In 2006, Jasmine and I attended a national collegiate journalism conference together. Sort of as a joke, the female staff of our college newspaper wandered into a session about women in the newsroom. A married couple presented their thoughts on gender inequality in the workplace, in society and in the newsroom. The session ended with advice to women in the gender minority for asserting their ideas: just stand up, walk over to the door and turn off the lights. People are trained to stop and listen if the lights go off.
Ever since this session, turning off the lights became sort of an inside joke around our college newsroom. But while the experience was humorous, the sentiments that motivated the advice are anything but a laughing matter, which is something we came more and more to realize as we completed our educations and moved out into the work force ourselves. We both came to college with strong passions for women’s issues, including our gender’s representation and participation in the media. Where was the woman’s voice? The woman’s byline? Or for that matter, where were the men in family leave policies, or stories focusing “women’s issues”?
These issues have continued to dwell in our minds and conversations. This blog formed as a way to monitor these matters and look into how they are affected by new media platforms, specifically Internet news.
Starting next week, we’ll be regularly analyzing articles from a variety of news websites across the United States through our weekly “Gender Checks.” On this blog, we’ll also be offering posts on trends uncovered over time, links to related resources and a gender news feed.
We hope this site can serve as a resource in the ongoing dialogue about gender and the news media. Find out more about this site on the “About” page.
Feel free to contact us with questions or ideas by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also keep tabs on what we’re up to by signing up for e-mail updates or following us on Twitter.
Let’s get the conversation started, with the lights on.
I remember that conference. Was it really 2006? Way to go ladies. I’ll be reading carefully.
Jessica — Thanks for the shout-out and for being our first commenter. We hope you find our site interesting and informative as we get up and running. We’re glad you’ll be reading.
You go. Coincidentally, today we read “It’s a Woman’s World” by Eavan Boland and “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy.
Great news! I’ll be tapping into this from Australia and so will my journalism students. I’m teaching a new unit at Monash University titled “Gender, race and journalism” and it is the first unit of its type (ie to focus on gender) to be taught to journalism undegrads in this country. We have a way to go here, but it’s a start!
all the best
Professor North, we’re so glad you’re joining us in these studies and discussions. For now we’re focusing on journalism produced in the United States but it will be great to have some international perspective and comparisons. We look forward to the comments and ideas your students have to offer! Feel free to post links to stories or projects in the Australian media you think would be beneficial.