There is a lot of hype out in the media these days about women being oppressed by, well… the media. Media, you may want to check yourself, you seem to be setting a double standard.
In all seriousness as a woman and as a proud and recent member of the media, this is an issue that has caught my attention and demands further research.
I recently watched the documentary Miss Representation and it gave me a lot to think about. I’m not necessarily recommending that everyone rush to their Netflix accounts and watch it, but it does have a few interesting points.
The point that most caught my attention was when they stated that women make up only 16 percent of the media, as in reporters, journalist, etc. Now a little further research, thanks Google, shows that the number is not quite accurate. Studies show women make up 30 percent of all newspaper journalist. I know that doesn’t encompass the whole of media but, being a woman newspaper journalist this is what interests me.
So why are women underrepresented in newspaper staff? It should be a profession that women flock to, it’s like getting paid to be a professional gossip. You have the right to be nosey, ask questions, get the inside scoop, and then you get to tell everyone about it! What’s not to love?
This should be something women, who are naturally better at communicating than men, are suited to. But yet men are still taking the lead by making 70 percent in the newsroom. So what gives?
I was excited and surprised to find out a couple of years into my journalism degree that my grandmother had gone to the same school I am in and for the same thing, journalism. Her big brother was journalist in WWII and she wanted to follow in his footsteps.
Her dreams were crushed when a male reporter came to guest lecture in one of her classes. He told her that as a journalist she would have to spend a lot of time conducting interviews in smoke-filled bars. I don’t know what kind of journalism he was conducting but it doesn’t sound like anything I would give any merit to.
She was devastated when she heard this, she had a strong distaste for cigarette smoke, bars, and the type of men who hung out in bars. With only one semester to go she changed her major to English and got her teaching degree instead.
I found this story heartbreaking. The man who ruined her career plans was either strongly misinformed about journalism, or was attempting to keep women out of the newsroom. Although I have no way of tracking this individual down now, he’s most likely dead at this point, I’d be willing to bet it was the latter.
So here is my quest, and what this blog will be dedicated to; are men still attempting to keep women out of the newsroom? Are female journalists considered subpar to male journalists? Will women journalist be treated differently by sources, other media, and readers?
I am just beginning what I hope to be a life-long career in journalism. With a fresh mind and thus far untainted perspective I hope to give a little insight to these issues. I would like to one day report that no, women are not being kept from journalism, and I would love to one day be an inspiration to other women who want to make their way into this field.
A quick report so far: Although I am still in college, with one year to go, I have just been hired for my first full-time position at a weekly paper. I was hired by a man I used to work for at a student newspaper. I feel that I was hired based on the merit of my work. It is a good feeling to get where you want to go and know that you propelled yourself there with a lot of hard work and late nights. Here’s to a lot more hard work and even more late nights.