From the shifting media industry that enlists fewer people who do more for less money to implicit biases that plague workplaces across the U.S., some women in journalism are still trying to navigate disparities in the industry affected by gender.
In a panel titled Closing the Newsroom Gender Pay and Leadership Gaps, author Jill Geisler warned female journalists against taking on extra work for no additional pay, such as serving on committees for diversity.
“My mantra is don’t do invisible work,” Geisler said. “That doesn’t mean ‘don’t do it;’ it means make certain that you report back to someone.”
Geisler, along with Sonya Quick, digital editor of Orange Coast; Juliet Murphy, an author and motivational student; Michelle Philo, corporate counsel at Adtile Technologies; and Alan Gibbons, OC editor-in-chief, discussed some male managers’ predisposition to labeling women who ask for a raise as “greedy” or “selfish.”
Panelists also touched on job hunters’ uneasiness navigating price negotiation.
Murphy said by the time price negotiations begin, then the interviewee’s job has already been fulfilled, and the interviewer will try his or her best to accommodate the new hire as much as possible.
“I will try my darnedest to get that person because this is like a true love relationship,” Murphy said. “At that point, you’ve found the one and you want the person.”
Richard Chacón, executive news content director for WBUR in Boston, said he’s seen numerous job applicants underestimate their value as reporters in negotiations.
“Don’t give them the opportunity to come down from what they’re thinking of paying you for that salary,” he said.
Women are faced with issues such as navigating maternity leave, vying for promotions and scrounging for raises, sometimes coping with intimidation from older men.
Paired with that, Geisler said, the shrinking industry has weakened the possibility for journalists to remain in a steady job — a fact she described as a “double whammy. Instead, she said, management should offer opportunities for their employees to build an impressive résumé.
“A good manager who can’t give you money is going to give you feedback, training — all of those skills, and know that you may leave,” Geisler said.
The panel also touched on issues young female journalists face while searching for a newsroom job or standing up for themselves in their first job.
Geisler said young journalists are, for once, able to stand out because they are more well-versed in digital media.
“You used to be a junior version of what everybody in the newsroom knew, and that didn’t make you very valuable,” she said. “You’ll be more valuable for the gifts you bring.”
However, although the draw of a new career may be tempting, Raquel Maria Dillon, a digital producer with KALW in Oakland, Calif., said younger journalists should not be afraid to utilize company resources and ask for reimbursement on gas mileage.
“I’ve worked with young women who don’t file for mileage,” Dillon said, “and I feel that’s like leaving mileage on the floor. Unless it’s your passion project, you should be filing for that kind of small stuff.”
Dillon also urged younger journalists to avoid making their “hustle” look “effortless.”
“Make sure that people know how many hours you’re putting in,” she said.
Chacón noted that he’s noticed young print reporters sell themselves short while representing themselves.
“They don’t fully recognize what they’re bringing to the table, especially if they don’t come from diverse backgrounds,” he said. “They sort of just underestimate themselves and what they’re bringing to the newsroom and to the organization.”