Katherine Goldstein, former editor of Vanity Fair and Slate, recently spent her fellowship investigating the issues between journalism, gender diversity, and working mothers. According to CNN, news “jobs typically feature unpredictable schedules and long hours, and as the news cycle gets even faster, and newsrooms are increasingly more strapped for cash.” With so much uncertainty, one can see why journalism might be a tough sell for women considering starting a family.
But if the job requires such commitment, is it fair for women to expect exceptions based on personal decisions? Well yes and no. The upcoming millennial generation is vastly different then the past as work / life balance is very important. 100 hour work weeks are almost out of the question for today’s employees unless work can be tied to some life changing goal. In addition how news is covered has changed dramatically with news being able to be given from home.
According to Goldstein citing a 2015 study by University of Kansas, “67% of women currently working in journalism are thinking about leaving the industry, compared to 55% of men.” Work / life balance and opportunities play a major role in an industry that should be evolving and not just in a workplace format but delivery and consumption format as well.
In an effort to give some advice on how to open journalism to more women, Goldstein gives 4 pieces of advice to help news organizations in their quest to expand:
- The first, non-negotiable and basic rule is to give paid maternity leave
- the second is to give fathers and non-birth parents paid family leave
- the third is for newsrooms to create official work-from-home and flexibility policies so that better working arrangements are “not just that special deal you cut with someone;”
- the fourth is to prioritize work-life balance for everyone.