It’s been more than a year since I have started work with the newspaper and I could not be happier with what I am doing. Journalism can be a rewarding field, most days anyway. Living in a fairly small community with a paper that keeps a tight local focus makes this job a little different than the kind of work many reports do. But it also adds up to a lot of accountability. You can be guaranteed that the people you write about will read what you have to say. And if you happen to bump into them while you’re out grocery shopping that weekend, you better hope what you wrote was accurate.
During the past year there have been a few facets of the journalism world worth noting. Several times a year journalists have opportunities to at attend journalism conferences and workshops. The days filled people who are passionate about the same things and overflowing with creativity and new ideas can leave one pumped up for weeks after the conference ends. Journalists come from all over the state to participate in the annual Wisconsin Newspaper Association conference. Observing the crowd at that conference reveals an excellent sampling of the demographic of the newspaper community in Wisconsin. One observation about the crowd that was particularly interesting was the male to female ratio and how it related to age.
There were few women in attendance older than about 40. The 40 and up crowd was comprised of mostly men. No surprise here, it is a pretty well known fact that newspapers has been a boy’s game from the start. But there was an interesting shift in genders when looking at the younger attendees. The 30 to 40 aged crowd was more mixed, about half women and half men. But in looking at the youngest journalists there, anywhere from about 20 to 30, women dominated the group by far. Maybe 10 percent of the younger generation at the conference was comprised of men.
Journalism is changing in many ways. Print has sadly seen its heyday and the type of news people want to consume and how they want to consume it changes at a rate the media can hardly keep up with. But the most exciting change we are seeing today is the rise of the female journalist. A world that used to belong to men is giving way to women. Women have been taken seriously as journalists for a long time now but it’s exciting to see young women taking an interest in the field and continuing to keep it alive.