Women journalists report discrimination in newsrooms

Women journalists report discrimination in newsrooms

Kim Walsh-Childers

A national survey of newspaperwomen finds many feel discriminated against in pay, promotions and assignments.

By the year 2000, women will make up nearly 50 percent of the labor force in the United States. Although they make up 40 percent of the managers and administrators in the work force, few women occupy chief executive officer status or appear to be in the pipeline to be promoted to the highest levels.1

In 1990 Fortune magazine followed up its 1978 examination of proxy statements from 799 of the largest industrial and selvice companies in the United States. In 1978, the magazine found only 10 women among the 6,400 officers and directors named on company statements. When Fortune examined the same companies’ 1990 proxy statements, there were 19 women, less than one half of one percent of the 4,012 highest-paid officers and directors. Fortune called the progress “remarkably limited.”2

Other researchers, too, have found that women still are not reaching the top levels of management in U.S. businesses. A Department of Labor study concludes that women represent only 1-2 percent of senior executives, and a report by the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission showed that, according to the 1990 Census, women were 30.3 percent of the executives, managers and administrators in the communications industry, compared to 37.7 percent in “business services,” 47.8 percent in finance, and 49.6 percent in the insurance industry.3

Analyses of 1990 Census Bureau data on median earnings for year-round, full-time workers reflected a new all-time high for women – 71 percent of men’s earnings, up from 68 percent in 1989 and 60 percent in 1980. But rather than reflecting rising salaries for women, the figures reflect three years of declining earnings for men after adjustment for inflation. Reporting on those figures, Business Week columnist Karen Pennar expressed concern about the numher of women who run family households but have lesser earning power than men. “Fully 37 percent of all female-headed families, according to the Census Department, have incomes that rank in the bottom fifth of the nation’s income distribution,” Pennar warned.4

The rank and pay situation faced by the vast majority of female journalists appears to mirror that in the broader society. At U.S. newspapers, 35 percent of the work force is female. Of lowerlevel news employees, about half are female, but only 15 percent of the executives are women. In 1987, 79 of 1,454 publishers and general managers – 5.2 percent – were women, and 25 percent of those were employed by one company – Gannett.5 In addition, comparison of salaries of people occupying essentially the same positions show that newswomen earn only 92 cents for every dollar paid to men in the same top-level jobs.6 According to a recent study by David Weaver and Cleveland Wilhoit, overall, the median salary for women journalists is 81 percent of the median salary for male journalists. The gender gap in salaries has narrowed since 1970, when median salaries for women were only 64 percent of those for men, and Weaver and Wilhoit note that, when years of experience are considered, the income gap nearly disappears. However, there remains a significant salary differential for journalists with 10-14 years of experience. Among women at this experience level, the median income for 1991 was $28,750, while men at the same level of experience earned $34,808, more than $6,000 more per year.7 In 1993, Maurine Beasley decried the failure of newspapers to increase the number of women in the country’s newsrooms from 34 percent since 1983. “Clearly women are far from equal to men in American journalism, a field in which they have proved their competence for two centuries.”8

The low numbers of women in newsrooms clearly does not simply reflect women’s preferences for other careers. According to the most recent study of enrollment in journalism programs, in 1993-1994, women accounted for 59.2 percent of all students enrolled in undergraduate journalism and mass communication programs and made up 63.2 percent of those studying for master’s degrees in the same fields. In 1993-1994, women earned 59.5 percent of the bachelor’s degrees and 62.6 percent of the master’s degrees in joumalism and mass communication.9

Kay Mills concludes from her study of the history of newspaperwomen that

there seems so far to be little room at the top for women in American newspapers despite their movement in increasing numbers into the newsroom since the mid-1960s. Male managers deny that there is a glass ceiling barring women’s advancement, but women definitely are bumping their heads against something up here. It is not lack of experience, and it is not lack of ability, and it is not lack of sheer numbers.10

Mills’ statement that women are not reaching the top levels of newspaper management is borne out by two observations Karen Jurgensen, USA Today’s editorial page editor, made in a 1993 Newspaper Research Journal article. Jurgensen noted that, according to the American Newspaper Publisher’s Association 1990 report, women accounted for 39 percent of all newsroom staff members but were only 28 percent of the executives and managers. And at the highest levels of management – represented by the top newspaper editors who make up the membership of the American Society of Newspaper Editors – only 10 percent are women (92 of ASNE’s 912 members).11

Other studies of female print and broadcast journalists also have reflected women’s frustration over good ol’ boy networking and general perceptions of discrimination in their newsrooms. According to a survey conducted by the International Women’s Media Foundation, 93 percent of survey respondents said women joumalists continue to face obstacles their male peers do not. These obstacles include receiving lower salaries than those of male employees doing the same kind of work and having less access to the most challenging jobs and those most likely to lead to career advancement. Survey respondents, who included women journalists covering the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women and IWMF members in more than 40 countries, expressed frustration at being denied opportunities to cover science and technology, politics and business and often complained that their male colleagues get more visible, newsworthy and challenging assignments.l2

Recent research suggests that gender discrimination creates significant costs – not savings – for companies. According to the 1988 Working Women Sexual Harassment Survey, the costs of gender bias and sexual harassment combined could result in documentable after-tax losses equal to 1 percent of total operating costs for Fortune 500-size companies.l3 Measuring what sex discrimination costs the newspaper industry is difficult, but certainly the price includes the costs of litigation, productivity losses due to absenteeism and poor work performance, high employee turnover and perhaps even increases in medical insurance premiums due to stress-induced illnesses. Experts agree that psychological factors, human dignity issues and job satisfaction also should be considered as costs of discrimination.

In addition, Jurgensen and others argue that the failure to promote women to higher decision-making levels in U.S. newsrooms has contributed to readership declines that are even steeper among women than among men. Jurgensen notes that in 1970, a greater proportion of women than men read newspapers; in 1993, survey research showed that 64 percent of men but only 60 percent of women reported reading a newspaper the previous day. Jurgensen added that, when asked how they would choose to spend an hour by themselves, 61 percent of women said they would read. However, women say they don’t read newspapers because they do not find the content compelling.14

In a focus group study, Kristin McGrath found that women said newspapers’ content does not seem relevant to them and do not relate to newspapers. In more than 500 focus group studies, McGrath said, women who were asked to personify the newspaper described a man, “typically a man in his 50s wearing a suit and driving a big, American car.”15 McGrath argues that one reason newspapers may seem to have male personalities is that two-thirds of joumalists are men. Women journalists, she notes, likely have some inherent advantages over male journalists in communicating successfully with female readers.16

The relative dearth of literature detailing U.S. newspaperwomen’s experiences with sex discrimination suggested a basic need to evaluate the status of U.S. newspaperwomen in the mid-’90s. The purpose of this study was to attempt to discover the extent and types of sex discrimination U.S. newswomen believe they experience.

Research questions

1. How much of a problem is sex discrimination for women journalists at U.S. newspapers?

2. What kinds of sex discrimination do women journalists experience most frequently?

3. What factors are associated with sex discrimination among women journalists?


Female reporters, photographers, editors and graphic artists were randomly selected for the survey using multi-level stratified sampling. First, the researchers drew separate samples of 72 small, 32 medium and 16 large newspapers. A newsroom manager at each sample newspaper was then contacted and asked for a list of all the women in editorial positions on the newspaper’s staff. The lists obtained were arranged in random order, and names randomly selected.

Each sample member was sent a letter describing the project, explaining that only female students or faculty members would call her, and promising that if she chose to participate, only general descriptions of her and her newspaper would be used(i.e. a reporter from a small Southeastern newspaper) in connection with comments she gave.17 Interviewers called each sample member at a time and place (at work or at home) of her choosing.

Evaluation of sex discrimination as a problem

Respondents were told that “sex discrimination is defined as any instance in which female employees appear to have been denied opportunities or rewards because of their gender and not for any reasons related to their abilities or experience.” Each respondent was asked to say whether she believed sex discrimination, based on this definition, was “no problem at all, not much of a problem, somewhat of a problem, a significant problem or a very serious problem” for women as newspaper journalists in general and in her own journalism career.

Experience with sex discrimination

Each respondent was asked if, during her newspaper career; she had been:

passed over for promotion in favor of a less qualified man;

passed over for promotion in favor of an equally but not more qualified man;

named to a position of authority on an interim basis, but denied permanent assignment to the position in favor of a less qualified man;

named to a position of authority on an interim basis, but denied permanent assignment to the position in favor of an equally but not more qualified man;

denied a desirable beat, story or photo assignment because of her gender; and

offered a position or hired for a position at a salary lower than would have been offered a similarly qualified man.

Respondents who had had each experience were asked whether it had occurred more than once. All multiple occurrences of any particular type of discrimination were coded simply as more than once.

Perceptions of workplace discrimination Each respondent was asked the following questions about her newspaper:

Would you say that, in general,

men are paid better than women for the same jobs,

women are paid better than men, or men and women are paid the same for the same jobs?

men have a better chance of being promoted,

women have a better chance of being promoted, or

men and women have equally good chances of being promoted?

men have a better chance of getting desirable assignments,

women have a better chance of getting desirable assignments, or

men and women have equally good chances?

In addition, each respondent was asked to indicate, using a 5-point scale (from strongly agree to strongly disagree) her opinion about two work environment statements:

Men and women are treated equally by managers in my workplace.

Male employees treat women peers as equals in my workplace.

Demographic and work-environment information

Each respondent was asked for her year of birth, job title, years of experience as a journalist, percentage of woman newsroom employees at her newspaper and her immediate supervisor’s sex.


Although some sample members were unavailable because they had left their jobs, often for employment outside newspapers, 227 women were ultimately interviewed. Of the 311 women interviewers spoke with, 33 (10.6 percent) refused to participate, an unusually low refusal rate.18

Despite the difficulty scheduling interviews with many sample members, numerous respondents commented that they were delighted that someone finally was giving them the chance to tell their stories.l9 At least one woman told the interviewer, “I’ve had your letter sitting right here beside my phone. I couldn’t wait for you to call.”


Not surprisingly, the largest number of respondents were reporters (39 percent). Eleven percent of the respondents were copy editors, 15 percent were section editors (i.e. editors of features, business or sports sections), and 4 percent were city editors or assistant city editors. Fourteen respondents (6.2 percent) were news editors, and an equal number described themselves as editors.zo Six of the respondents (2.6 percent) held managing editor or assistant managing editor positions, and another six were photographers. The remainder of the sample were graphic artists (4.4 percent), photo editors (1.8 percent), editorial writers or columnists (1.8 percent), held some other position (1.8 percent) or gave no title (3.5 percent).

The average respondent was 38.4 years old and had 11.6 years of experience as a journalist. On average, respondents estimated that women accounted for 46.6 percent of all newsroom employees. About two-thirds of the respondents said their immediate supervisor was male. The respondents represented newspapers in 30 states, distributed quite equally across all regions of the United States.

1. How much of a problem is sex discrimination for women journalists at U.S. newspapers?

Fewer than one in 10 (7.1 percent) said discrimination is no problem at all for women journalists, while 26.4 percent said discrimination had been no problem for them personally. Nearly half (47.8 percent) believe discrimination is somewhat of a problem for women journalists, while more than one-fourth (26 percent) said discrimination had been somewhat of a problem in their own careers. About 16 percent and 11 percent, respectively, said discrimination is a significant or very serious problem for women journalists in general and for themselves personally. Overall, almost 40 percent said discrimination had been at least somewhat a problem in their own careers.

2. What kinds of sex discrimination do women journalists experience most frequently?

Women were most likely to report experiencing salary discrimination; only 33 percent were confident they never had been offered or paid a salary lower than an equally qualified man would have received.zl More than one-fourth felt they had been denied a desirable assignment at least once because they were women, and about one in five felt they had been passed over for promotion in favor of a less qualified man at least once.

A small number of respondents reported that they had been given a position of authority on an interim basis but then were denied permanent assignment to the position. Only 8 percent (18 women) had been denied permanent assignment to such a position in favor of a less qualified man, and a few more (21- 9.2 percent) had been forced to give up the position to a man they viewed as equally but not more qualified.

3. What factors are associated with sex discrimination among women journalists?

Table 1 suggests that women from mid-sized and larger newspapers were more likely to experience salary discrimination. Among women from the smallest newspapers, more than half (51.2 percent) were confident that they hadn’t been discriminated against in salary offered or paid, while the corresponding percentages dropped to 41.4 and 26.7, respectively, among women at medium and large newspapers. The relationships between circulation size and being passed over for promotion also approached significance, and the trends were the same, with women from the largest newspapers being most likely to perceive that they had been passed over by equally or less qualified men.

Table 2 shows additional relationships between demographic characteristics and women’s reports of having been passed over for promotion in favor of less qualified men. Age and number of years of journalism experience (which obviously are confounded) both were positively related to promotion discrimination. Both of these relationships may, to some extent, reflect a difference in opportunities; younger, less experienced women would not be expected to have had as many opportunities to be promoted – or to be denied promotion.

The relationship between promotion experiences and the percentage of women in the newsroom approached significance (p.

Table 3 shows similar trends in the percentages of women who reported having been denied promotion in favor of men who were equally but not more qualified. The relationship of promotion denial with years of experience is statistically significant; again, this may reflect mostly a difference in opportunities.

As Table 4 shows, veteran newswomen also were more likely than less experienced women to have experienced salary discrimination. Only about one in four veteran newswomen expressed confidence that they never had been paid less than their male peers, and women in the middle-experience group were almost as likely to have experienced salary discrimination.

Gender balance in the newsroom also was significantly related to women’s reports of salary discrimination. Women from newsrooms in which more than half the employees were women were least likely to say they had been paid less than similarly qualified men.

For an overall test of the relationship between individual or work environment characteristics and women’s expcriences with disclimination, a discrimination index was created by counting across all six of the questions regarding specific types of discrimination. Analysis of variance was used to determine whether scores on this index were correlated with individual and work environment measures.

Scores on the index were significantly related to both age and experience as a journalist. As noted earlier, both age and experience may be related to discrimination primarily because both mean these women have had more opportunities to be discriminated against.

Regardless of their age, experience or work environments, however, respondents’ answers to the open-ended questions in their interviews reveal enormous frustration over discrimination. The respondents reported discrimination ranging from being paid less than less talented, less experienced male coworkers to dealing with sources who will return male colleagues’ calls but not theirs, to being given authority in name but no upper-level backing when conflicts arise. One woman from a small newspaper said her publisher has ignored her complaints about discriminatory workload distribution.

My supervisor in the newsroom is incompetent. They keep him although he is this way because they know the female assistant editor (me) will do all the work for both of us…. My husband has a good job here, so we will never relocate, and there is no other paper for me to go to.

A news editor from a mid-sized Midwestern newspaper said she knows she has been denied promotions because of her gender, although she cannot prove sex discrimination.

There has been a general feeling here – women come and go in the newsroom much faster than men, and many women leaving talk about being denied stories or the best beats. Apparently when they uncover a particularly interesting or big story on their beats, then it is always turned over to a male reporter… For women editors, it is a glass ceiling. You are never going to make it. To me, they just don’t promote women here beyond a certain point.

A number of women, like the editor quoted earlier, complained that women are expected to clean up after incompetent male superiors or co-workers. A woman from a small Southeastern newspaper said her newspaper’s female chief photographer

often has to do developing fora male photographer…. She’s complained, and they have done nothing that I’m aware of. I don’t think that would happen if she were a man.

Such dedication frequently doesn’t win hard-working women any respect or advancement. A copy editor from a mid-sized North Central U.S. newspaper said that while she was working for a smaller newspaper, the news editor and a copy editor left, and the newspaper hired a new man to be news editor.

It became clear after only two weeks he was completely incompetent. This other woman and I were doing his job. … He finally left. It was clear that either of us women had been doing the job for three months and either of us could handle it. I indicated I was interested in applying for the position, but it was clear that the male editor wasn’t going to put a woman in management. He didn’t think they belonged there…. I finally left and went to my present paper shortly before they hired another incompetent guy, who lasted a year.

Salary discrimination seems particularly problematic and often quite blatant. Many women noted that married women’s salaries are assumed to be supplemental, while men are presumed to be the breadwinner: For instance, a features editor working for a mid-sized New England newspaper reported that once, when she asked for a raise,

I was told by my boss that I really didn’t need a raise because my husband was a lawyer. If a man went in and asked for a raise, and his wife was a lawyer, they wouldn’t have said to him, ‘Well, you don’t need it because your wife is a lawyer.’

A woman from another mid-sized New England newspaper reported that earlier in her career, at a different newspaper, she had learned that a male co-worker at her level was being paid $70 more per week. When she complained, the management explained that her co-worker’s salary was higher because he was a man.

It wasn’t until I threatened a lawsuit on them that they gave me the extra $70 a week, but then they turned around and gave him a $5() raise to put him above me again.

The interviews also revealed that discrimination in beat and story assignments still occurs. A reporter from a medium-sized mid-Atlantic state newspaper said that at her newspaper, there never has been a female political reporter. “That is considered the plum beat here, and it is always given to men,” she said. So, it appears, are most other positions of power at that newspaper. At her paper, the woman said, there never has been a female managing editor, assistant managing editor or city editor; there has been one female news editor, “but that here is pretty low on the power scale.”

Many women complained that story assignments, as well as beat assignments, are distributed on the basis of gender, not talent or experience. One woman from a small afternoon newspaper said that at her newspaper, “hard news goes to men, light stuff to women.”

A reporter from a large Westem newspaper said one editor repeatedly turned down her requests to work on aspects of the Rodney King beating story. “He didn’t want me to go out initially because it was ‘too dangerous,’ where men were going out, and it wasn’t too dangerous for them. I’m perfectly physically fit.”

The same reporter noted that at a previous newspaper, during the Persian Gulf War,

they (editors) just automatically assigned men to anything that broke … Men would get the bigger, better assignments, and women would get all the shit work. It was much easier to tell a woman that, sorry, you’re going to cover the city council while Chris over there covers the Persian Gulf War.

Even within beats, women often are assumed to be less competent at some types of stories than others. A recreation reporter from a mid-sized Midwestem newspaper said that ironically she often is deemed capable of handling with “the so-called brainier stuff’ – such as water quality or something dealing with the environment.

But if I go to report on intercollegiate wrestling, or fishing, etc., then it is automatically assumed that I don’t know anything, even though I probably know twice as much about the sport as they do.

Women’s perceptions of pay, promotion, assignment equity

The frustrations created by all of these types of discrimination were reflected in women’s responses to questions about pay, promotion and assignment equity at their newspapers. The largest percentages of women felt that their newspapers now distribute pay, promotions and assignments fairly. Nonetheless, nearly one-fourth said men were more likely than women to get the best story and job assignments, and nearly 40 percent believe men still are more likely to be promoted. More than 42 percent said men are paid better than women.

Cross-tabulations showed that some work environment characteristics were related to perceptions of sex equity in the newsroom. Circulation size was related to respondents`beliefs about promotion equity, with women from small newspapers (46.2 percent) more likely than those from medium (29.7 percent) or large (38.3 percent) newspapers to say that men have better chances of being promoted [Chi-square (df=4) = 11.15, p

The last two tables show the distribution of respondents’ answers to two statements about fair treatment in the newsroom. Table 8 shows that, despite their concerns, the majority of women agreed that “male and female employees are treated equally by managers in my workplace.” Still, more than one-fourth of the women disagreed with that statement, and nearly another 10 percent disagreed strongly. Table 8 also shows that “male employees treat women peers as equals” in their newsrooms. More than one of every 10 women gave a neutral response, often noting that the truth of the statement differed dramatically from one male employee to the next. More than one-fourth of the women either disagreed or strongly disagreed that their male co-workers treat them as equals. Not surprisingly, women from the most male-dominated newsrooms were least likely to agree that their male peers treat women as equals.(see Table 9)



The respondents included in this survey were randomly selected, so these results should reflect fairly accurately the experiences and opinions of female journalists working at U.S. daily newspapers. One significant concern is that the surveys have taken a relatively long time to complete, from the summer of 1993 to February 1995. Events occurring during the intervening months may have increased the later respondents’ awareness of sex discrimination issues. Another concern is the relatively large number of women who had left their jobs at the sample newspapers by the time of attempted contact. Sex discrimination may have contributed to some women’s decisions to leave their newspapers, which would mean that the results underestimate the extent of sex discrimination newspaperwomen encounter. Many of the respondents’ comments suggest that one of the most common ways women deal with sex discrimination is to leave those jobs.

In addition, because women were not asked the dates of the discriminatory episodes they had experienced, it is not certain how well the data reflect current newsroom environments. Further analysis of the women’s responses to the open-ended questions should help to assess the extent to which discrimination is decreasing.


The results strongly suggest that sex discrimination continues to be a significant problem for women working in America’s daily newspapers. Significant numbers of women journalists obviously still feel discriminated against by their employers in relation to salaries, assignments and promotions.

One of the most interesting findings of the study was that sex balance in the newsroom seems to affect women’s perceptions of sex discrimination. Women in male-dominated newsrooms were more likely to believe that men have an unfair advantage in getting good assignments and better salaries and least likely to say that their male co-workers treat women peers as equals. These results suggest that there may be some sort of critical mass of women necessary to reduce discrimination or at least the perception of discrimination.

Another recurring theme throughout the results has been the relationship between various types of discrimination and respondents’ ages and years of experience. In general, older, more experienced women were more likely to report all types of discrimination. It isn’t clear, however, whether this should be counted as good news or bad news. Many veteran women journalists commented in the open-ended interviews that women’s opportunities have improved, suggesting that discrimination is declining. However, it also may be that if women stay in journalism long enough, they will experience discrimination in some form. A number of respondents noted that women seem to face a glass ceiling at their newspapers, and the work of other researchers certainly confirms that women still occupy few of the top management positions in U.S. newsrooms.22

The demographic characteristics of the sample certainly suggest that most women journalists remain at the lower levels – only about 6 percent of respondents were city editors, assistant city editors, managing editors or assistant managing editors. Another 6 percent described themselves as editors, but it isn’t clear that all these women held top editor or executive editor positions. Some may have been copy editors, and in any case, nine of the 14 women who gave their titles as editor were from newspapers with circulations less than 25,000.

The costs of these discriminatory practices seem obvious. First, there is the cost of employee turnover, as women who’ve been paid less, passed over for promotion or who’ve watched the plum assignments go to men time after time find new jobs, either at different newspapers or outside journalism. The extra stress caused by sex discrimination may be enough to send experienced, talented women journalists looking for other jobs. Second, among the women who stay, discrimination-related discouragement and stress may lead to lower productivity, lower morale and higher health and absenteeism costs.

But the most important cost clearly is the loss of women’s talents in areas where they could contribute the most. As noted earlier, the dearth of women in top management positions may even be contributing to newspapers’ failure to appeal to women readers. Newspaper managers keeping some of their best employees in the lower job ranks simply because those employees are not men are like restaurant managers who would keep their top chefs working as dishwashers simply because they aren’t French; in both cases, the customer receives a poorer product.

And the problem compounds itself, according to many of the respondents. Newspapers with fewer (or no) women in positions of power are less likely to hire the most competent women to fill lower-level positions. For instance, one news editor from a mid-sized Mid-Westem paper said male managers at her newspaper do not hire the same kinds of women female managers would hire.

They are not hiring assertive, strong women. They are not hiring the same qualities in women they would hire in a man, so then when the woman doesn’t work out, they can say, ‘Oh,we had a woman in that job, and it didn’t work.’ Interestingly enough, all the strong, competent women we have were all hired by a woman who has since (left the newspaper)…. The ones the men hire in are always more timid, less assertive. … Being nonthreatening and timid is not necessarily the best quality for certain jobs.

These comments are consistent with research in other kinds of industries, which show that white male managers tend to select applicants who match their image of the ideal employee; those images mirror the managers themselves. Women candidates for upper management positions thus are passed over in favor of men with whom senior executives feel more comfortable.2

Taken together, the costs of lost or burned-out employees, wasted talent, lost readers, and, in some cases, the legal fees and other costs associated with sex discrimination lawsuits must be formidable. As newsroom budgets tighten, it seems increasingly obvious that sex discrimination is a cost newspapers no longer can afford.


1. Rita Mae Kelly, The Gendered Economy. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, 1991.

2. Jaclyn Fielman, Why Women Still Don’t Hit the Top: Discrimination, However Subtle, Plays a Part. Fortune, July 30, 1990, pp. 40-62.

3. Terri A. Scandura, Breaking the Glass Ceiling in the 1990s. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, 1992; Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, Good for Business: Making Full Use of the Nation’s Human Capital. Washington, D.C.: Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, March 1995 .

4. Karen Pennar, Women Are Still Paid the Wages of Discrimination. Business Week, October 18,1991, p. 35.

5. Maurine H. Beasley and Sheila J. Gibbons, Taking Their Place: A Documentary History of Women in Journalism. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, Inc., 1993.

6. Pennar, op. cit, p. 35; Karlene Lukovitz, Women Practitioners: How Far, How Fast?”Public Relations Journal, May 1989, pp.14-20, 22, 34.

7. David Weaver and G. Cleveland Wilhoit, Who Are We?A Brief Status Report on Jobs and Work. Quill, January/February 1993, pp. 45-47.

8. Maurine H. Beasley, Women Prove Mettle During Two Centuries Practicing Journalism. The Forum, May 1993, p. 7.

9. Lee B. Becker and Gerald M. Kosicki, Graduate Degrees Increase 23%, but Bachelor Numbers Decline. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, Autumn 1995, pp. 61-70.

10. Kay Mills, A Place in the News. New York: Columbia University Press,1990, p. 278.

11. Karen Jurgensen, Diversity: A Report from the Battlefield. Newspaper Research Journal, Spring 1993, pp. 81-94.

12. Editor & Publisher, Media Women Poll: 1980s Not a Decade of Progress. February

10, 1990, p. 13; Dianne Lynch, Washington Newswomen and their News Sources. Newspaper Research Journal, Summer-Fall 1993, pp. 32-91; Debra Gersh Hernandez, Obstacles Facing Women Journalists. Editor & Publisher, April 20,1996, pp. 12, 37. 13. Peggy Stuart, What Does the Glass Ceiling Cost You? Personnel Journal, November 1992, pp.70,72-74,78-80. 14. Jurgensen, op. cit., p. 84.

15. Kristin McGrath, Women and Newspapers. Newspaper Research Journal, Spring 1993, p.102.

16. Ibid., pp. 95-110.

17. It was believed these assurances were necessary due to the sensitive nature of some of the questions, and, in fact, during the open-ended section of the interviews, many women asked for reassurance that there would not be enough information to identify them or their newspapers.

Because the authors wished to complete the survey within groups (small, medium and large), they delayed mailing the study description letters to women until they were ready to begin interviewing women from that group. Women from small newspapers began

receiving letters during the summer of 1993. Due to difficulties mustering enough volunteers to complete the interviews, surveying of women from the mid-sized and larger newspapers did not begin until the Spring of 1994.

18. Eighty-four other women were contacted and agreed to participate, but could not be interviewed because of scheduling difficulties or some other problem. 19. When Editor & Publisher ran a brief advance story about the commencement of the study, the authors received letters and some phone calls from women joumalists volunteering to be interviewed about their own experiences with discrimination and sexual harassment; all had to be declined to preserve the sample’s validity. Two women who had worked for the San Jose Mercury News for 17 and 14 years wrote, “Not only will we participate in your study, but you are free to use our names and the newspaper…. We both feel that we would do a disservice to future professional women by not warning them about the job and wage discrimination that goes on at this newspaper” (San Jose Mercury News correspondence, July 13, 1994).

20. Some of these women may have been copy editors rather than the highest-ranking editor on the staff.

21. It’s interesting that nearly one-fourth of the women said they did not know how to answer this question; many noted that they strongly suspected they had been paid less than their male peers but could not be certain because they did not have access to salary information for other staff members.

22. Mills, op. cit.; Jurgensen, op. cit.; Weaver & Wilhoit, op. cit.; Beasley, op. cit. 23. Stuart, op.cit.

Walsh-Childers and Chance are associate professors and Kristin Herzog is an assistant professor in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The authors specially thank graduate student Naomi Rifkin for her work on the survey. They also wish to thank Anita Kugler, Denise Prodigo, Erica Shepard, Laura Smith, Heloiza Herscovitz, Roselyn Dailey and other volunteer interviewers.

Copyright E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Summer/Fall 1996

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