Talking gender, journalism and the web on HuffPostLive

The HuffPostLive set as seen on my laptop.

The HuffPostLive set as seen on my laptop.

A big thanks to Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani and HuffPostLive for including me on a panel discussion about the online gender gap. My co-panelists were Madeline Earp from Freedom House, graduate student Tanya Lakot and Dr. Syb Bennett, a journalism professor at Belmont University. The full segment is archived here.

If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, take a few minutes to read Earp’s summary of the staggering gap between men and women when it comes to Internet access worldwide.  In addition to barriers to physical access, women are more likely to face censorship or harassment online.



‘Not just a battlefield story’

I stumbled across this trailer on Twitter earlier this week, and I’m hoping to watch the full documentary sometime soon:

The correspondents featured are remarkable for their courage, but their work is also a reminder of why a diverse press corps matters. Women, the film argues, see war differently — and that’s important when we’re trying to fully understand complicated geopolitical events.

Women were digital media pioneers, but there’s still a gender gap online

USA Today launched its first website just days before the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and its staff helped create a new kind of crisis storytelling in the aftermath. Rapid updates, photos, and story indexes made the Web, for the first time in human history, a significant source of information for understanding national tragedy. Two years later, another major paper continued to shape our understanding of online news when a Web producer at assembled the multimedia version of Black Hawk Down. On the West Coast, meanwhile, the San Jose Mercury News unveiled Good Morning Silicon Valley in the mid-1990s, and it quickly became a popular proto-blog focused on the booming tech industry. (Read more at The Columbia Journalism Review.)


The beginner’s mind

Seeing the light at my yoga studio yesterday afternoon.

Seeing the light at my yoga studio yesterday afternoon.

I seldom write about my yoga practice because, on most days, it defies words. But many of the concepts we discuss at the studio percolate into other aspects of my life. One of those notions — what Zen Buddhists call “the beginner’s mind” — has seemed especially relevant as I’ve navigated my new job teaching journalism at UNH.

The beginner’s mind calls for abandoning preconceptions and staying open to new possibilities, no matter your level of experience. For me, this means remaining always a student, both of writing and of the many platforms on which stories will live in the years to come. Many of my students adore Tumblr, something I’d decided I was too busy to use. That changed last month when, at their urging,  I launched a Tumblr of my own. It’s called 1,000 words, and it’s a venue to publish some of my photography.

Yes. Photography.

Taking pictures is wildly intimidating to me. I’ve worked alongside dozens of the finest photojournalists in the business and worried that picking up a camera myself would somehow dilute the value of their work. (Or encourage a short-sighted newsroom bean counter to eradicate the photo department in favor of “good enough” images from reporters’ smartphones.) But I don’t work in a newsroom anymore, and I needed to better understand the visual nature of the web.

About a year ago, I started taking pictures with intention. At first, I used my iPhone. Later, I bought a Nikon D5100 and began learning about aperture and shutter speed and focus. Thousands of pictures later, I still have no idea what I’m doing — but I’ve decided that probably makes me a more compassionate teacher. I’m no expert, just one beginner in a classroom full of beginners, all looking for great stories to tell.

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Another corner of the media landscape dominated by men

More evidence of hyperlocal gender parity

The post-Patch fallout is far from over, but there’s some anecdotal evidence here in New England that former Patch staffers are launching indy news sites. As Dan Kennedy notes on his Media Nation blog, two such publications went live at the end of last month. One founding publisher is male; the other is female. Not exactly a scientific sample, I know, but it tracks with the preliminary results of my own research which show that hyperlocal leadership comes the closest to gender parity. 

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My base of operations for the next couple of days

I’m in Norman, Oklahoma for AEJMC’s Midwinter Conference, and it looks like I’ll be spending my time in a gorgeous building:


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The only woman in the newsroom

Adrienne LaFrance’s interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg is a must read. It’s a fascinating look at how much things have changed for women in journalism since Totenberg started her career more than four decades ago.

Found while moving into my new office

In late 2007, Hillary Clinton visited the Concord Monitor for an interview with the paper’s editorial board. Someone – most likely photo editor Dan Habib – documented her tour of the newsroom. I’ve met plenty of people seeking the presidency, but this picture is special. It shows something unimaginable a generation ago: A handshake between a female journalist and a female presidential candidate poised to win New Hampshire’s first-in-the nation primary.


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Women, video games and public health

My latest project examines some interesting trends at the intersection of gender, gaming and disease prevention. Read it here.


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