Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’


A global need for an equal industry

Today in the UK is Equal Pay Day, where The Fawcett Society, a campaign group promoting gender equality and women’s rights, says that both genders will be paid equal only by 2117.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK’s equivalent to the US Census Bureau, women are paid 7.2 percent less than men. Their median earnings are £16.30 ($21.51) an hour, while men’s median earnings are £17.57 ($23.18) an hour.

In the United States, women are paid 86 percent of their male counterparts, according to data from the US Census Bureau. Their median earnings are $48,597, compared to men whose median earnings are $56,430.

In both Britain and the US, the subject of the gender pay gap has been at the center of conversation, especially in journalism. The BBC recently made headlines for the differences in how they pay male and female journalists and personalities. Female journalists at the broadcaster took to Twitter to advocate for equal pay for men and women.

It also sparked this tweet from Greg James, a DJ on Radio 1, the BBC’s popular music network, which also airs Newsbeat, designed for younger audiences.

In the US, The Wall Street Journal was one of the publications which was part of the debate on journalism’s gender pay gap, where they pay women 85 percent of their male colleagues – which had raised concerns especially with a lack of women in the publication’s management.

Men and women enter journalism and the media for the same reasons – to inform, engage and educate, and to make a difference in their communities. Women play just as equal of a role as men, and their work has an impact not just on the communities themselves, but for journalism as a profession.

The debate may go beyond the shores of the United States, but the goals remain the same. We owe it to ourselves, to quote James, to shout about it. We owe it to ourselves to fight for equal pay for men and women, and for the opportunities that come with it. We owe it to ourselves to not take for granted the contributions made by women in journalism. We owe it to ourselves to emphasize every day why women are needed in this industry, and how they make journalism stronger with all they do.

We can do this, and we must – not just for our sake, but for journalism’s.

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 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.

Lessons from Sarah

The stories filtered through my Twitter algorithm with a unison voice. Sarah Portlock, to them, was more than just any other colleague or journalist.

Portlock, a reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal, died Monday in New York. A memo from Journal editor Gerry Baker said she had suffered a traumatic brain injury earlier in the year.

I never met Portlock or had the opportunity to work with her. Yet, as I read these stories, I was reminded of the value of supporting each other in the profession, in a time where competition is fierce, news of layoffs are the norm, and the culture of journalism is challenged with digital advances alongside the repetitive chants of fake news and rampant criticism from government officials.

In his memo, Baker noted that Portlock extended a helping hand to all who came in contact with her.

“Sarah will be remembered by colleagues in Washington and New York as a warm and kind colleague, a friendly face for new employees; the organizer of cards and gifts when someone had a new baby or got married; the planner of team-building happy hours; and the cheerleader of friends and colleagues when they landed a big scoop, finished a big project or received some recognition for work well done,” Baker wrote. “Sarah will be remembered by all for her thoughtfulness and her collegiality.”

Portlock’s efforts also extended to the Star-Ledger in New Jersey, where as one reporter put it on Twitter, she made them feel more than just ordinary reporters at a large paper.

But the tweet that stood out to me the most was from the Journal’s Allison Prang, which is a call to action to all journalists.

There are a lot of questions about journalism and its future which remain unanswered. There are a lot of people, myself included, who wonder about the future, and if we can have an impact. If Sarah Portlock has taught the journalism community anything, it is this – our work is important, and our industry has meaning when we work together and support each other, especially in difficult times.

This is needed now more than ever. When we support each other, we can do great things. When we support each other, whether supporting a young reporter or supporting a fellow colleague (in your newsroom or in another newsroom), we can face the challenges ahead. When we support each other, we are at our best – for when journalism is at its best, the people who we serve will be too.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 2:57pm CT to amend a spacing error.

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 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.

WSJ: Putting their money where the byline is

The Wall Street Journal has pledged to remove the gender gap in their newsroom. They should keep their word. (Photo: Neon Tommy/Flickr)

Last year, when SPJ convened in New Orleans for the annual Excellence in Journalism conference, my colleague, Elle Toussi (who co-chairs SPJ’s International Community) and I co-wrote a resolution with the help of chapters and colleagues nationwide calling for women in journalism to be supported, and for resources to be made available to help them thrive in the industry.

When we wrote the resolution, it included a mention of activity at the Wall Street Journal, as its editor-in-chief, Gerard Baker, had called for the elimination of the gender pay gap. Baker’s goals had the support of its parent company, Dow Jones.

One year later, there are concerns about that pledge and if it will be honored. According to a report from the Columbia Journalism Review, nearly 200 reporters at the organization are waiting for a reply to a letter, dated the 28th of March, regarding workplace equality, and their patience is running out.

The Review also notes that there has been a decline in stories with women bylines published in the A section. The company pays women 85 percent of their work compared to men, the report adds.

A reporter who works with the women’s advocacy group at Dow Jones told CJR there were still concerns.

“This is something that is a very regular topic of conversation among editors and reporters—gender disparity, pay disparity, not feeling that our newsroom is as diverse as it needs to be in terms of race, LGBT employees, or [those with] diverse socioeconomic backgrounds,” the reporter said, who was not named by CJR at the reporter’s request for concerns of retaliation in the workplace.

This report comes as news emerged of a lack of female management at the publication. Rebecca Blumenstein left the Journal earlier this year to join the masthead of the New York Times. In the letter staffers signed from March, Blumenstein’s departure signaled a broader concern.

“Our highest ranking female role model left the company earlier this year,” the staffers wrote. “There are currently four women and eight men listed as deputy managing editors, and both editorial page editors are men. Nearly all the people at high levels at the paper deciding what we cover and how are white men.”

When Toussi and I wrote the resolution, we applauded the Journal’s decision to close the gap, and called on other organizations to follow suit. We also agreed with the resolution passed by the Asian American Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, and the Journalism and Women Symposium (for the record, NAHJ is partnering with SPJ for this year’s Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim, California).

In this important time for journalism, a diverse newsroom is quintessential. It is a newsroom to be proud of – a newsroom dedicated to ethical journalism and reporting the facts, whatever they may be, without fear or favor.

It is a newsroom that signals, especially in the digital age, that diversity is valued, and that women’s voices in journalism are just as important as men’s, especially with studies showing more women studying journalism in the US. Their ideas help enhance the best industry in the world, and they will continue to do so tomorrow, and in the days, months and years ahead.

Women should be recognized as equal in the newsroom, and Baker and the Journal should keep their word. They have a unique opportunity before them to eliminate the gap, to ensure a truly equal workplace environment, and send a clear message that no matter who you are or what platform you work on you can do what matters most in journalism – seek truth and report it.

Alex Veeneman is a freelance journalist who writes for publications in the US and the UK. He also serves on SPJ’s Ethics Committee. You can interact with him on Twitter @alex_veeneman.

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.

The need for journalism

Last night, John Oliver used humor to make a point about the future of this industry.

A portion of his HBO program Last Week Tonight was devoted to a look at journalism, and the future of newspapers, amidst the decline of advertising revenue. In a near 20 minute segment, Oliver examined the case for journalism, through a monologue and a satirical skit of the film Spotlight, and how the direction of newspapers and other aspects of the industry will dictate how journalism is conducted moving forward.

Yet, his quote towards the end before the filmed skit resonated the biggest challenge for journalism yet, and what will happen to the industry down the road if nothing is done about it.

“Sooner or later, we are either going to have to pay for journalism or we are all going to pay for it,” Oliver said.

Oliver’s monologue about paying for journalism reflects a generational divide, a generation accustomed to paying for news through newspapers versus a generation, through the internet and social media, accustomed to getting content for free, and reluctant to pay for it, exacerbated in this social media age.

I am a part of that latter generation. I am a 24 year old who has access to an abundance of information no matter the circumstance — anytime, anywhere, all for the low, low price of $0.00.

It is worth investing in subscriptions to papers like The New York Times, for it will bring significant long-term benefits. (Photo: Haxorjoe/Wikimedia Commons)

It is worth investing in subscriptions to papers like The New York Times, for it will bring significant long-term benefits. (Photo: Haxorjoe/Wikimedia Commons)

Yet, compared to my peers, I am willing to invest in that content. Every day, a newspaper arrives at my house — The Wall Street Journal Monday through Saturday, and the Chicago Tribune on Sunday. But on the same token, I also look at sites that are either paywalled or have their content for free — from The Guardian to The New York Times, the BBC to Reuters and NPR, and periodically — The New Yorker. I also will find content linked either from Twitter or Facebook. I also have a digital subscription to the Journal that ties in with the newspaper subscription.

I read to stay informed of the world around me and to keep up with trends — I read the Journal, the Guardian and others because an informed and educated public is beneficial for our society, and for democracy, something journalism can give. It is something that I am not afraid to pay for.

Those in this industry enter it and seek work in it because we believe in the fundamental principles for which it is associated. We subscribe to its ideas and its values align with our own. We believe in the cause for an informed public and an enhanced civil discourse — that those in power must be held to account, that the work we do together can do the most good.

I believe in the role journalism has in our world, and the role information and education can have in making the lives of others better. I can’t imagine a circumstance where the world is bereft of journalism, which is why its worth supporting and paying for.

It is important for all of us to invest in journalism, for your investment now will result in a significant investment down the road, in the education and knowledge that comes from the pages, in print and online, about your world and your life. That alone has more benefits than seeing a video of a raccoon cat time and time again.

So, subscribe to journalism. Support my friends and colleagues who believe in making the world better, and invest in democracy. Trust me, it’s worth every penny.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is 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.

What can Instagram’s new app do for journalism?

Instagram unveiled its new app, Hyperlapse, a couple of weeks ago. But does it have any benefits for journalism? (Photo: Zenspa1/Flickr under CC license)

Instagram unveiled its new app, Hyperlapse, a couple of weeks ago. But does it have any benefits for journalism?
(Photo: Zenspa1/Flickr under CC license)

This past August, Instagram unveiled its new Hyperlapse app, designed to create time lapse clips from videos. This week, it got its first outing in journalism, as it was used during coverage of New York Fashion Week.

Journalists from publications including The Wall Street Journal and Lucky used the app to create time lapse videos of catwalks during events. Outside of New York Fashion Week, the LA Times used it to capture visitors with the NHL Stanley Cup.

With this usage, can there be benefits for journalism when it comes to Hyperlapse? Not many examples of it being used emerge, but some in the industry, including Catherine Cloutier, a data journalist with the Boston Globe and a co-organizer of the Online News Association’s chapter in Boston, are saying there are benefits.

I imagine it would be an easier and more user-friendly way to do a time-lapse video, which newsrooms use to show dramatic change over a span of time,” Cloutier said, in an email to SPJ Digital.

Have you used Hyperlapse? What benefits do you see Hyperlapse having in journalism? Let us know what you think in our comments section, post on our Facebook page or tweet us.

Alex Veeneman is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists based in Chicago. Veeneman also serves as Special Projects Editor and writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can tweet him @alex_veeneman.

‘The People Have Tweeted’

“The people have Tweeted.” And apparently they really like chewing Trident Layers gum.

When Trident recently paid for full-page ads in USA Today, the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, the maker of the new, multi-flavored gum may have made history. They’re the first company to “embrace real-time Web-branded conversations” as marketing tool in a mainstream print ad, according to Tim Leberecht of CNET.com.

But the ad — featuring a giant pink and red gum strip surrounded by 10 enthusiastic Tweets such as “Trident Layers. The gum that loves you back” — pushes Twitter toward a thin, transient pop culture line. At what point does a social networking site cease to be cool? I’m sure News Corp execs, who hotly dispute the notion that MySpace is now “uncool,” secretly wish they knew the answer to that question.

Less than five years ago, Rupert Murdoch spent $580 million in cash to purchase MySpace in 2005. But now advertisers are following users out MySpace’s digital door. Yet, between the spring of 2008 and the same period this year, Facebook nearly doubled its unique U.S. visitor total to 70.28 million while overtaking MySpace, which lost 3.4 million unique U.S. visitors over the same span.

Meanwhile, MySpace fired 30 percent of its U.S. staff in June amid an ad sales slump. Advertisers are expected to spend $520 million this year at MySpace or 14 percent less than in 2008, while Facebook’s worldwide ad sales are projected to rise 20 percent to $300 million this year, according to the research firm eMarketer.

As Matthew Flam wrote about MySpace in a June story at Crainsnewyork.com: “Some observers feel that with a home page ad that reads ‘Meet Russian Women’ and a Wild West atmosphere that has resisted efforts to transform it, MySpace will never get its buzz back.”

None of which is to say that social networking sites suddenly become uncool by partnering or associating with advertisers. (In Twitter’s case, Trident concocted the ad and its team discovered the positive gum Tweets via a Twitter search, according to Leberecht of CNET. Trident then used the Tweets after seeking permission from the Twitter users who posted them.)

Just look at Burger King. Its brilliant marketing push for the Whopper, conceived by MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky, offered a free coupon for the burger to any Facebook user who “defriended” 10 people. Facebook users dropped a whopping 233,906 friends for the Whopper, which lead Facebook to ask Burger King to take the app down.  The ad agency behind the gimmick told The Wall Street Journal that the controversy generated 32 million news articles and media mentions.

Ultimately, it might not be so difficult to tell which Web sites will cross the line into cultural irrelevancy. Few companies succeed when they assume they’re indispensible. Most of all, Web sites must continually innovate and adapt to users’ wants and needs. As Charlene Li, founder of the research firm the Altimeter Group, told the LA Times in June, “The speed with which a company like Facebook is able to innovate and keep things fresh is the key to survival in this space.” 

Scranton-based communications professional Daniel Axelrod spent five years as a full-time newspaper reporter before moving into public relations in April. He is president of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Keystone Pro Chapter, which covers most of Pennsylvania, and 2009-10 vice chairman of SPJ’s national Digital Media Committee.

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