Hard News: Women in Broadcast Journalism

Hard News: Women in Broadcast Journalism

Hard News: Women in Broadcast Journalism

Hard News: Women in Broadcast Journalism


"A major scholarly and readable history of women in broadcast news, covering the broadcast journalistic roles of women from the 1920s through the mid-1980s. Authors Hosley and Yamada, both with extensive professional experience in broadcasting and broadcast news as well as serving on the faculty of Stanford University's Mass Media Institute, have produced a heavily researched and well-written book, which gives attention not only to the more familiar names but also to the many women whose pioneer work in broadcast journalism had led to gradual acceptance of women in what had been considerd a male field." Choice "There are a lot of names in this book. Some are immediately recognizable . . . other names are virtually unknown, making this book a valuable reference text for students interested in researching the careers of women broadcasters who have been all but forgotten. The authors, both of whom have extensive backgrounds in broadcasting, have done a commendable job of identifying women who have pioneered in,electronic journalism. . . Indeed, this book is so engrossing one only wishes that it were longer. The authors touch on complex issues--such as the impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the FCC's decision to mandate affirmative action programs to remedy past discrimination--that call for more complete treatment in future works. Yet this book is an excellent starting point for serious study of women and broadcast news. It is highly recommended for courses in communications history and broadcasting and women's studies." Journalism Quarterly


This book is an attempt to tell the story of women in broadcast news. It is an account that involves us all, for in the United States, where the media have such great impact, the evolution of women in news has both contributed to and reflected changes in our society.

Initially, women had a hard time even getting a chance to do news on radio. Most of those on the air in the early days of radio were men. The relatively small number of women heard were almost exclusively on entertainment broadcasts. A few women hosted programs targeted at homemakers. These shows were often a hybrid of entertainment and information. But then, as World War II broke out, more opportunities opened up for women. Abroad, a few women who were in the right places at the right times got the opportunity to broadcast when male reporters were not available or didn't want to go on the air.

The shortage of men at home during the war also forced broadcasting outlets to hire women. Local stations offered greater opportunities for women, not only because there were more of them, but because they were more likely to take whoever was available. The networks were slower to open their ranks to women. Many women got hired at the lower levels, but few were on the air regularly.

It was not until the civil rights movement and the women's movement of the 1960s and 1970s that large numbers of women began to gain equality in broadcast news. For the most part, radio and television news operations reacted to the changes in society, hiring and promoting women as they were required to by new laws. At a time when the broadcast media could have had a tremendous impact by leading the nation in their attitudes toward and treatment of women, they tended to follow.

Most opportunities for women in television news came in areas in which men were not interested. Often these women were on broadcasts shown in "fringe" times--early mornings or weekends. But from there, a few women . . .

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