Women Journalists in the 21st Century

By Pamela Creedon

During fall 2010, University of Iowa students (14 female and one male) in Pamela Creedon’s Gender and Mass Media class decided they wanted to learn more about the status of women journalists in the media. They had read nearly three dozen essays from women newspaper journalists, editors and executives in their textbook: “The Edge of Change: Women in the 20th Century Press” published in 2009. The students decided they wanted to learn more about women journalists in all media—not only newspapers.

They had majors ranging from dance to psychology and from management to philosophy. Six students were journalism and mass communication majors. Given the variety of majors, Creedon decided the class would do an “email interview;” students weren’t allowed to edit the responses from JAWS members.

Gender & Mass Media Class

Students agreed on six questions that each would include in their online interviews. The goal of these questions was to be able compare responses so we could evaluate the “Edge of Change” today.

A very interesting question from students asked JAWdesses for the ONE word that would describe the status of women in journalism today. Twenty-two different ONE word responses were given and a couple of JAWdesses wrote more to expand upon the question.

“Evolving” was the most popular ONE word and received four JAWdesses’ votes from Beth Duff-Brown, Mary Curtis, J. Kagan, and Merrill Perlman. Three words received two votes: empowered, improving and undervalued. And, there were 18 “one” vote responses. They are: excelling, arriving, climbing, better, progress, stalled, struggling, problematic, challenging, passive, dismal, dogged, misrepresented, underrepresented, women, badass and UGH.

Read the interviews here.