Women in Journalism
By April Wilson
The practice of journalism reaches as far back as 1690 when the first colonial news print was released titled Boston’s Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick. However, like many aspects of America’s history, women were not welcomed into the world of journalism at the start. In fact, Anne Newport Royall, considered to be the first American Newspaper woman, was not born for another 79 years in 1769! Once they had their foot in the door, there was no stopping women from writing history (quite literally). Though women had pushed their foot into the door of journalism, they were not wholeheartedly accepted immediately. In “Measuring progress: Women as journalists” journalist and author, Kay Mills, recounts her experience while applying for a position with Chicago Daily. She was denied employment “because we already have four women.”
According to The American Society of News Editors (ASNE)’s 2009 employment survey, 34 percent of newsroom supervisors and 37 percent of newsroom employees were women. Though women still make up less than half of the journalism workforce by these accounts, this is quite a jump from turning away a prospective reporter due to already having four other women. According to Catherine York with poynter.com, women comprise more than two-thirds of journalism and mass communication graduates.
Withholding individuals from participating in the conversation that is modern journalism can be considered a form of censorship. A successful news organization must do its best to be inclusive with who they choose as reporters and involve as many diverse voices as possible. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Melanie Sill, explains that “The more perspective a newsroom has from its staffers the better the coverage will be.”
Just as newsroom supervisors require objectivity from the reporters they hire, they should also model objectivity with whom they hire—not selecting candidates by any other qualities than those related to their skills. Objectivity in news writing is achieved by including all voices, conflicting or otherwise. An objective newspaper should include many voices as well. As explained by their diversity statement, The Society of Professional Journalists provide an open forum for the discussion of diversity issues in journalism on both chapter and national levels.
Women have travelled a long road from not having a voice within journalism whatsoever. The goal to create diversity in journalism involves including minorities, such as women, in the news conversation. Without diversity, a news organization cannot remain objective in today’s news environment.
Universal Class (n.d.). The beginning of journalism. Retrieved from
Thomas, J.D. (2012). Anne Newport Royall: First American Newspaper Woman. Retrieved from
Mills, K. (n.d.). Measuring Progress: Women as journalists. Retrieved from
York, Catherine (2017). Women dominate journalism schools, but newsrooms are still a different