Tribune’s ‘WomanNews’ gives voice to women’s issues

Tribune’s ‘WomanNews’ gives voice to women’s issues

Lueck, Therese L

A cultural analysis of the women’s section in the Chicago Tribune finds that ‘WomanNews’ provided a powerful forum by incorporating women’s voices, studying media’s role relative to women, fostering a sisterhood and advocating feminist activism.

This qualitative assessment examines the 1991 launch of the Chicago Tribune’s “WomanNews.” To a medium that had allowed female readership to dwindle,1 “WomanNews” brought a refreshing perspective. Beneath its contemporary appearance, was it merely the former women’s pages or was this a space where women openly discussed relevant issues? The analysis follows cultural feminist theory, which recognizes the importance of a separate women’s space within male-defined culture for the nurturance of women’s own culture and voice. The tools of analysis were principles of women’s media gathered by Dr. Donna Allen2 and Dr. Martha Leslie Allen of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press. Characteristics of women’s media include:

* women speaking in their own voices,

* media’s role to women,

* a non-attack approach and

* an activist approach.

Using these four WIFP characteristics, this study analyzes “WomanNews” to determine whether it can be described as women’s media, and, as such, whether its launch signified the introduction of women’s media into mainstream newspaper culture.

A Cultural Feminist Perspective

Modern cultural feminism developed in the 1970s alongside other secondwave feminisms.3 Based on sex difference, cultural feminism sought to separate women’s culture from patriarchy, allowing women a place to nurture female values. Researcher Alcoff noted that cultural feminist theory is “grounded securely and unambiguously on the concept of the essential female.”4 The theory does not question the positioning of femaleness in opposition to maleness, but rather as historian Echols noted, it is “committed to preserving rather than challenging gender differences.”5 Recognizing that patriarchy has described femininity to position male nature as dominant, cultural feminists have co-opted the terms used to define femaleness in order to construct them more positively for women. Theorist Tong pointed out that cultural feminists “believe that the fact women menstruate, gestate, and lactate gives women a unique perspective on the meaning of human connection.”6 While still relying on patriarchal boundaries, cultural feminists equate women positively with the culturally defined traits that link them to their own femininity.

For this theoretical perspective, sex difference provides a seemingly natural division from men and a connection among women, offering women accessibility to a women-centered culture. Communication scholars Cirksena and Cuklanz are among those who see a future for advancing feminist inquiry in cultural feminist theory.7

Characteristics of Women’s Journalism

Gathering descriptions from female editors, the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press in Washington, D. C., proposed characteristics of women’s journalism, principles on which women distinguished their women-centered media from mass media. The principles included:

* “[W]omen speaking for themselves, not reporting for others.”

WIFP acknowledged that the surest way to dispel stereotypes, to achieve accuracy, and to add new, factual information was for people to make their own case. This category addresses women talking about their experiences and expressing their opinions.

* “[A]nalysis of mass media’s role relative to women and women’s media.” Women’s media paid critical attention to the representation of women in mainstream media and analyzed the effects of exclusion and stereotypical portrayal on women.

* “[A] non-attack approach toward different views, avoiding name-calling or discrimination.”

A wider acceptance of different types of women beyond the narrow confines of the cultural ideal distinguished women’s media from the mainstream.

* “[A]n activist orientation,” or calls for feminist action.’

Women’s media commonly issued rallying cries against sexism, discrimination, harassment, common misrepresentation and silencing of women.

This research asks whether these characteristics were in evidence in the launch of “WomanNews,” a conscious delineation of women’s space within a major metropolitan newspaper, the Chicago Tribune. Adherence to these principles would mean that the launch was indicative of a separate women’s space with more accurate reporting and useful information for women instead of merely a repository for targeted women’s advertising. Therefore, this study asked: Did the launch of “WomanNews” bring women’s media into the newspaper?

To answer this question, researchers used WIFP principles for a descriptive analysis of “WomanNews” in 1991, the year of its debut.9 From a cultural feminist perspective, articles in the weekly women’s section were examined for WIFP characteristics to assess whether “WomanNews” could be considered women’s media.

The Launch of “WomanNews”

At the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ conference in 1990, Colleen Dishon, associate editor of the Chicago Tribune, introduced a contemporary women’s section. Dubbed “WomanNews,” it was an attempt to win back women readers and the support of advertisers who had complained that “dailies must penetrate their markets better.””

The Tribune was publishing “WomanNews” predecessor “TempoWoman” in the lifestyle section “Tempo.” “TempoWoman” had eight pages characterized by long, searching features and briefs, typically running a feature story on its “front,” which was laid out as a magazine. It included a page named “WomanNews.” Some characteristics of female journalism emerged in “TempoWoman” in a rudimentary fashion. In its last few months before the transition to `WomanNews,” “TempoWoman” incorporated women speaking for themselves, included some media analysis, focused on women who did not adhere to the cultural ideal and covered women’s groups. This back-of-the– section focus on women may be seen as a move toward women’s media. “WomanNews” would run with news on its section front and inside features on women, their careers and activities, columns on parenting, jobs and relationships and a page of classified ads for services including child care. “WomanNews” would differentiate itself from traditional women’s pages by not including recipes, society news or wedding announcements. The 1991 launch of “WomanNews” triggered mixed and intense reactions. An initial investigation of “WomanNews” through focus groups found that readers enjoyed “WomanNews” because of the following:

* ownership-identifying and appreciating WomanNews as “my own section,” “just for myself…”;

* relevance-seeing “real life”-readers’ own realities-mirrored in WomanNews … (unrealistic situations-including “perfect bodies,” clothes and lives-infuriate readers);

* coping-appreciating helpful features that provide them with tips to function more effectively; and

* viewpoints-being exposed to a variety of viewpoints.”

Such positive feedback supported Dishon’s decision to use “stories from everywhere to show ordinary women having an impact on their world.” The fact that women had become “their own role models … necessitated a section in which women shared information so they knew they weren’t alone.”12

While many readers and editors were enthusiastic about “WomanNews,” it had its detractors. Some worried that “the very naming of the section will alienate women-and men.”13 But Dishon explained succinctly: “It’s about women and it’s about news. Why not say so?”14 Marjorie David, a founding editor of “WomanNews,” wondered why people had such strong and negative feelings about the inclusion of “woman” in the name. To David, reading “WomanNews” was like reading other interest-specific sections: “There are sections like sports, which are just for people who are interested in sports, there’s a section for business which is obviously targeted for people who are interested in business, so you know where you can find business news. Why is this a problem?”15

Criticism of “WomanNews” also focused on the possibility of its “ghettoizing” women’s issues, a feminist concern 20 years earlier instrumental in discontinuing women’s One journalist maintained, “Ms. Dishon and others succeeded over the years in instituting small, quietly subversive changes: a de-emphasis of wedding announcements or an interview with a black entertainer. But a serious shift in content occurred only slowly.”17 Authors Betty Friedan and Susan Faludi stated that women’s sections imply that women’s news and issues are subordinate to men’s.18

David, however, believed that “the Tribune needed a women’s section until coverage of women pervades the newspapers and is accepted by colleagues of both genders.”19 She argued, “Any minority is going to be powerless unless it has a voice, and what we are doing is providing a voice. Or providing a physical sounding board, a place, a focus where we are covering stories that weren’t getting done.”20 Dishon contended “WomanNews” carried information readers would not otherwise get: “There are lots of stories that involve women worldwide that would never make it into the newspaper because of space. Creating a section … allows a paper to expand its space to cover those issues.”21 Owen Youngman, 23-year Tribune veteran, insisted, “We can’t change the world, but we can view the world through a different prism and we can deliver information of value. Not ‘ghettoized’-we hope that the best stories are still distributed throughout the newspaper-but gathered and edited so that someone seeking that perspective can reliably find it in the newspaper.”22 In these editors’ views, a women’s section guaranteed a place for women to express their opinions and read about themselves, and these factors made the section an important addition to the newspaper of the 1990s.

“WomanNews” as Women’s Media

Without fanfare, the Chicago Tribune launched “WomanNews” on Sunday, April 28, 1991, making the shift from “TempoWoman” lifestyle pages to a section dedicated to women and women’s interests: “WomanNews: A Weekly News Report about Women on the Move.” This study asks whether the launch of “WomanNews” brought women’s media into the newspaper.

Taking its name from a “TempoWoman” department, “WomanNews” ran from 13 to 15 pages, expanding the women’s lifestyle journalism it had inherited. The new section’s pages included Family Matters, Parenting, Role Model, Working Place and Turning Point and reflected its mix of news and features. Compared to “TempoWoman,” “WomanNews” was more like a women’s newspaper within the newspaper. Designed as a modified newspaper front instead of a magazine cover, the “WomanNews” front signaled a shift from a strictly feature orientation to a section focused on news to which women would relate.

Principle #1: Women speaking for themselves

The section’s large format allowed lots of space for articles by and about women, and this extra space was filled with women’s voices, an attribute that enabled the section to address the first WIFP criterion: allowing women to speak for themselves.

The premiere edition offered a front page on which four of the six articles were written by women. The Other Voices page featured an article by an actress about her personal efforts in peace activism, and an editorial page, News & Opinion, highlighted a non-staffer’s commentary through an editorial-type column called “Her Say.” The “Her Say” columns were personalized with the writer’s signature at the bottom of the piece.

In this first “WomanNews” section, “Her Say” was written by Marlene Sanders, a prominent network correspondent who was host of a public affairs program at the time. In typical news lead style, Sanders wrote that the “big news in network news is an outbreak of pregnancy among television anchorwomen, followed by epidemic job loss and pay cuts.” Her analysis of the situation was that although women had taken the mantra of the women’s movement to heart, that they can have it all, “the men haven’t quite gotten the message.”23 Women in the business who were not “stars” were still being penalized for becoming pregnant. But Sanders saw it as promising that some “stars” seemed to have the support of the system.

Pregnancy was not only news on the News & Opinion page. On the Helping Hands page, the vice president of a public relations firm advised that pregnancy in the workplace “should be approached like any other business situation … do your homework and be prepared.” She offered the encouragement that it is “possible to be pregnant and professional at the same time. But it requires extra effort.”24 Pregnancy is a defining women’s issue. In these “WomanNews” articles, women were able to write about important aspects of being pregnant, including how they were treated in the male-dominated workplace and how they coped while there. Each of these women found constructive aspects in their non-traditional workplace settings, and they arrived at optimistic conclusions without patronizing pregnant women and without treating pregnancy as a disease, as it is often characterized across culture.

Many women addressed issues of breaking the “glass ceiling,” particularly in prestigious male-dominated fields. For example, Taeko Nagai, one of the only female Japanese TV newscasters with the power to make programming decisions, said, “Women have to fight to get an assignment to cover political and economic issues, as their bosses, overwhelmingly males, naturally assign male reporters to cover these `hard issues.'”25 Laurel Bellows, attorney and president of the Chicago Bar Association, stated: “Whenever I am asked if women lawyers strike a glass ceiling as they move toward the top of their profession, I have a good news-bad news answer. The bad news is that we do. The good news is that it’s getting higher and the glass is no longer shatterproof. “26

In speaking for themselves, women brought overlooked subjects and new perspectives to the paper. Most poignantly, women revealed their experiences as victims of sexual abuse. In the hope that her story could spare the pain of others, Marilyn Van Debur, Miss America 1958, disclosed that she had been sexually molested by her father when she was a child.27 Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics, looked back at a sexual harassment encounter that happened when she was 21 and questioned what she could have done to terminate the harasser’s advances. She reasoned, “I wonder why I didn’t just tell him to leave me alone. But I know the answer. It’s the old injunction that echoes in the ears of all girls: Be nice, don’t make trouble, don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.” Tannen concluded, “Sexual harassment will remain … until men as well as women understand that pressing sexual advances on women who don’t want them is distressing to women, and that when there is a power imbalance, women do not feel free to ‘just say no.'”28

At the outset, many of the Other Voices were columnists from other papers, but by the end of the year, the section was soliciting articles from readers. Opening up the section in this manner would enable readers to tell their stories of coping in a man’s world, stories with which readers could identify.

Principle #2: Analysis of media’s role to women

Entertainment features continued to make up a considerable amount of the editorial material. Often, however, they focused some critical attention on media’s role relative to women, which contributed to the section’s ability to address the second WIFP criterion: analysis of media’s role to women.

A prominent inside story in the first issue took aim at television law dramas, saying that the programming did not reflect the real-life situation for women in the law profession. The article pointed out that, although only 20 percent of the U.S. lawyers were women, the producers of the evening dramas, Steven Bocho and Thomas Carter, said that they wanted an “equal balance” of men and women in their shows, and they wanted to portray women in a variety of law roles.29 A front-page story in June focused on the big screen, reporting that American films with older women as protagonists often misrepresented those women. The article cited a Boston University study that found that “the male– dominated film industry persists in portraying an older woman as ‘hag, nag, witch, or worse.'”30

Discussion of the movie “Thelma & Louise” hit the section a number of times that year. Most writers favored this movie, with one considering it “a bolt of lightning illuminating the dangerous complacency of the feminist landscape and the appalling lack of worthy roles for women on the silver screen.”31 A 21– year-old fan of this movie saw it as a trailblazer, saying, “It’s not that for our generation, or for Thelma and Louise, feminism never happened. It happened. But in the Hollywood arena, the one reached by blockbuster Hollywood films, it’s not happening, and it should be.”31 Callie Khouri, the author of the movie’s script, stated on a July section front, “This movie touches upon themes not commonly addressed in a mainstream Hollywood movie: sexism, the shaky relationship between men and women, female friendship and the continuous threat of violence, especially sexual violence that permeates contemporary American society.”33 Much like the movie “Thelma & Louise,” the “WomanNews” section gave attention to issues not generally addressed in mainstream media, and it approached them from feminist perspectives.

Principle #3: A non-attack approach

Whether the section was depicting women in non-traditional work roles, showing them as average or exceptional, the mix of articles expressed an attitude of sisterhood, not one of attack based on a difference of opinion or variance from some cultural ideal. This type of tone and content enabled the section to address the third WIFP criterion: a non-attack approach.

To support women-friendly alternative viewpoints, articles often relied on non-mainstream sources. For example, a story on the problem of ageism cited an Older Women’s League report that urged Congress to “eliminate job and wage discrimination against older women by supporting the Family Medical Leave Act, paying equity reform, and [instituting] more federal job training programs targeted to older women.”34

Articles came from a number of women whose experiences were different from those of white mainstream society. Bertice Berry, a comedian with a Ph.D. in sociology, stated that colorism, prejudicial or preferential treatment by people of the same race toward each other on the basis of skin color, was so alive in the African-American community that African-American women with lighter skin and more European features were considered more beautiful than other black women. Berry, a black woman, called for more respect and love toward women with darker skin by saying, “We need to go back to a time when we said out loud that we were black and proud, a time when we discovered that big noses were beautiful, and nappy hair glorious.”35

Women writers also took issue with cultural ideals that encumbered women, embracing women who did not fit the cookie-cutter female, and they asked readers to do the same. For example, in a “Her Say” article, a free-lance writer objected to the tendency to berate public figures who gained weight, and she appealed to the readers to stop “public executions” of women when they gained weight.36 Throughout the year, articles such as these distinctly displayed a non-attack approach toward different views and avoided name-calling and discrimination against women who did not measure up to some cultural ideal. The section as a whole avoided demeaning or attacking women, their views and their attributes by incorporating many women’s voices throughout its pages in an inclusive manner.

Principle #4: An activist orientation

Feature profiles of women activists and articles by women who advocated social change were given generous space and prominent play, allowing the section to address the fourth WIFP criterion: advocating feminist activism.

Profiles abounded on women active in causes, including Flo Kennedy, a feminist civil-rights activist; Molly Ivins, a 20-year journalist who questioned a culture that defined a woman’s role as standing on the sidelines cheering on the guys who got to play the game; and Isabel Allende, a feminist leader who struggled for the women’s movement in Chile. In addition to in-depth profiles of such activists, articles with an overall activist orientation were featured throughout the section.37

That first year, a number of writers made calls for feminist action. Sara Paretsky, a popular mystery writer, encouraged women to boycott movies that portrayed women as victims. She said, “We should stop paying money to see movies in which women themselves are being assaulted on screen.”38 Colleen Dudgeon, a former TV news director, proposed similar activist strategies to deal with the epidemic of TV programs that showed women being mistreated. She said, “One way of coping is to change the channel the next time there is a poor, helpless and brain-dead woman on the tube. By keeping the remote control handy, we can let the network executives know that it’s their silly programs that are in jeopardy.”39

Feminist activism was encouraged in venues outside media as well. A story by the founder of Women in Franchising encouraged women to be their own bosses by owning a franchised store: “For women and minorities in particular, it can be a way to shatter the ‘glass ceiling’ that limits their rise in some corporations.”40 The executive director of the Women’s Research & Education Institution urged government and corporate leaders to recognize the problems facing the rapidly growing female workforce and to take the initiative on parental leave and child care policies.41 An activist orientation can also be found in “Survival Guide,” which provided readers with tips on repairing everything from automobiles to faucets, traveling solo, filing taxes, keeping appliances clean and efficient, and fixing bikes and roller blades.


“WomanNews” displayed principles of women’s media defined by the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press: women speaking in their own voices, analysis of media’s role to women, anon-attack approach, and an activist approach. WIFP principles characterizing its launch, this section introduced women’s media into the 1990s media mainstream by bringing it to the Chicago Tribune.

In terms of women speaking for themselves, the first principle of female journalism used to assess this section, a chorus of women’s voices heralded the section as women’s media. In particular, the development of the “Her Say” column as an editorial voice from women outside the paper and the petition for readers as writers positioned “WomanNews” as women’s media. The Other Voices page incorporated women columnists, whose articles concentrated on observing relationships and finding meaning in women’s everyday lives. In at least 54 articles that first year, women spoke for themselves.

Although entertainment news did not subside in “WomanNews,” it often included feminist media criticism. At least 52 pieces that first year examined media’s role to women. Sometimes a glamour shot was run alongside an article, helping a story conform to traditional depiction of women while the text took a decidedly feminist turn. Such subversive article play and critical media analysis helped the section meet the second women’s media criterion, analysis of media’s role relative to women.

Since absence is tougher to track than presence, a non-attack approach, the third WIFP criterion, was harder to chart. Overall, “WomanNews” fostered a sisterhood among a diversity of women without condemning their differences. In Other Voices and “Her Say” columns, women explored a variety of relationships through first-person accounts. Acceptance of differing views is evident in the profiles of numerous activists. Sometimes open-mindedness was encouraged by a layout juxtaposing contrasting viewpoints. For example, one page featured articles on Operation Rescue, abortion and choice. Camaraderie among women was not achieved at the expense of men. Despite their non-central position, men were not derided or stereotyped because of their sex difference. “WomanNews” included men as writers, acknowledged them in stories and treated men with a sympathy not generally accorded to women in mainstream media.41 Nevertheless, men were not the focus of major articles, nor were they allowed to parcel out advice to women, as had been common in traditional women’s sections. Such inclusivity enabled the section to display the third WIFP principle: a non-attack approach.

Prominent in assessing whether the section had an activist orientation was the visibility of feminist activists as subjects of numerous profiles. The section also displayed an activist approach, especially voiced through its “Her Say” column. At least 30 stories, including many lead articles, espoused an activist orientation that year. Many articles demonstrated an activist agenda in their appeals to readers, including those that used traditional timing, for example, soliciting contributions during the holiday season. The section showed specific and general evidence to support the fourth WIFP principle: an activist approach.

While these four principles of women’s media characterize articles by both local and syndicated writers, they primarily are showcased in the material written specifically for this section. “WomanNews” used both staff writers and free-lancers. In addition, local experts were invited regularly to write on their expertise. Filling an average of 14 pages each week, the section also relied on syndicated material. While some features depicted women in a traditional manner, much of the syndicated material displayed women’s media characteristics.

Adhering to newspaper form and format, “WomanNews” indicated the sorely inadequate nature of newspapers’ ability to address women, women’s needs and contemporary issues at the start of the 1990s. The analysis of the launch of this section from a cultural feminist perspective showed women gathering to share stories to which mainstream media were not listening. These stories revealed a dominant culture still hostile to women, including a media workplace that continued to exclude women.

The section made a strong start in April 1991, and its orientation toward women-centered media was strengthened by the end of the year with overtures that solicited readers’ contributions. The section provided a powerful forum for women within the confines of a major metropolitan daily by incorporating women’s own voices’ speaking for themselves, containing analyses of media’s role relative to women, fostering a sisterhood among a diversity of women and advocating feminist activism.

By the end of the decade, an overview of “WomanNews”43 showed a slimmer section that had reverted to a more magazine-like appearance, its front typically carrying a column, a lead feature and a news or news feature story. The two stories were often “specials” to the Tribune, with the majority of them written by women. Even though the section had shrunk to 10 pages, many women’s voices of the newspaper and the community – in both local and syndicated stories– were still being heard. Although a formal analysis is needed to determine the extent to which this section retained its attributes of women’s media, principles were still in evidence. For example, profiles of women activists ran regularly and a diversity of women appeared in photos and text.

The introduction of this section and the dozens it inspired across the nation in the early 1990s44 may have contributed to women’s newspaper readership remaining slightly higher than men’s. This occurred in a competitive media marketplace and despite an overall decline in women readers.45 At the end of the decade, the Tribune made the decision to circulate its “Family” section instead of “WomanNews” to a national audience. At the same time, some papers dropped their women’s pages. Research should chart whether these moves indicate that Tribune editor David’s comments were borne out, that women’s sections were needed only “until coverage of women pervades the newspapers and is accepted by colleagues of both genders.”

A cultural feminist perspective allowed the researchers to detect women’s media amid dominant media, opening the door to describing pockets of women’s media encased in the mainstream. Using WIFP principles to assess the launch of “WomanNews” has provided a significant step to a better understanding of such women’s media. Future researchers should make use of WIFP principles, particularly incorporating other WIFP characteristics that enable analysis of women’s managerial structures and editorial decision-making.


1. Years after newspapers converted women’s pages to lifestyle sections, research continued to show a decline in female readership. As late as 1991 the Newspaper Advertising Bureau stated that “readership of daily newspapers by women declined 18 percent between 1970-1990, compared to men’s 12.5-percent drop.” See Melinda D. Hawley, “Is the ‘Women’s Section’ an Anachronism? Affinity for and Ambivalence About the Chicago Tribune’s WomanNews” (paper presented at AEJMC national convention, Chicago, Ill., July 1997), 1. A Scripps Howard News Service report of national readership in the 1980s found “the number of female frequent newspaper readers fell 26% between 1982 and 1987, while male frequent readers declined 16 %.” See Janet Meyers, “Papers ReInvent Women’s Section,” Advertising Age (16 April 1990): 57. A nationwide decline of female

newspaper readership had not abated by 1990. Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press, “Newspaper Gender Gap Widening, Says Newspaper Association of America,” Media Report to Women, spring 1993, p. 4. Nancy Woodhull, then-president of Gannett News Service and New Media, admitted, “We may have thrown the baby out with the bath water when we stopped women’s sections 25 years ago.” See Meyers, “Papers Re-Invent Women’s Section,” 57.

2. This study was completed in memory of Dr. Donna Allen, founder of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press in Washington, D.C. The authors gratefully acknowledge her generosity in making the Directories of Women’s Media available and her suggestions for revision.

3. A number of theorists equate cultural feminism with latter-day radical feminism, one noting that charting cultural feminism as an evolution of radical feminism is problematic because of the basic “theoretical incompatibility.” See Alice Echols, “The Taming of the Id: Feminist Sexual Politics, 1968-83,” in Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality, ed. Carole S. Vance (Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984), 51-54. For feminist communication theory perspectives see Lana F. Rakow, “The Field Reconsidered” in Women Making Meaning, ed. Lana F. Rakow (New York: Routledge, 1992); Liesbet van Zoonen, Feminist Media Studies (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 1994); Liesbet van Zoonen, “Feminist Perspectives on the Media,” in Mass Media and Society, eds. J.Curran and M. Gurevitch (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1991), 33-54.

4. Linda Alcoff, “Cultural Feminism Versus Post-Structuralism: The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory,” in The Second Wave:A Reader in Feminist Theory, ed. Linda Nicholson (New York: Routledge, 1997), 332.

5. Echols, “Feminist Sexual Politics,” 51.

6. Rosemarie Putnam Tong, Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, 2nd ed. (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1998), 296.

7. Kathryn Cirksena and Lisa Cuklanz, “Male is to Female as – is to _: A Guided Tour of Five Feminist Frameworks for Communication Studies,” in Women Making Meaning, ed. Lana F. Rakow (New York: Routledge, 1992), 37.

8. See Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press, 1989 Directory of Women’s Media (Washington, DC: Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press, 1989), 73.

9. Beginning with the initial section of April 28,1991, the study was inclusive of all sections to the end that year except December 22, which was not available to the researchers.

10. Meyers, “Papers Re-Invent Women’s Section,” 57.

11. Hawley, “Chicago Tribune’s WomanNews,” 19.

12. Whitt, “The Chicago Tribune and ‘WomanNews,”‘ 134.

13. Hawley, “Chicago Tribune’s WomanNews,” 5.

14. Whitt, “The Chicago Tribune and ‘WomanNews,”‘134.

15. Hawley, “Chicago Tribune’s WomanNews,” 9.

16. For critical discussion of the shift from women’s pages to lifestyle sections see Zena Beth Guenin, “Women’s Pages in American Newspapers: Missing Out on Contemporary Content,” Journalism Quarterly 52 (spring 1975): 66-69; Marion T. Marzolf, Up from the Footnote: A History of Women Journalists (New York: Hastings House, 1977); Susan H. Miller, “Changes in Women’s/ Lifestyle Sections,” Journalism Quarterly 53 (winter 1976): 641-647; Lindsy Van fielder, “Women’s Pages: You Can’t Make News Out of a Silk Purse,” Ms. (November 1974):114; Jan Whitt, “Regression or Progression? The Chicago Tribune and ‘WomanNews,”‘ in Facing Difference: Race, Gender, and Mass Media, eds. Shirley Biagi and Marilyn Kem-Foxworth (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Pine Forge Press, 1997),131-140; Mei-ling Yang, “Women’s Pages or People’s Pages: The Production of News for Women in the Washington Post in the 1950s,” Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 73 (summer 1996): 372.

17. Betsy Israel, “Pages of Their Own? Rekindling the Debate: Do Women Really Need a Separate Press?” The New York Times, 3 October 1993, p. 9:1-9.

18. Debbi Snook and Margaret Bernstein, “On the Line with Everywoman,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, 21 March 1993, sec. 4G.

19. Hawley, “Chicago Tribune’s WomanNews,” 10. 20. Ibid., 9.

21. Snook and Bernstein, “On the Line with Everywoman,” 4G.

22. Hawley, “Chicago Tribune’s WomanNews,” 11.

23. Marlene Sanders, “Pregnant Anchors Adrift in a Sea of Stars,” The Chicago Tribune, 28 April 1991, sec. 6, p. 15.

24. Dawn Gray, “What to Expect: A First-Hand Look at Being Pregnant and Professional,” The Chicago Tribune, 28 April 1991, sec. 6, p. 11.

25. Chieko Kuriki, “Making News: Groundbreaking Japanese Journalist Gets an Offer She Can’t Refuse,” The Chicago Tribune, 5 May 1991, sec. 6, p. 3.

26. Laurel G. Bellows, “Looking Through Law’s Glass Ceiling,” The Chicago Tribune, 2 June 1991, sec. 6, p. 15.

27. Marilyn Van Debur, “Former Miss America Relives Her Pain to Spare Others,” The Chicago Tribune, 26 May 1991, sec. 6, p. 3.

28. Deborah Tannen, “Why Few Men Can Fathom Harassment,” The Chicago Tribune, 20 October 1991, sec. 6, p. 15.

29. Deborah Starr Seibel, “Among the Wingtips: A Bumper Crop of Television Lawyers Takes on the Real World,” The Chicago Tribune, 28 April 1991, sec. 6, p. 13.

30. Susanne Fowler, “There’s Little Silver Hair on the Silver Screen,” The Chicago Tribune, 16 June 1991, sec. 6, p. 1.

31. Nancy Randle, “At Last, a Film Worthy of the “F” Word,” The Chicago Tribune, 9 June 1991, sec. 6, p. 15.

32. S. Dean, “Fan Sees ‘Thelma & Louise’ as Trailblazers,” The Chicago Tribune, 1 September 1991, sec. 6, p. 8.

33. June Sawyers, “Callie Khouri Answers Critics of `Thelma & Louise,”‘ The Chicago Tribune, 7 July 1991, sec. 6, p. 1.

34. Darlene Stevens, “Age Old Problem: Job Gains Made By Young Didn’t Translate to Later Years,” The Chicago Tribune, 12 May 1991, sec. 6, p. 12.

35. Bertice Berry, “Vision of Black Beauty Shaded by Colorism,” The Chicago Tribune, 3 November 1991, sec. 6, p. 15.

36. Michele Weldon, “More Weighty Stars? Let the Fat Lady Sing,” The Chicago Tribune, 7 July 1991, sec. 6, p. 11.

37. The classified ads for volunteers for rape hotlines and women’s shelters were no longer tagged “Get Involved!” as they had been in “TempoWoman,”but now ran under the simple heading “Notices.”

38. Sara Paretsky, “We’re Paying for Our Own Torment,” The Chicago Tribune, 26 May 1991, sec. 6, p. 11.

39. Colleen Dudgeon, “In TV’s ‘Jep’ Trend, Viewer Is Victim Too,” The Chicago Tribune, 24 November 1991, sec. 6, p. 11.

40. Susan Kezios, “A Franchise May Be a Way to Be Your Own Boss,” The Chicago Tribune, 9 June 1991, sec. 6, p. 11.

41. Betty Dooley, “Honor the Workers, and Honor Their Needs,” The Chicago Tribune, 1 September 1991, sec. 6, p. 13.

42. See, for example, Lorraine O’Connell, “Minority View: The Tribulations of the Lone Man in the Office,” The Chicago Tribune, 28 April 1991, sec. 6.p. 6.

43. To bookend the decade, the researchers conducted an informal review of the 39 1998-1999 “WomanNews” sections available to them. 1998 was the last full year “WomanNews” appeared in the Sunday paper. The edition of March 14,1999, was the last to run in the form analyzed in this study. Beginning March 24, 1999, the section was moved to Wednesdays, and with this move it ceased running in the national edition of the Tribune.

44. Woodhull estimated that by 1993 at least 40 contemporary women’s sections had been started across the country. See K. Schmidt and C. Collins, “Showdown at Gender Gap,” American Journalism Review 15 (July/August 1993):39-42.

45. Guido H. Stempel III, Thomas Hargrove, and Joseph Bernt, “Relation of Growth of Use of the Internet to Changes in Media Use from 1995 to 1999,” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 77 (spring 2000): 71-79.

by Therese L. Lueck and Huayun Chang

Lueck is an associate professor in the School of Communication at the University of Akron, and Chang is research editor at Common Wealth, a business and finance magazine in Taiwan.

Copyright Newspaper Research Journal, Department of Journalism, University of Memphis Winter 2002

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