This month’s goal: $12,000 for JAWS

Updated 7/3/2014: Thanks to dozens of generous donors, this project was a huge success. We raised nearly $9,500 during the month of June, and we’re confident we’ll reach the $12,000 mark by the end of the summer. Running the campaign was a lot of fun — but also a lot of work, which is why things have been quiet around here for the last month. I’ll be back to my regular blogging habits after Fourth of July weekend. — MH 

Crowdrise_logo_151x48-1For the next 30 days, I’m leading a crowdfunding campaign to send 10 early-career female journalists to a conference organized by the Journalism & Women Symposium. Our goal is to raise $12,000 — enough to provide these talented women with several days of mentorship, networking opportunities and leadership training.

Programs like this are crucial to newsroom diversity, and newsroom diversity is vital for telling accurate stories about all segments of our society. Although women are the majority of entry-level reporters, they are far less likely than their male peers to rise to management positions. Supporting emerging female journalists is one way to counter that trend.

I gave $25 to the campaign this morning, and it’s my goal to convince 10 people in my social and professional networks to do the same by the end of this week.

Please visit our CrowdRise page, watch our fantastic video and consider supporting this important cause.


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More data about gender, tech and journalism

Some of my research into women’s leadership in digital journalism has been published in the latest edition of Media Report to Women. Read it here.




J schools reboot for next generation needs

Journalism education — much like journalism itself — is in the middle of a massive reboot, one with the potential to redefine how news is produced and consumed in the decades to come. Students still learn the basics, but digital is the default, and the most innovative schools are churning out graduates with skills newsrooms may not yet know how to use.  Read the full story at


Abramson aftermath

I have no idea what caused the firing of Jill Abramson and, unless your name is Arthur Sulzberger, neither do you. So I’m not going to opine on why it happened or what it means. It is, however, worth reviewing the conversation that’s followed her ouster. Here are three things I’ve learned in the last week:

1.) Female journalists get paid less than male journalists. An Indiana University survey — cited in this release from the Pew Research Center — found that women working in news have salaries about 83 percent lower than their male peers. Amanda Bennett, former editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, explains how this can still be true:

I have managed at five organizations over nearly 20 years. At each of them I saw women paid less than men in what I thought were identical positions. Was everyone lying who said they were committed to equal pay? I came to believe not. It was worse than that. It became clear that we saw things differently. I saw two people who, I believed, were doing the same work but being paid unequally. Those above me saw a story and a history, something that they thought caused the man to deserve higher pay: This one had just stepped down from a senior position and taken his higher pay with him. That one had been hired from a higher-paying organization. Yet another had been offered a job with a competitor. How many women in the past decade have been promoted past their peers, only to see in the spreadsheets the sad evidence that their own stories were apparently not as persuasive?

In the days since the Abramson story broke, I’ve heard this sentiment echoed by female journalists in my networks. For many, this feeling of worthlessness caused them to leave leadership jobs they loved or abandon journalism altogether.

2.) There’s something called the “glass cliff and it makes life as a female editor really, really hard. Susan Glasser, editor of Politico Magazine, has another name for the dynamic: editing while female.

There are shockingly few women at the top anywhere in America, and it’s a deficit that is especially pronounced in journalism, where women leaders remain outliers, category-defying outliers who almost invariably still face a comeuppance…These women editors have done most of the things the professional women’s empowerment class recommends. But still, they were not really able to succeed. They—and I—remained stuck in a trap not of our own making. It’s called editing while female.

Other top female editors have written similar accounts in the last week. Here’s one from Kara Swisher and another by Amanda Wilson.

3.) Sexism in journalism extends far beyond the corner office. For some examples, check out this new Tumblr called Journalism While Female. It’s full of accounts from female reporters, editors and producers who have faced sexual harassment, discrimination and other gender-based problems on the job.

But, as the always amazing Robert Hernandez reminds us, the answer isn’t to give up. Instead, do the opposite. Entrench. Push back. Make them change:

School’s out for summer

What the hell happened to the last month? Actually, I know exactly what happened: finals. Lots and lots of finals to grade. And portfolios and projects and essays to read. And students dropping by my office to talk about their summer plans* or ask advice on applying for jobs. It all unfolded at a pace similar to the week before an election: dizzying, thrilling and, in hindsight, rather blurry.

It’s over now, and I’m looking ahead to a summer of consulting, freelancing and — here’s the tricky one — wrapping my head around what it means to be a writer in a beautiful, fascinating and overwhelming digital world.

The consulting is already underway. I’m spending a few days each week in the newsroom at the Concord Monitor, the newspaper where I worked as a reporter and, later, web editor for many years. The paper’s staff is young and talented, and it’s my job to help them build stories with all the digital tools at their disposal. (I suppose it’s a little like a professional version of last year’s Summer Tech Camp.)

I have some stories in the works for NetNewsCheck, and I’m hoping to finally start a reporting project that’s been on my list for years. (Details to come.)

As for modern writing, I’m heading to a workshop in a couple of weeks that explores the intersection of writing and yoga. I’m not sure what to expect, but I hope to understand why I seem to struggle more now than ever before to put a few decent sentences on a page.

I’ll be blogging about it all, so please stay tuned.

*Speaking of summer plans, be sure to follow my colleague Tom Haines as he embarks on the first leg of a journey through what he calls “landscapes of fuel in America.” He launched his blog last week, and it’s already a great read.


More than gender parity in this year’s Knight fellowship

Stanford announced the next class of Knight fellows yesterday and, of the 12 U.S. journalists selected, eight are women. More proof that the future of news can — and should — be built by a diverse cadre of reporters and editors.


Where the Women Are: Measuring Female Leadership in the New Journalism Ecology

Here she is: My thesis. Download, share, quote and ponder.

A huge thank you to the organizers of the Society of Professional Journalists’ New England chapter for inviting me to unveil my research at today’s conference. Here’s the slide deck from my talk:

And here are links to a few of the books, articles and people I mentioned in my talk:


Why job postings could save journalism (or at least make it more diverse)

I’m talking about the gender gap in online news tomorrow afternoon at SPJ’s Boston conference, and I’ve been struggling with how to present the audience with concrete recommendations for improving a rather dismal situation.

A renewed commitment to monitoring press diversity is a good start, as are training programs and grants for underrepresented populations. Ann Friedman has another suggestion I’m adding to my list, one that’s both simple and brilliant: Post your job openings.

As Friedman writes on, it’s all too common for hiring editors to seek private recommendations without ever publicly announcing open positions:

They want specific names, not exposure for their listing. This makes me want to scream. Is your hiring process really that top-secret? Are you too busy to consider applications from people who haven’t already been vetted by someone you know? Or are you just lazy about spreading the word? And if any of these things are true, why are you surprised that you’re not getting a diverse group of applicants? 

Mandy Jenkins made a similar suggestion on her (always awesome) Zombie Journalism blog, and she offers some specifics on how to spread the word about open positions:

Post your jobs early on and spread them to your social networks, your real-life networks and email lists for organizations like ONA, NABJ, AAJA, NAHJ, JAWS and many more journalism organizations. Treat the process earnestly. You never know who might be quietly looking for work that you know…and more importantly, you never know who you don’t know that might be perfect for your job and they just need to hear about it…When you say you are an equal opportunity employer, actually mean it. If qualified women and journalists of color don’t know about your job, they can’t apply. That isn’t an equal opportunity.

What other techniques can hiring editors use to increase staff diversity?

I’m just not surprised…

… that the 10 highest paid media executives are male. Hat tip to my friends at NetNewsCheck for this list from the LA Times.

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.



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