Whose News? Progress
and Status of Women
in Newspapers (Mostly)
and Television News
Christy C. Bulkeley
Because men and women think and act differently and have different experiences, diversity adds value by increasing the range of options on the table when it comes time to make decisions.
—Mary Arnold Hemlinger (2001, p. 59)
What will women journalism graduates find when they seek jobs or go to work for traditional news media? That is the question for this part of the larger study of women in journalism and communications education and related professions. The answer involves three areas—presence on news staffs, management of news departments and organizations, and news content.
Increasing numbers of women journalism graduates joined newspapers and television seeking careers in so-called “hard news” starting in the 1960s, pushing women's presence to 20% of the professional staffs in newspaper news, 12% in television by the early 1970s, and to mid-30% by the early 1980s (Weaver & Wilhoit, 1996, p. 10). Progress since then has been miniscule. At the same time, women were barely measurable as part of management but have achieved, by now, percentages close to women's presence in the professional staffs.
The numbers provide a measure against which an individual newspaper or television station can be evaluated. What it is like to work in a traditional