I’ve been slightly obsessed with Mad Men lately (thanks, Netflix) and I found myself thinking about the rampant sexism in the 1960s.
"Thank God I don’t have to deal with that today."
I am 28, but I look much younger. It’s a fact of life, and one I am sure I will appreciate as I get older.
I have been working since 2004. I have been reporting and editing since 2002. That’s seven years of professional experience and nine years of experience if you count my college journalism experience.
Why do my credentials matter? Because, as a young woman in the newsroom, I find that I have to quote my experience more often than not, to the point that I’ve often thought about putting my resume next to my nameplate.
Last week, I linked to a post by Amanda McCormick about being a woman in tech. Since then I’ve talked to other women in positions similar to mine in newsrooms.
It pains me that in the seven years I’ve been in journalism — the career of my dreams, one that has given me the greatest amount of happiness — I’ve had to deal with sexism and ageism still.
Women outnumber men in journalism schools, yet I’ve come across editors and management who cannot fathom that a young woman is capable enough to run a web site, to manage staffers, to do much else stay on the bottom of the rung.
I’ve run across editors who touch women inappropriately. I’ve seen editors who so keenly watch powerful women in the newsroom that they make requests and demands they never would of a male. I am up for the fight to prove myself, but the point is I shouldn’t have to.
We are decades past the workplaces of Mad Men, yet women in newsrooms still quietly deal with it.
Why is diversity an issue for journalism? And why is it easy for us to say that “we need to hire more minorities” but when a capable, smart, younger woman comes along, they are cast aside?
The web is a tricky world and many newsroom folk are afraid of webkind. We are going to steal their jobs, we are going to replace them, we will…I’m not sure.
I understand this. I’m willing to teach and work with older or less tech-savvy journalists. But I find it hard to do so when they don’t respect me. Many web journalists are younger, some of the best I know make me feel like a retiree. But knowledge in the wild west of web journalism does not come with a degree or X years of experience. It comes with talent, a willingness to try and a relentless personal pursuit of knowledge. The number of candles on your birthday cake do not matter here. The answer is not as simple as diversity training or a chat with HR. What we speak is not always how we act. Do I wait until the offenders retire? Do I leave journalism for marketing again, an industry where youth and gender mean nothing? This is no longer OK. I’m tired of dealing with it quietly.
“…almost every great newspaper in America believes that it’s more important to get a few more page views on their website than to encourage meaningful discourse about current events within their community, even if many of those page views will be off-putting to the good people who are offended by the content of the comments. And because lots of publishers think that any conversation is good if it boosts traffic stats.”—(via @matthewi) If your website’s full of assholes, it’s your fault - Anil Dash
“So far, however, the most fertile ground for innovation is California. The Golden State’s long-suffering newspaper industry has left many public officials unwatched and provided plenty of laid-off journalists eager to watch them. The state’s cosmopolitanism appeals to the creative professionals who tend to staff journalism startups.”—
It’s true. I can only hope KPCC is part of that innovation. *crosses fingers*
“They didn’t view their fans as walking wallets—for them, their most important task was to make sure that every fan experience was meaningful and memorable. They understood that it was the fans that make the artist a success. Essentially, they knew the fans were their bosses.”—