Bloomberg Highlights The Underrepresentation of Women in Newsrooms

(3BLMedia/Justmeans) - While we all can see that journalism is changing, yet globally, the majority of high-profile journalists and editors are still male. Although there have been considerable changes in the prospects for women working in the media in the past few decades, women are still in the minority in the top journalistic roles. Relatively few are rising to senior jobs and the pay gap between male and female journalists remains a wide one. Moreover, as women get older, it is difficult for them to retain a place in journalism.

There has been a lot of chatter about the under-representation of women in newsrooms. One media giant doing the talking and actually doing something, too is Bloomberg. This January, Bloomberg’s news editor-in-chief Matt Winkler participated in a panel discussion on women in journalism at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Winkler not only raised the issue about the lack of women in newsrooms, but also about the absence of female sources in stories.

Winkler talked about what Bloomberg is doing to address the shortage of a female presence in news, highlighting a company-wide initiative, “Global Women's Coverage,” started by Lisa Kassenaar, Bloomberg News Editor, and a series by its executive editor, Daniel Moss, that focuses on top female movers and shakers in the U.S. economy. Winkler says, “There is a paucity sadly, of women’s voices in every profession . . . but we’ve tripled the number of team leaders at Bloomberg News, more than half of the head count reports to a woman. With that result, more woman managing editors are in more places around the world.”

There are still stereotypes that women media veterans fight against, such as only being placed on the lifestyle pages and not being given the news topics of crime or sport. They are also far less likely to be seen on the front page. A critical mass of women in journalism at all levels is important in ensuring a greater diversity of voices, yet at the moment, there is a disproportionate lack of female sources and experts. At times, women are actually considered not newsworthy subjects, except when they are victims, celebrities or royals!

Thankfully, the digital whirlwind has now created new opportunities. New ways of consuming media have enabled women journalists to benefit, and this is where women have flourished. Now, they can keep abreast of the news agenda to edit remotely and create whole brands through using social media. Where they can find new ways of doing things, where they carve a new niche, branding themselves in new forms – through a blog or even as a war reporter – this is where women have successfully reinvented themselves. However, this is not without a downside or a dark side, as many female journalists experience cyberbullying, all based on nothing other than the fact of their gender. There’s still much work to be done in this area.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia