Kristin Gilger, co-author of “There’s No Crying in Newsrooms,” spoke to students and faculty in Wallis Annenberg Hall on Thursday. She connected the stories and lessons in her new book to the issues female journalists face today. The discussion was one of the nine given by USC Annenberg’s Lead On! Women in Communication Leadership Forum on September 26 and 27.
Gilger, a veteran reporter, previously held managing editor positions at papers like The Arizona Republic and The Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. She now serves as the Senior Associate Dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
“There’s No Crying in Newsrooms” examines the mistreatment of women in newsrooms during the 1970s, when female journalists became more prominent. The book then traces a modern history of women rising to the top of the news world, before taking a look at how the next generation can rise in this climate.
“We were interested in this period of time when women really started entering newsrooms in large numbers and changing things,” Gilger said. “No one had captured those experiences of that group of women, many of whom are still in newsrooms but have had the opportunity to rise to leadership positions.”
Kristin Gilger co-wrote “There’s No Crying in Newsrooms” to trace the history of women rising through the ranks in mass communication with her colleague, Julia Wallace. Both women have had careers in the journalism industry and now work at Arizona State University. In the book, they offer advice from their own career paths and highlight other women in the field.
The roundtable discussion featured a discussion on the treatment of women journalists throughout their careers. Most in attendance were female students and faculty. With about a dozen people in attendance, many had the chance to speak with Gilger directly.
Gilger described how she and Wallace interviewed working women in the journalism field. To their surprise, they weren’t turned down by any of the 100 subjects they reached out to. Gilger said she believes these women were waiting for someone to ask them what it was like.
“We were asking them very personal questions,” Gilger said. “Not one woman turned us down.”
During the discussion, Gilger shared these women’s stories as a reference point for the disparity between the number of women in entry-level positions versus the number that hold leadership positions. Despite women making up a majority of those enrolled in journalism programs, men still receive 62 percent of bylines and other credits in print, online, TV and wire news according to the Women’s Media Center report “The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2017."
Gilger listed some of the factors that halt women from reaching more prominent roles, including sexual-assault, family life and the fact that women are less likely to ask for a raise than men. “There’s No Crying in Newsrooms,” serves as a guide for the next generation of women reporters who may face the same issues.
“It’s for our students and our daughters who are just getting their careers underway,” Gilger said. “To help them sort of navigate this workplace and help them finish the job we started.”
Gilger said that journalism schools should spend as much time educating students on inclusivity as they do preparing their portfolios and resumes.
“I don’t think we do enough on what kind of gender issues, race issues, inequity issues that are still prevalent in workplaces and how to deal with those,” Gilger said. “That is sort of what surprises people when they get out there.”
“We just need more conversation about that,” she said.