Archive for April, 2015

More men should mentor, sponsor women in the newsroom

Friday, April 24th, 2015

In March, I went to a Canadian Journalism Foundation talk about female newsroom leaders called Ceiling, Cracked? News Women in Charge.

As a female journalist, I was eager to hear about how women are doing and even more curious about how women minorities are doing in the industry.

At the start of the session, moderator Dawna Friesen of Global News praised the panel members — Wall Street Journal bureau chief Elena Cherney, Toronto Star managing editor Jane Davenport, CTV News president Wendy Freeman and CBC News GM/editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire ­– for “cracking the ceiling.” But she wished it wasn’t necessary to hold such a talk in 2015.

I didn’t hear any meaningful stats at the talk so I looked into it afterwards, and here’s what I found.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, women represent about 46 per cent of the 13,280 journalists in this country. That figure has remained the same since 2001. I couldn’t immediately find any statistics on enrollment rates for the country’s 50 post-secondary institutions that offer journalism programs. I asked the communications officer at the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada for enrollment numbers which aren’t broken down by race or gender but they weren’t disclosed.

In the United States, women make up 36 per cent of the newsroom and that ratio hasn’t changed much since 1999, according to a 2013 study by the Women’s Media Center using a survey by the American Society of Newsroom Editors.

And it’s about the same percentage for women in leadership roles, according to a 2014 Nieman Report. Click here to read the full report.

“Despite making up half the population, and more than half of communication school graduates each year, women represent just 35 percent of newspaper supervisors, according to the 2014 American Society of News Editors (ASNE) newsroom census,” writes the report’s author Anna Griffin.

“They run just three of the nation’s 25 largest titles, eight of the 25 biggest papers with circulations under 100,000, and three of the 25 biggest with circulations under 50,000. Only one of the top 25 international titles is run by a woman.”

I’ve yet to find any current stats on how women are doing as newsroom leaders here in Canada.

Ryerson University’s Marsha Barber and Ann Rauhala surveyed 221 news editors and news directors from TV, radio and newspapers from 2002-2005, and found only 19 per cent or 42 of those surveyed were women.

At the Ceiling, Cracked talk, CTV’s Freeman said more men should mentor and sponsor women in the newsroom largely because there are still more men at the top. She benefited from her mentor, anchor Lloyd Robertson, who was responsible for handpicking her to be executive producer of CTV’s National and for her becoming network president.

One positive development was this: Davenport, who said a dozen women are in management roles at the Star, said her paper would be hiring 60 people for the paper’s tablet edition and that diversity would play an important role in hiring.

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