Wednesday, November 10, 2004

An article of interest (FYI)

While coverage of the American Society of Newspaper Editor's annual newsroom census last week focused on the slight gains for racial and ethnic minorities, widely overlooked were similar small advances for women. Perhaps that's because women, overall, are still caught in a "crawl toward the goal post of equity," according to one leading commentator.

Michele Weldon, assistant professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and second vice president of the Journalism and Women Symposium, has analyzed the latest ASNE numbers for the Web site Women's E-news.

After a two-year decline, women's overall newsroom share rose from 37.05% to 37.23%, but some specific numbers are worse, she points out. Only 34.2% of supervisors are women. "How can that not affect decisions made about what stories to cover and how?" Weldon asks.

Only 26.2% of photographers are women.

Higher shares were reported for reporters (39.6%) and copy/layout (41.4%) but in both cases, gains were miniscule.

For women in journalism, Weldon writes, "something goes awry between studying for journalism and working in it. Women represent more than 70% of students in journalism schools or at universities with journalism or communications programs. In the newsroom, however that percentage has been cut in half...

"Women have needs for information on issues, from public policy to health care, that differ from those of male readers. To respond, we need to race toward parity in employing and promoting women at our country's newspapers so ambition can meet opportunity half way."


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