I am a middle-aged white male. Over the years, I’ve paid attention and learned about the importance of diversity in news gathering and in the news business. Traditionally, as I have written about diversity, it has involved race…and attempts to increase the minority representation on the newspaper’s news staff. Because it involved race, it has been controversial. (You should have seen the dust-up when I said our target was to make sure that one-third of our hires were non-white.)
But diversity is also about gender. The number and role of women in newsrooms haven’t gotten nearly the attention they should. I suspect that’s because women have had high-ranking positions in newsroom, at least in North Carolina. The acting editor of the News & Record is female as are the editors of the Winston-Salem Journal and the Wilmington Star-News. The managing editors of The Charlotte Observer and the News & Observer are women. That’s great. I assume their impact on the coverage of news is powerful. I know it was when I was the editor in Greensboro.
In Greensboro, more women than men read the paper. Women think more favorably about it, too. I say that not to suggest we in journalism can rest on our laurels, but the exact opposite. We need to do a better job thinking about stories and photos differently. Quoting more women in news stories. And moving women into positions of leadership.
Whenever I would write about diversity, I get accused of letting political correctness run amok, that listening to and involving others will bring in a personal bias. Bringing in different point of view is precisely the point. But Megan Kamerick can explain it so much better than I. Funnier, too.
(Hat tip, Melissa Ludtke.)