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Outsiders Still

Outsiders Still: Why Women Journalists Love - and Leave - Their Newspaper Careers

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 240
  • Book Info
    Outsiders Still
    Book Description:

    Despite years of dominating journalism school classrooms across North America, women remain vastly underrepresented at the highest levels of newspaper leadership. Why do so many female journalists leave the industry and so few reach the top?

    Interviewing female journalists at daily newspapers across Canada, Vivian Smith - who spent fourteen years atTheGlobe and Mailas a reporter, editor, and manager - finds that many of the obstacles that women face in the newspaper industry are the same now as they have been historically, made worse by the challenging times in which the industry finds itself. The youngest fear they will have to choose between a career and a family; mid-career women madly juggle the pressures of work and family while worrying that they are not "good mothers"; and the most senior reflect on decades of accomplishments mixed with frustration at newsroom sexism that has held them back.

    Listening carefully to the stories these journalists tell, both about themselves and about what they write, Smith reveals inOutsiders Stillhow overt hostility to women in the newsroom has been replaced by systemic inequality that limits or ends the careers of many female journalists. Despite decades of contributions to society's news agenda, women print journalists are outsiders still.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2205-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. Chapter One Introduction: Are You Still Here?
    (pp. 3-33)

    The publisher of theGlobe and Mailfrom 1978 to 1992 was a beaming Irish-born accountant with a reputation for solid financial management, back in the glory days when Canada’s news barons had solid finances to manage. In press reports, Roy Megarry was invariably described as bold and as a publisher who, perhaps more than others, personified his paper. Inside theGlobe’sToronto newsroom at 444 Front Street West, editorial staffers on the second floor – reporters, columnists, photographers, editors, librarians, administrators, and managers – rarely saw him.

    On a blistering hot afternoon in late August of 1987, I was...

  5. Chapter Two Senior Women Print Journalists: So Stuck, Yet So Lucky
    (pp. 34-64)

    It was really only once, more than a decade ago, when Elissa Barnard, a nursing mother, felt that she could not do her newspaper job because of her baby. As a HalifaxChronicle Heraldarts reporter, she headed out one night to review a performance by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet:

    Eb: I went to the ballet and came home and I was going to write the review in about a half an hour and email it to the office for the next day’s paper. And when I got home, the baby woke up, screaming to be fed. I called my...

  6. Chapter Three Mid-Career Participants: Hard Work, Sacrifice, and Missing Family Pizza Night
    (pp. 65-105)

    Having spent years grinding through the water for over four hours a day as a competitive swimmer, editorial page editor Licia Corbella knew something about the interplay of privilege and sheer determination: she was once the fastest female swimmer in North America in the eleven-to-twelve and thirteen-to-fourteen age categories. But by the time she finished high school in Point Grey, one of Vancouver’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, Corbella had abandoned the pool. Her dream to swim at the 1980 Moscow Olympics ended with the boycott of the Games because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; her swim coach moved away; her...

  7. Chapter Four For the Youngest Journalists, It’s “a Game of Chicken”
    (pp. 106-143)

    Jen Gerson, aCalgary Heraldgeneral assignment reporter, was twenty-six at the time of our interview, which took place in her Calgary apartment. She described her career trajectory as “a bit of a convoluted one.”¹ This seemed to understate the case, as she described at length and in compelling, colourful detail how she came to be where she was and how her big worry was not that gender or age or motherhood would affect her, but that she had chosen a career in a dying industry. The problem for young journalists, she said, was bigger than any debate about male...

  8. Chapter Five Of Darkness, Dragons, and Black Holes
    (pp. 144-163)

    The notion that narrative analysis gives priority to individual accounts of events has guided me in the structuring of this book. For that reason, the previous chapters have explored stories that participants told me in one-on-one interviews at each of the five newspapers.

    But I also gave participants the opportunity to gather in focus groups to discuss various issues those individual interviews brought to mind, as well as to add any other comments and questions. As narrative-making is a selective process, gathering to compare stories can bring what was not mentioned into the light. This chapter examines dominant themes that...

  9. Chapter Six Six Who Walked Away: Frustrations and New Beginnings
    (pp. 164-199)

    Young reporter Laura Fraser told the members of her focus group in Halifax that she could “exercise her power to leave” if her employer did not see her as an asset. If she consistently was not allowed to serve the public the way she wanted through her writing, she had the “ultimate power” to hand in her notice and move on.¹ So far, Fraser – promoted to be city hall reporter for Halifax’sChronicle Herald– has decided to stay, as have most others I interviewed. But six have moved on, nearly a quarter of the participant group. To continue...

  10. Chapter Seven Conclusions: Taking Control of the Narrative
    (pp. 200-214)

    By the time I finished the manuscript for this book, more than one-quarter of the participants did what I had done years earlier, by one means or another. They had left their newsroom jobs – what they called their dream jobs – either by quitting or through a buyout. The few women who had made it to top editor positions and were staying on did not seem to have the kind of working life that beckoned to the youngest ones. The contours of all their career paths were obscured by the precarious state of Canadian newspapers and executives’ fixation with...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 215-220)
  12. References
    (pp. 221-232)
  13. Index
    (pp. 233-254)