Study Released on Female Leadership in Newsrooms

One in five of the nation’s top female editors say they definitely want to move up in the newspaper industry, but nearly one in two expects to leave her company or the news business entirely, according to a report released Oct. 20 for the Pew Center by Selzer and Company.

The report, entitled “The Great Divide: Female Leadership in U.S. Newsrooms,” was released found that the great divide is not between men and women, but two distinct subsets of women who register notably different aspirations, concerns, and career paths.

The two different types of women are career-conflicted Women, and career-confident Women. About 45 percent of women are classified as the first type and about 55 percent as the latter. 

Career-conflicted women believe that they would like to move up but have “concerns” about doing this. Reasons include sexism, lack of opportunity, and lower satisfaction with salary and relationships with their bosses.

Career-confident women are clear about where they want their career path to go. They are also happier about their boss which has helped them to reach for higher goals than Career-conflicted women.

Sexism was reported as being the main problem blocking achievement of both groups of these women. Seventy-nine percent of career-conflicted women and 46 percent of career- confident women believed that they lost a position due to a manager’s sexual preference for male workers.

According to the report, this was a national survey of 273 editors, 40 percent of the newsroom leaders in daily newspapers with a circulation of 50, 000 or more. There were 202 men and 71 men surveyed. 

When newsroom managers were surveyed on how they viewed the career tracks open to them, 60 percent of men, 56 percent of confident women and 66 percent of conflicted women believed that they were going to move up within their current newspaper.

Twenty-six percent of all men and women surveyed believe that they were on track to move up to a position outside the newspaper industry while 32 percent of all surveyed believed they were on track to move up to a corporate job in the newspaper industry.

When asked what they thought would happen in the future for them, 29 percent of men, 18 percent of confident women and 34 percent of conflicted women believed they would “definitely” or “probably” be offered a better opportunity at another newspaper company.

The Pew Center is located in Baltimore, MD and is an incubator for civic journalism experiments that enable news organizations to create and refine better ways or reporting the news to re-engage people in public life.