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Where Are the Women?
Why we need more female newsroom leaders

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I had women who nurtured my career and helped me grow as a newsroom leader. I also had men, black and white, who have supported me and have been role models throughout my career. Your role models don’t always have to look like you for the relationship and your career to flourish. I certainly have tried to create a path for others. I’ve coached new mothers on juggling work and life. I’ve encouraged young men, including black men, to raise their hands for positions of increased responsibility. There are many variables that contribute to underrepresentation. Even though women are getting a great number of communications degrees, they do not always pursue opportunities in news. Sometimes, when they do pursue industry opportunities, they ultimately leave for jobs with better pay, better hours, even better opportunities, more manageable work-life balance and less volatility. Essentially, women often leave the industry for the same reasons men leave the industry. Many of my contemporaries have left the business in recent years but that has more to do with the industry’s financial model than with frustrations about securing leadership roles. That’s not to suggest that it’s not difficult to rise to the top of the profession. And it’s been even more difficult for women of color. Few women of color have been included in recent discussions about women in the newsroom, partly because there are so few and partly because they are not front and center in the minds of those having the debate. Those who hire news leaders need to more aggressively build diverse talent pools. My big concern now is the lack of diversity in the digital news space. When you look at the leadership of nearly all of the cutting edge digital initiatives, there are even fewer women and people of color. We should not be making the same mistakes. If we had diversity at the inception, we would not have to overcorrect later.

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