Seeking Equity for Women in Journalism and Mass Communication Education: A 30-Year Update/Mass Media and the Shaping of American Feminism, 1963-1975/taking Their Place: A Documentary History of Women in Journalism

Article excerpt

* Rush, Ramona, Carol Oukrop, and Pamela Creedon, eds. (2004). Seeking Equity for Women in Journalism and Mass Communication Education: A 30-Year Update. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 483.

* Bradley, Patricia (2003). Mass Media and the Shaping of American Feminism, 1963-1975. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, pp. 320.

* Beasley, Maurine and Shelia Gibbons (2003). Taking Their Place: A Documentary History of Women in Journalism. State College, PA: Strata Publishing, pp. 315.

In 1946, Marion Carpenter was one of the first female members of the White House News Photographers' Association; she regularly covered Harry Truman's presidency. Despite her pioneering role, in 2002, she died alone, destitute and unheralded in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her story appears at the end of seeking Equity for Women in Journalism and Mass Communication Education: A 30-Year Update,, edited by Ramona Rush, Carol Oukrop, and Pamela Creedon, and serves as a symbol of the many untold stories about women in journalism and journalism education.

Rush, Oukrop, and Creedon's work, along with two other recent books, fills some of the void of women in journalism history. They each would be a great addition to the growing number of women and media courses, yet could be added to traditional journalism history or media and society courses.

Rush, Oukrop, and Creedon's book updates the 1972 report, "(More Than You Ever Wanted to Know): About Women in Journalism Education," by looking at efforts of women to gain respect and parity in mass communication both professionally and academically. The original study began with Oukrop and Rush, then professors at Kansas State University with earned doctorates, reading a 1971 study that declared there were no women with mass communications Ph.Ds in the United States. Realizing that little was known about women in mass communication education, they surveyed the 101 women who held doctorates or were in the process of earning one about their experiences with sexual discrimination. They presented the results at the 1972 Association for Education in Journalism conference, and the response was quick. More women were named to AEJ committees and more studies were done on women in the field. A spotlight had been shone on the inequities of the time. The ensuing years saw some progress and some backlash.

This new work provides a historical context of what Creedon described as "how the struggle for equality has evolved into a struggle for equity" (xv). The book is divided into five parts, beginning in 1972 when women were 7% of journalism educators through 2002 when women were 31% of the field and still struggling for pay equity. Creedon wrote that the goal of the update was to serve as a bellwether, a harbinger, and a farewell. It reached its goal. The book contains stories that both serve to inspire and to provide a reality check. This book should be required reading for graduate students, particularly those who plan to go into teaching. It provides stories that may empower women to go forth boldly as they prepare to climb the ivory tower.

Another recently released work on women and journalism is Maurine Beasley and Sheila Gibbon's Taking Their Place, a second edition, which received the Texty Award for textbook excellence from the Text and Academic Authors Association. The book includes the stories of women journalists from the colonial era through current day. Media outlets addressed include newspapers, magazines, and broadcasting. Chapters are devoted to women of color, alternative publications, and challenges to women journalists. Highlights of these chapters are the lengthy first-person recounts of women journalists who provide often overlooked voices. The feature is appealing to undergraduate students who often view history as a collection of dry facts. Another appealing aspect is the information on current issues for women journalists and the attempts to improve coverage of women's issues, including an excerpt from USA Today's style guide. …