Yep, that's right. Women are remarkably absent from any discussion of replacements for Leonard Downie or Meet the Press or NBC Washington Bureau Chief . The ME of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has announced his resignation, so I wonder what names will circulate to replace him?
I have no problem with men holding powerful positions in journalism. I have a problem with them holding virtually ALL the powerful positions in journalism. If you want to know why our mainstream news coverage resembles a middle-aged white guy, you need look no further than the newsrooms of most major newspapers.
As it happens Len Downie, a hometown boy, happens to be one of the greatest editors of one of the greatest newspapers. I would have worked for him in a heartbeat. You don't get 25 Pulitzers without fostering a sense of possibility, creativity and high expectations in a newsroom. Likewise, Jim Amoss at the New Orleans Times-Picayune is another I'd work for in a snap because of his commitment to fulfilling the promise of the press as a watchdog for the public.
But seriously...how far do newspapers in particular have to decline before news organizations start looking a little differently at who is at the helm? This isn't an anti-guy rant, but more an anti-establishment rant. You know the old definition of insanity? Yeah, well, I think it applies to newspapers by the bucket loads.
Check out the numbers: According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors 2006 census: 38 percent of journalists working in daily newspapers are women; 65 percent of all supervisors are men.
Only 3 percent of women hold clout positions in journalism, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
All this is despite the fact that women have been the majority of college journalism majors since 1977. (Ah, yep, that would include me.)
AN-ND... newspapers that enjoy growth from innovation and development are more likely to have a diverse set of leaders at the top.
But, hey, we don't pull our weight, right? Women correspondents report ONLY 25 percent of the stories on television, and women comprise 25 percent of contributors to "general interest" magazines.
Maybe THAT'S why we leave journalism in droves. Or maybe it's because the longer we work in this business the less we get paid compared to our male counterparts.
These statistics are helpfully gathered at McCormick Foundation's New Media Women Entrepreneurs, where they encourage and yes reward us for our knack with new media, social networks and our broader network of contacts and insatiable curiosity.
C'mon! We've got the data, now let's do something about it. And then maybe we can stop mourning for what was and start reaching for what's next.