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Female online journalists on how the internet has changed the gender landscape

June 30th, 2010Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

There is an interesting post on the Online Journalism Review site today following a gender and mass media class at the University of Iowa.

A group of students and their teacher, Pamela Creedon, have compiled an interview series featuring female online journalists around the world discussing experiences of gender bias.

The result is a wide-reaching archive of comments documenting the variations across continents and an insight into how the internet has changed the gender landscape.

Several comments of particular interest:

I actually consider being a female journalist to be one of my advantages. I think it’s because people consider women to be less aggressive, less hardcore. I feel like that stereotype really helped me to hide my true aggression, my true, hardcore journalism. When I go out to report I always try to show a very feminine side but inside I know I’m a hardnosed journalist. Xin Feng, journalist from China.

In terms of promotions, gender bias [exists] when assigning reporters in the field, men always send women to weaker assignments, give them weaker positions. I’ve been senior reporter for over five years and yet those coming in are being promoted on the basis of gender. Delphine Hampande, a senior reporter in Zambia.

In terms of countries like the US and the UK I consider men and women to play an equal role in the media already, and therefore in the years to come would like to see both working to high standards of respectable and reliable journalism… In developing countries and oppressive regimes I would love to see the number of female journalists continue to rise. Online journalism and blogging both have a huge scope for anonymity and so can (and should) be used to tell stories that would otherwise be kept hidden. Natalie Hart, an English freelance journalist.

The interviews have been transformed into an interactive source for students to access industry opinion, using OJR’s OurBlook.com platform.

The full interview series can be read here…

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