. We were so excited to have these issues arrive all around the country. Karen DeCrow wrote us our first fan letter. She called it "the best women's paper in the country,"and added, "no anti-male garbage." What are some problems unique to starting a women's paper? For one thing staff structure is a very political issue. One little item on the agenda for our first meeting was staff boxes, how we should list ourselves. It ended up taking the whole meeting. People talked about how they did not want Breakthrough to be like other publications they had worked on with a hierarchy — a managing editor listed at the top and circulation manager listed last, implying less importance. They also wanted the contribution acknowledgements to be as equitable as possible. One woman even suggested we be structured like a wheel - that we have a hub and spokes-persons. Since my background had been in film, I pointed out that in a film each role is important to the whole whether you're a producer, an editor, a cinematographer, or whatever. Each contribution is important and each role deserves recognition. We ended up listing ourselves in an alphabetical arrangement: art, advertising, circulation, production and so on, and then alphabetizing our names within each category. Whether a person works two hours per month or two hundred hours, the contribution receives equal recognition. In fact, most cf the work is done by three or four people each month, not 30. Yet everybody's two hours is significant. Another problem that I think is unique to a woman's press is the difficulty of editing and criticizing someone else's work. Most of our writers were new writers and we wanted to give them the opportunity to publish their first stories. Sometimes the stories were not well written, but we didn't know how to say, this is terrible. So we would rewrite stories ourselves rather than sit down with the writer and critique the work. Time was another factor because stories were often assigned or handed in at the last minute. But mainly we did not know how to criticize each other. We finally realized we weren't being honest with ourselves or with our writers and in the last year or so we have made progress in articulating our editing decisions. We've sat down with writers and said, "Look, this needs to be changed and this is the reason why." Now we're told that we're really strong editors and that writers have learned a lot from the feedback that they have received from us. No one on the paper has an editor complex, you know, the type who just can't wait to get a blue pencil after the copy. We all critique each other's work; each story goes through at least three editors. At Breakthrough the editors edit the editors. Unlike the male papers, competing with each other and with other media, our only competition is within each of us. We want the best from ourselves and the best from each other. So many people are involved with Breakthrough. What brings them together? People just come and knock at the door because they really want to write, or they want to contribute in some other way, to make whatever their talent available to others. We all have areas of our own expertise, and we learn from each other. This desire to share is what stands out. I'm thinking of how I felt the first day I approached this building, not knowing what was behind the door. I knew nothing about newspaper offices, and there I was with my first book review. It was a very strange feeling. To me that was a very significant moment. I was so excited about your review of the Rosalind Franklin book (March, 1978). I remember saying something like, "Of course, you've written before. Where have you been and, why haven't you come into our life sooner?" And you said, no, as a matter of fact, it was the first story you had ever written. I thought, this is what Breakthrough is all about. We should be a place for people to be discovered. The writers hidden in all those closets. Breakthrough has allowed individual women and men to publish photographs or first stories. I'm thinking now of a woman who had worked at a club as a waitress. She came in one day and said, "I just want to write so much, is there something I can do for you?" She showed us her resume. She had a Phi Beta Kappa degree from LSU and felt she was a disappointment to her family because with all her education she was working at the Greenroom downtown. She got a job as an editor of a small publication hepe as a result of the story she did for us. She's very happy. That's Breakthrough. What is a normal day in the life of Breakthrough! Well, it starts pretty early. I'm an early riser. Maybe some readers don't know this, but Breakthrough lives in a large red brick house on Rosewood with a fence around it and two dogs in the yard. I live upstairs with my dogs Angela and Boudu, and downstairs is the Breakthrough office. By 9 a.m. I'm opening the mail. Breakthrough has become such a personal thing: if we get a lot of subscriptions one day or if someone writes and says, "You know that story you all did last month was really good," it starts my whole day off well. Then the calls start coming in. In many ways Breakthrough acts as a woman's center. We get calls for referrals to a gynecologist or an attorney or from someone moving into Houston. The other day a woman called and said she and her friend were on the Southwest Freeway with her dog and cat and needed a place to live. They didn't know anything about the city. I put her on hold and made another call. The next day she called to say she had moved into her new apartment. Once we housed a battered woman, pregnant, 20 years old with three children. She and the children stayed for two weeks. Breakthrough has been all kinds of things to all kinds of people. Then there are all the people who work on the paper who drop by to see how things are doing. Sometimes they take their sick leave or vacation from their jobs to come and work for Breakthrough, filing clippings, or working on our circulation and keeping our new subscriber list up to date. That's a big part of our day, making cards and mailing labels and recording checks and making bank deposits. One week of the month we are in production and day and night we work on the new issue. Generally there are three or four people involved. As soon as we start typesetting, we are into serious production. Breakthrough is a pleasant environment to work in. I think it's because it's a home, not an office building. We have lots of light. I couldn't work in a place without windows. Other alternative papers I've seen always had windowless offices, little cubbyholes. Environment is really important to me. People joke about our purple kitchen. It was supposed to be blue, but the painters made a mistake and it's kind of like walking underwater to walk into it. We share a lot of communal meals there. What do you feel is Breakthrough 's most important contribution to the community? During Breakthrough 's first month I came across a quote by a woman who had begun another women's paper, Second Wave. She said that women have always been separated from each other, that we have never had our own ghetto, our own street language to remind us that we are of the same tribe. We have been separated politically, socially, economically and racially. A women's newspaper is a way to bring us together. Another contribution is political. In the April Breakthrough we did stories on candidates courting the women's vote. This is a turning point in the political recognition of women as a powerful voting bloc. At one time it was assumed that women voted like theirhusbands did. Now it is obvious that the independent woman is aware of issues. Candidates are coming to us. Women have key positions in their compaigns and more women are running for office themselves. We all love the quote from Kathy Whitmire's opponent, Steve Jones, when he lost the City Comptroller's race to her: "When . . ''. you've already got the lines of communication open through a newspaper like Breakthrough, well, how could you help but be effective?" What about Breakthrough 's daily coverage during the IWY conference? Oh, yes. I guess we could divide Breakthrough 's life into three periods: pre-IWY, IWY, and post-IWY. The pre-IWY period was really one of growing pains, a struggle for identity, learning. Much of our time was spent just getting the next month's issue out. IWY was the high point. It made us realize that with energy and creativity all coming together, we could be a daily newspaper. Planning for it began in August but every day brought some surprise. Janet Beals, an editor of a Harris- burg (Pa.) newspaper rang our doorbell a month before the convention and worked every day. At one point during the convention weekend we housed and fed 10 people. Most of us didn't sleep but there was this high feeling that kept us going. please turn to page 7 WANTED for Advertising Director Anyone knowing the whereabouts of a person meeting the following job description is asked to please call 526-6686 immediately: Creative Assertive Persuasive Confident Born to Sell Reward to person meeting the above job description Financial Independence JUNE 1978 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH