Posts Tagged ‘International Women’s Day’


Championing women every day

Margaret Brennan of CBS News interviewing former Secretary of State John Kerry in 2015. (Photo: US Department of State/Flickr)

Next Thursday, International Women’s Day is observed – the day where women’s contributions to society, including in journalism, are celebrated.

Much of the conversation has been on the role of women in journalism in light of the #MeToo movement on social media and the sexual harassment allegations against prominent male media figures, including Mark Halperin, Charlie Rose, Michael Oreskes, Garrison Keillor, Harvey Weinstein, and most recently, Tom Ashbrook.

Recent statistics from the Women’s Media Center, a nonprofit group in Washington, showcase a wide gender gap in journalism. On television, 74.8 percent of men report news compared to 25.2 percent of women. The 25.2 percent figure is a decline of last year’s amount of 32 percent of female reporters. PBS Newshour features the most female reporting versus the big three networks (PBS had 45 percent of content reported by women, versus 12 percent at ABC and 32 percent at both NBC and CBS).

In print, no outlet achieved gender parity. Men write 61.9 percent of the news, while women report 38.1 percent of the news. The widest gap is at the New York Daily News, where women write 24 percent of content compared to 76 percent of men, followed by USA Today (70 percent by men, 30 percent by women) and a tie between The Denver Post and The Wall Street Journal (66 percent by men, 34 percent by women). The New York Times has 61 percent of content written by men versus 39 percent by women, and The Washington Post has 57 percent of content written by women versus 43 percent by women.

On the web, men received 53.9 percent of bylines. At the four sites surveyed, The Daily Beast saw 38 percent of its bylines go to women, followed by CNN at 45 percent, The Huffington Post at 49 percent, and Fox News’ web site with 50 percent. At The Associated Press and Reuters, Reuters has more women having bylines than at the AP – 39 percent compared to 35 percent.

Meanwhile, at NPR, staff diversity figures published in January show that 56.2 percent of its newsroom is women, an increase from last year’s total of 55.1 percent.

At SPJ, of the 23 seats on the Board of Directors, 13 of those seats are occupied by women, including national President Rebecca Baker, President-Elect Alex Tarquinio and Secretary-Treasurer Patti Newberry. In its network of 5 communities, four of them are either chaired or co-chaired by women, while of its 9 committees, 6 of them are chaired or co-chaired by women. Additionally, Alison Bethel McKenzie was today appointed SPJ’s executive director, becoming the second woman in the organization’s history to hold the post.

Women and men enter this profession for similar reasons – to inform, educate and engage audiences about the world around them. Women’s contributions to this industry are just as important as men’s, and their work is just as important in showcasing journalism’s potential – whether its holding the powerful to account in the government or in one’s own organization, or helping to connect the dots so the public can be at its best.

Indeed, the stories that have emerged in light of the #MeToo movement indicate that much more needs to be done when it comes to supporting women in journalism – not just taking on the gender parity at organizations, but also improving workplace culture. Women should be allowed to practice journalism and complete this important work free from fear of intimidation and abuse. We all do this work to ensure the public is at their best – it is essential that all who work in journalism are at their best too.

Many prominent women in journalism come to mind, from Margaret Brennan at CBS; Mary-Louise Kelly and Tamara Keith at NPR; Courtney Norris at the PBS Newshour; Raney-Aronson Rath of Frontline; Kristen Hare of the Poynter Institute; Tory Starr of WGBH in Boston; Laura Yuen, Cathy Wurzer (also of Twin Cities PBS), Meg Martin and Laura McCallum at Minnesota Public Radio to Beth Francesco at the University of Texas at Arlington; Briana Bierschbach at MinnPost; all the women who helped organize and who are members of the LA Times guild; Laura Davis of the University of Southern California; journalists Torey Van Oot and Katie Hawkins-Gaar, and women coast to coast who seek the truth and report it.

Their work indicates that journalism is still a necessity in modern society. Their contributions should never be overlooked nor taken for granted.

The kick ass women who work in journalism should also be celebrated, not just on International Women’s Day, but on this day, and every single day.

Alex Veeneman is a freelance journalist in Minneapolis and a member of SPJ’s Ethics and FOI Committees. You can interact with him on Twitter @alex_veeneman.

The views expressed unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Digital Community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Women are the future

“The future of media looks like this.”

That is how a tweet from Josiah Ryan, a senior producer for CNN in New York, began when discussing the recent front page cover story on the network from The Hollywood Reporter.

Featuring the network’s chief executive, Jeff Zucker, and other journalists and personalities, including Jake Tapper, Anthony Bourdain, Casey Neistat and W. Kamau Bell, the story focused on the future of the network in the digital age.

The tweet however, became subject of rampant criticism from others in the industry as well as other Twitter users, notably for the absence of women on the front page, and the message the tweet sent in the replies.

The criticism also came as the tweet was shared.

This week, International Women’s Day is observed – a day to recognize the achievements and contributions women have made around the world, including in journalism. This also coincides with the celebration of Women’s History Month.

There has been a recent increase of women studying journalism, and indeed there are prominent women in digital journalism, including Katie Hawkins-Gaar at the Poynter Institute, Tory Starr and Raney Aronson-Rath at WGBH in Boston, Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post, Tamara Keith and Sarah McCammon at NPR, Asma Khalid at WBUR in Boston, Meredith Artley at CNN (and the past president of the Online News Association) and Laura Davis at the University of Southern California, as well as the women whose tweets are quoted in this piece and others who work to keep this industry strong.

This also is the first year that the executive leadership at SPJ has been led by three women – President Lynn Walsh, President-Elect Rebecca Baker and Secretary-Treasurer Alex Tarquinio. Additionally, 14 of the 23 seats on SPJ’s Board of Directors are held by women, while of SPJ’s 9 committees, 4 of them have women listed as chairs or co-chairs. Also, in SPJ’s 5 active communities, 4 of them have women serving as chair or co-chair.

Indeed, SPJ members like Walsh, Baker, Tarquinio, Robyn Davis Sekula, Rachel McClelland, Kathryn Foxhall, Sarah Bauer Jackson, Elle Toussi, Dana Neuts and Dori Zinn, in addition to other SPJ members nationwide and those who work behind the scenes at its headquarters in Indianapolis, play significant roles in the development of the future of media.

All of these women have something in common. Every day, at their outlets, be it a broadcast outlet, a web site or a newspaper, they inform, educate and engage. They help the public make sense of events, and help the world cope better.

The future of media is something that will continued to be discussed, questioned, debated and dissected. Yet, there is something necessary to the future of this industry – women. Their ideas are quintessential to the development of the future. Their contributions allow journalism to be stronger, and they inspire me to help make journalism better.

The debates may continue, but one thing is for certain – women are the future of media, and we must never take them, their ideas or their contributions for granted – ever.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member, is a member of SPJ’s Ethics Committee and a contributor to the SPJ blog network. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is a Managing Editor and contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital Community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Celebrating women in journalism

Today is International Women’s Day — a day to celebrate and recognize the contributions women have made to the world. As journalism evolves, ideas and contributions by women have allowed to make the industry stronger for the future.

International Women’s Day occurs amid interesting roles for gender equity in the industry. Recent studies, notably from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University in Britain, showed that more women are studying journalism compared to men in multiple countries, including the United States. However, there is still difficulty when it comes to representation of women when you enter the industry.

Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff anchoring the PBS Newshour during the election of 2012. (Photo: Newshour/Flickr under CC)

Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff anchoring the PBS Newshour during the election of 2012. (Photo: Newshour/Flickr under CC)

Data from the non-profit Women’s Media Center, showcased in their State of Women in the US Media in 2015, showcased that within newspapers, the Chicago Sun-Times had 55 percent of women having bylines, and both The Wall Street Journal and the LA Times had 40 percent of women with bylines. The New York Times had only 32 percent of women with bylines, USA Today had 33 percent and The Washington Post had 39 percent. More men were on the paper’s editorial boards compared to women.

On the major television networks, consisting of PBS, ABC, CBS and NBC, PBS had the most female reporters of the four with 44 percent. In addition, Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill co-anchor the PBS Newshour program, weeknights. At ABC, 30 percent of the reporters were women, with 29 percent at CBS and 43 percent at NBC. Men anchor the main evening newscasts on those networks (David Muir, Scott Pelley and Lester Holt, respectively). Specific data for cable networks (Fox, CNN, MSNBC) were not available, however the Center’s data indicates there is a larger amount of men working in TV news (58.8 percent) compared to women (41.2 percent).

In online journalism, four news sites were surveyed — The Huffington Post, CNN, The Daily Beast, and Fox News. The Huffington Post had the most female reporters with 53 percent, compared to CNN’s 42 percent, Fox’s 39 percent and The Daily Beast’s 31 percent. Of the two wire services (AP and Reuters), Reuters had more women reporters than the AP (41 percent and 35 percent respectively).

When it came to beats however, there were significant differences. More men covered US and global politics, as well as business, technology, sports, culture and weather. There was an equal paring with lifestyle, and more women covered education and religion compared to men.

At the SPJ, research for this blog post indicated more women holding leadership positions compared to men. Of the 23 members of the Board of Directors, 14 of them are women. Within the 12 regions, the gender balance among directors is equally split.

In the 9 active committees, six of them have women either serving as chair or vice chair. In the network of five active communities, four of them have women serving as chair or co-chair of that community.

Frontline executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath (right), who took over the role after David Fanning (left) stepped down and became executive producer at-large. (Image: The Peabody Awards/Wikimedia Commons under CC)

Frontline executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath (right), who took over the role after David Fanning (left) stepped down and became executive producer at-large. (Image: The Peabody Awards/Wikimedia Commons under CC)

Women make significant contributions to the future of journalism every day, especially in digital journalism, including Laura Davis at the University of Southern California, Kim Bui at Reported.ly, Tory Starr at WGBH in Boston, Katie Hawkins-Gaar of the Poynter Institute, Millie Tran at BuzzFeed and Kat Chow at NPR.

While the issue of gender equity won’t be solved overnight, it is important that everyone recognizes the role they have in this ever changing industry. what matters is not the differences in gender, race or sexual orientation in someone, but the ideas they bring — ideas that are worth listening to now, and in the months and years ahead.

After all, that great idea will be the idea that keeps journalism continuing to be at its best, and its something that I celebrate not just on this day, but every day.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to Net Worked on social media’s role in the future of journalism. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer on journalism and media issues for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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