Women in Media: Missouri Honor Medal Panel

The women on the panel talked about journalism very plainly and frank. Journalism is hard. You burn out easily because you do not have a schedule. It consists of late hours and it can start and stop at any time. However, they corrected the misconception that women burn out more easily than men. Men burn out from journalism just as often as women.unnamed

The numbers of women in journalism in the newsroom are plentiful. The disconnect between the numbers of women and men is the number of women in management. The woman, I believe named Meredith, from CNN digital said, “The suits don’t know the journalism. It’s good to bring the suits close to you when you can.” She emphasized that you need those people to understand what exactly your team does in order for them to invest in you. There will always be a line between the newsroom and the business side but there can also be a conversation. Merill Perlman, a distinguished editor, said that it is harder to hate someone you know. Get to know the suits so they are less likely to pull money from your team.

Barbara Ehrenreich, the oldest woman on the panel, is an author of 21 books. She answered questions with such frank and straightforward responses that she had me cracking up. Barbara told a story about the time she went to dinner with the suits to help build the bridge between the two sides. The billionaire asked her where she thought of all of her ideas. She responded, “in a supermarket.” Barbara explained with an edge that she didn’t pull of the tablecloth of the table but this is what she has to face.

Barbara went on later to answer a question from the audience. The question asked was, “What is one thing you wish you would have known going into the newsroom when you were young?” Barbara wished she knew to be more personable. It is not okay to zone out during lunch with an editor. They are important and it is important to listen to what they say even if it does not directly apply to the work you are doing. “You can not show contempt with what they are interested in.”

The last take away from the panel was about the essence of journalism. Journalism’s essence is mean and skeptical. Trust your anger and rejection. Trust your value. Don’t be too nice.


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