Current Issue Summary

Vol. 49, No. 1, Winter 2021

Animus Toward Media Hits Female Journalists Hard

If there were an employee handbook for women entering journalism, these latest surveys and reports would belong in it. By any measure, general hostility toward media people has increased. It’s not an exaggeration to say that journalism has become a more dangerous profession, and not just for investigative reporters accustomed to some level of risk in pursuit of a story. Contractions in newsroom staff size and (and in some cases, the disappearance of the newsroom altogether as staffers work from home) adds to the heavy lifting and emotional strain. The challenges of gathering and reporting news are prompting wider-ranging discussion and generating more urgent demands for solutions.  So are reporter-editor tensions and conflict in male-dominated newsrooms. MRTW presents some of that conversation in this issue.

Crisis Conditions for Journalists Seen Worldwide

In a time when the public needs to stay informed more than ever, journalists are currently facing furloughs, pay cuts, and, in many cases, permanent layoffs. 2020 was a devastating year for newsroom layoffs, with 16,000 jobs evaporating by year end in the United States. The handwriting was on the wall by June.  According to analysis from global outplacement and executive and business coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., newsrooms had announced 11,027 job cuts by that point, up 169.8% from the 4,087 cuts announced in the first half of 2019. By the end of November, 5,000 more were gone.  Newsroom cuts are at their highest point since Challenger began tracking them in 2003. This includes print, digital and broadcast positions.

The Benefits of Taking History Scholarship to Social Media

Kimberly Voss, University of Central Florida, discusses her experience curating a week-long discussion of women’s journalism history: “In November 2020, I took over Instagram for the National Council of Public History for a week. My posts are available on the Instagram account @publichistorians. As a journalism historian, I believe it’s important to share the stories of important women both in the academic world and in public history. Using social media is a way for an academic organization to combine the public and private. It allows for an informal sharing of research and allows the researcher to be visible.”

Research in Depth: Does Politics Belong Between Sex and Astrology? Teen Vogue, Betches, and Cosmo as Budding News Sources by Kelly Diaz, University of Pennsylvania

Research in Depth: Women Online: Media, Art, and the Influencer Selfie: femme visibility within dominant cultural narratives by Amanda Stojanov, Monmouth University

Commentary: J-School and Comm Students Should Plan PR Careers Strategically by Sheila Gibbons, Editor, Media Report to Women

Plus News Briefs and Book Reviews!

Media Report to Women has hard copies of back issues dating to its founding in 1972 and PDFs from more recent years. Indispensable for research!