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Vol. 43, No. 2, Spring 2015

Job Burnout Increasing Among Female Journalists

The field of journalism has experienced an upheaval over the last decade, and those changes are taking a particularly hard toll on women working in newsrooms, new research from a University of Kansas professor shows. Female journalists are experiencing more job burnout and more intend to leave the field or are uncertain about their futures than their male counterparts, the study shows.

Scott Reinardy, professor of journalism, surveyed more than 1,600 journalists, including more than 500 women, about their levels of burnout, job satisfaction, organizational support, role overload and intentions to leave their job. Women reported higher levels of role overload and intentions to leave the field. “Journalism, as a profession, hasn’t really grown in terms of gender as we’d hoped. So what you’re getting is a less diverse newsroom. It’s not going in a positive direction,” Reinardy said.

Still “Far to Go” for Women in News, UN Says

On the 20th anniversary of its world conference on women in Beijing, the United Nations is analyzing progress made, and not made, in addressing issues that have diminished women’s advancement on a number of fronts: “You could go to a film, switch on the TV, tune in to the radio, turn the pages of a magazine, or surf online. Regardless of your choice of media, you’d have a good chance of encountering stereotypes that perpetuate gender discrimination. Women in all types of media tend to be thin and sexualized. They talk less than men. They have fewer opinions. And they are far less likely, in the entertainment industry, to play roles as leaders or professionals, or even as women who work for a living.”

Women's Voices Are Minor Keys in Online News Comment Forums

The ability of readers and journalists to engage in conversation online is often touted as a key achievement of the digital media revolution, but when it comes to the comments section it's men who are doing most of the talking.

New University of Sydney research has found male or pseudonymous voices dominate the comment sections of news stories on 15 news sites internationally including The Guardian, Washington Post and Sydney Morning Herald. Female identified commenters make up as little as three percent of participant voices, and at most 35 percent, based on a sample of news services from Australia, the United States and Britain.

Twitter Revises Policy, Doubles Down on Online Harassment

The viciousness of comment by trolls on Twitter has reached a level that is impeding business growth and prompting demands for Twitter to crack down on harassers.

In April, Twitter announced changes to its policy on harassment aimed at speeding up responses to threats and expanding its classification of abuse to cover more types. It will also go after those who egg on those making threats.

Technology-based Violence Receives Focus in Seven Countries

Technology-based violence against women (tech-based VAW) encompasses acts of gender-based violence that are committed, abetted or aggravated, in part or fully, by the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The Take Back the Tech! online map is part of the Association for Progressive Communications’ “End violence: Women's rights and safety online” project funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS) and is based on a strong alliance with partners in seven countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan and the Philippines.

There are three general categories of women who experience tech-based VAW: Someone in an intimate relationship whose partner has become abusive; a professional with a public profile involved in public communication (e.g.writers, researchers, activists and artists); a survivor of physical assault – often from intimate partner abuse or rape.

Using Existing Technology to Turn the Tables on Trolls

Ohio University journalism professor Michelle Ferrier is leading a team developing an app to combat the cyber harassment of women journalists and entrepreneurs. It’s called TrollBusters.

From her own journalism days, Ferrier says she knows first-hand what it’s like to receive hate mail, which has escalated in the digital age through social media outlets and anonymous “comment” forums. Through these platforms, individuals launch misogynistic, racist and other hate-filled messages, often directed at those in the media.

The increase in anonymous harassment motivated Ferrier to develop a product designed to prevent trolling while at the same time supporting women who are subjected to such online hate. Using proprietary technology for network analysis developed by Ohio University students who won last year’s Scripps Innovation Challenge, TrollBusters would locate and identifiy those engaging in cyber-harassment. At the same time, this digital tool would facilitate real-time counterattacks through a network of online community support.

JAWS Oral History Project Launched in April 2015

Herstory: JAWS Oral History Project documents professional careers, work experiences and associational life of senior women journalists who have participated in JAWS. Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) is a women journalists’ organization that grew out of a 1984 panel discussion at the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in the wake of the second-wave feminist movement. It was officially founded in 1985 and has grown from 16 founding members to more than 700 members across the country today.

What you see at the site, http://www.herstory.rjionline.org/home.html, is a collection of oral history interviews with selective members of JAWS. The interviewees vary in their life stages and professional statuses: some being the founding members of JAWS and others having joined the organization more recently; some already celebrating a half-century of work, and others still in the middle of their careers; some working for elite newspapers, and others for community-based outposts; some crowned with a Pulitzer Prize, and others less recognized.

Research in Depth: News Magazine Coverage of the Petraeus/Broadwell Affair: The Disjunction between Power and Agency by Tetyana Lokot, Antonio Prado, Boya Xu, and Linda Steiner

Research in Depth: Scarlet Letters: Digital Sexual Subjugation of Revenge Pornography by Caitlin PenzeyMoog

Plus News, People, Books, Flicks, etc. !

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!


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