Posts Tagged ‘news’

Women in Journalism (and Bob Dylan quotes)

November 13, 2009

That’s the name of my Mom’s last PowerPoint presentation for her JMC110 class (minus the Dylan parentheses). That’s the last hour-and-a-half-long lecture she gave to 125 squirming Freshmen.

I sat in on it because I didn’t know who Ida B. Wells was, and it got me thinking.

That PowerPoint was chok-full of MegaWomen, and students cited their favorites — Christiane Amanpour, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Barbara Walters. And that classroom was absolutely full of young women. (I won’t mention the fact that some of the young men in the class cited Erin Andrews as their favorite woman journalist “because she’s hot” — oops, I mentioned it).

I am in a graduate program in journalism right now that has 19 young women in it, and one guy. One. You know what I have to say about that? The times, they are a-changin’ my friends.

Let’s take a quick look at the newspaperman past: (I’m going to dress up like this for Halloween one year)


Now, a look at the newsman — past (and present):


There’s no way of knowing if this is just us Cronkite…ah…ites who are witnessing first-hand the changing of guards of the journalism profession. And it’s purely anecdotal from my point of view, but things seem to be shifting. All colleges around the US are 60-40 women on average and the trend doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. (Anyone know what the classes look like at other j-schools around the country?)

There are two questions that come to mind with this: 1) When did journalism become a woman’s field? and 2) Will we still have to spend most of our lives on morning television before we finally getting the job we’ve always deserved?

And I can make two guesses in answer to those questions: 1) Probably about now, and 2) There likely won’t be morning television jobs to giggle through for the next 20 years.

OK, I thought of three questions: Does this, perhaps, have something to do with the concurrent (and complete) demise of the news industry as we know it? There’s a theory I learned in my Freshman year Sociology class that blew my mind at the time. It said that necessary, subservient, under-appreciated, jobs — teaching, nursing, office management — have become women’s jobs in order to maintain the patriarchal social structure. Or, the social structure forced women into subservient jobs…etc. (Chicken or egg?)

I can’t help but think it at least timely (at best ironic) that more and more women are becoming journalists at a time when all that’s left of the journalism strongholds are a lot of (male) executive editors who watched from their corner offices as innovation was laughed away and the Internet blew up their business model.

And then there are the ones who stood up to the publishers and those who are working now to help the next generation innovate — many of whom are now my professors.

No, in the future, the face of journalism will look probably look more like this:


Oh, and this (the one guy):


Well, I agree with Dylan in this case: Don’t think twice, it’s all right.

(Thanks to Lisa in Phoenix and Grant’s facebook for the photos)


Call me Swine-y

November 8, 2009

…my sister has been calling me that all week (safely, via phone).

This Wednesday, after a few days of an increasing fever and generally feeling crappy, I went to the doctor. When he came into the examination room wearing a mask over his mouth and nose, I knew this wasn’t looking good.


When he told me I had the swine flu, though, I almost laughed. Knowing that that would seem rather inappropriate, considering the face mask and the cotton swabs and all, I coughed instead (which was convincing, considering the state of my lungs).

It’s not that I didn’t think it seriously sucked that I had managed to catch this ridiculously contagious virus, or that my entire body didn’t feel like it had been put through a meat grinder — no, it was just that it’s funny when you’re life is actually affected by the news…when you spend all day, every day talking and learning about the news.

It was rather ironic, too. You see, I’ve been making fun of the hysteria over swine flu since the outbreak began last year while I was interning at a major news network’s Web site. I’ll never forget the look on the harassed health reporter’s face that day. “It’s just the flu!” she would screech. Yes, I mocked the frenzy over the vaccination (“It’s just the flu,” I repeated with an heir of superiority) and I laughed at the incessant coverage and claimed it was all being manufactured by the media.

Well, I got mine.

I’ve spent four days now at home on the couch, drugged up on painkillers and tossing and turning through Nyquil-induced sleep. And let me tell you, if you want a flashback to childhood, get really sick while you’re living with your parents again. I’ve never felt less my age.

I drank 7-Up, read bad novels and watched Pride and Prejudice (not the 6-hour BBC version, mind you, but not for lack of time). I was spoon-fed cough medicine and always had a cold towel to put on my forehead (I’ve said it before, I have the best Dad ever). I haven’t spent this much time in my pajamas since that semester during my freshman year of college when my dorm was located approximately 50 feet from my 8:30 am class.

It’s been a refreshing experience for a self-confessed workaholic like myself, knowing that I wasn’t allowed to be around people. It’s also been about as boring as the subway ride from Fordham Road to Coney Island — and waaaay longer.

When I left the doctor’s office Wednesday, he offered me his hand to shake, probably out of habit. Shaking it, I said, “You’d better go wash your hands now.”

“I think I’ll go boil them,” he said.