Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Thin ranks of top women editors get thinner

The upcoming exit of two of the longest-serving female editors-in-chief in the country will leave only two women leading newsrooms among the 25 largest newspapers.

The already thin ranks of top women editors will be depleted at year’s end by the departure of Sandra Rowe at the Portland Oregonian (the 22nd largest paper by circulation) and Karin Winner at the San Diego Union-Tribune (the 24th largest paper).

When the veteran editors step down, the only women left to run newsrooms among the top 25 papers will be Nancy Barnes of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (the 14th largest paper) and Susan Goldberg of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (the 18th largest paper).

The Oregonian has named a man as Rowe’s successor and the U-T is searching for a replacement, leaving the possibility that the vacancy in San Diego could be filled by a woman.

Winner resigned her position last week and Rowe announced her departure yesterday – the same day Janet Coats said she is leaving the Tampa Tribune, the 55th largest paper in the country.

While women hold a number of senior positions at every major paper in the country, a quick census of the 50 largest papers found only four other women running newsrooms in addition to Barnes and Goldberg.

Thus, the percentage of women editors at the top 50 papers is 12%, a mere quarter of the distribution of females in the population as a whole.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like beaten up Tiger Woods, I am just going to lie here bloodied on the ground and pretend to be asleep, rather than respond seriously to this posting.

7:36 AM  
Blogger K said...

When I first saw the title of this entry, I thought it had something to do with the weight of female editors. Guess not. lol

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Mandy J said...

Real mature, guys.

Anyway, this is a sad move for the industry, especially considering how out of whack the ratio is of women employees to women in EIC roles industry-wide.

I'm a female journalist in my 20s and that used to be my end goal. Now I seriously doubt any of us will be in the newspaper industry long enough to work our way that high.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Michele McLellan said...

I agree that the number of women leading big newspapers should be higher. But don't forget Julia D. Wallace at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post only hints at what is happening in the top ranks of newspapers. As the Portland paper's editor Rowe indicated in her resignation letter, corporations are now turning attention to thinning the top ranks of newspapers. I know of another chain that is eliminating the post of managing editor.
This is long overrdue IMO and should have happened at the beginning of this recession. But it isn't getting the attention given layoffs in the reporting rank and file because management isn't represented by unions and other interest groups publicizing what is happening.
This flattening of management is particularly hard on women and minorities. Many male-run newspapers have picked women as their second-in-command, and those jobs are now being targeted.
What seems clear to me is that we are going from the rigid dead-tree management tree of editor, executive editor, managing editor, AME, etc., to a more collaberative management. The collaborative approach fits more into the Web-based operations where speed rules and unedited copy is posted.
I am in favor of this change. Cautious and conservative newspaper management has led to the economic plight newspapers face. Many of these senior positions have become sinecures held by middle aged placeholders unfamiliar and uninterested in new technologies or of new ways of doing things.
Cleaning out these office warrens will create a new more agile newspaper operation and open up newssrooms for new ideas they desparately need.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Mick Gregory said...

Women from media are able to jump to more promising businesses. This is a good sign that they are smart enough to see the light and leave the deadend newspaper field.

Aging male "executive editors" will fight to the finish to hang on to their titles and dwindling pay checks.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Kwame S. said...

An interesting note to keep:

Minorities, in general, hold a very thin cross-section in the newspaper/magazine industry. It seems print journalism remains an occupation suited best for the white male.

Can you believe that?

Most journalist/editors of color and women won't find any news in this piece on an obvious factoid non-white-male journalists know immediately exiting j-school.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Sharon from Indy said...

Are we willing to give up journalism ethics and professional standards for today's technology?

Community newspapers owned by large syndication companies are also losing women in high ranking positions.

9:29 AM  

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