My first major act as a feminist was to ask for the same pay as a male colleague in my first job out of college — as a reporter for the Monroe Morning World in Monroe, La.
He had been hired two weeks after me and had exactly the same amount of professional experience: none.
He was hired at $10 a week more than my salary, which would have been about a 12 percent increase and would have made the difference in whether I could pay my monthly rent with one week’s paycheck.
I got the “raise,” even though my boss seemed incensed that I asked.
My second major feminist act was attending the National Women’s Conference in Houston in 1977. I was the only person I knew who attended and most people I knew thought it was weird that I wanted to go.
I’ve been a feminist since I first saw my father give my mother an allowance and I sensed that his word meant more than hers.
I never advertised my feminism, but I never hid it either. Most women I knew were in favor of “equal rights” in a general way, and we all had fun making our way into the world of work in the 1980s, with our skirt suits and sensible heels.
This post isn’t intended to go over all that, but to say that I’ve noticed lately that it’s quite okay to talk about feminism — not as “equal rights” — but as an everyday part of the social fabric.
I’ve been noticing that for awhile but it’s particularly true with women in the media, who probably avoided labeling themselves for fear of not being neutral or objective.
The uninformed don’t even know that feminism has transformed society and is alive and well.
At the same time, a lot of feminists aren’t satisfied with the current state of affairs and are chagrined that women still face discrimination.
But, I, for one, feel comfortable for the first time in a long, feminist life with regularly identifying myself as a feminist in everyday conversation and action. Sad, perhaps, considering how long I’ve been around, but liberating nonetheless.
If you’re an old-school journalist and the thought of “Pulitzer” and “YouTube” in the same sentence doesn’t jar you a bit, well, then, you’ve become fully digitized. Congratulations!
I must admit this sliver of semantics got my attention when I received the announcement in my in-box of the second Project: Report contest and saw the cash prizes, the corporate sponsorship and the increasing ambition behind it.
While the declining news industry elite cuts staff, frets over business models and loses advertising dollars — Surprise! — innovation and money is flowing in other directions, and at the hands of people whose main concern is not profits, but journalism.
Those people include YouTube executives, the leadership at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and legions of would-be documentary journalists who want to tell stories on which the mainstream media have seemingly given up.
It’s time to turn a new page on a new decade. This is an opportunity that won’t come along again for another 10 years. Instead of making a New Year’s resolution, I’ve been challenging myself to think in terms of decades. When I think back to 2000 I’m astounded at all that has changed in my life.
My children were small, in elementary school. Before the clock struck midnight Dec. 31 my oldest had been accepted to college.
I was floundering in graduate school. As we enter 2010 I have had a doctorate degree for seven years and spent five wonderful years as a professor in journalism.
I was a late bloomer. But I turned out to be a perennial. I got a Ph.D. late in life and decided to pursue a career in academia after spending several decades in journalism.
As it has turned out, I’ve entered the new world of higher education but kept one foot in journalism. I hadn’t planned that, but it’s actually been a blessing.
Even though I sometimes go crazy with my split personality of a life, I think people might actually be jealous, not of me in particular, but of the fact that I get to run around on different playgrounds, playing tag with the athletes, the nerds AND the preps.
(reprinted without permission – but, hey, i wrote it!)
Christmas Chaos: The News Never Stops
Not a Silent Night in Sight Christmas Week as Health Care and Attempted Terrorism Bear Down – Along with a Lot of Snow
- Heavy snow in Washington, DC the week of Christmas, 2009 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
This essay was written by Danna Walker between bouts of chaos on CBS News’ national desk in Washington
While most of the country pauses, at least briefly, in acknowledgement of Christmas Day, the news never stops.
This has been a holiday period particularly full of “breaking news” for that area of the world that comes under the auspices of the Washington News Desk. That’s the official name for the large, horseshoe-shaped cubicle that looks something like the world’s most brightly lit bar on the second floor of the CBS News Washington bureau.
The news-tenders who work there play a key, but generally unheralded role, in the making of what viewers see each day in polished format on The “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric”, “The Early Show” and other CBS News broadcasts.
It all began last Saturday with one of the heaviest snowstorms on record in Washington – a situation that, alone, creates chaos and crisis for the news desk, which must make sure that reporters, producers and crews get to their destinations no matter the weather. Weather, with a capital W, is always a big story in itself. It affects everyone and guarantees an audience.
But this time, we had an additional unrelenting blast of atmospheric pressure – from atop Capitol Hill. The Senate was in around the clock to hash out the final wording on its . That meant last-minute news conferences, live stand-ups, network pool shots live from Capitol corridors, White House statements, and endless blustering, blathering and bloviating from the Senate floor. Er, I mean, it meant lots of news from the hallowed halls of Congress.
It also meant that because my four-wheel drive SUV allowed me to report to my slot on the news desk at 6 a.m. Saturday, I didn’t get to go home until 2 a.m. Monday. Many of my colleagues fared no better, though we did get to sleep across the street at a nice boutique hotel with an appropriately lit bar and a hot bath for the taking. A colleague who got a later ride with a courier in a cargo van brought me a change of clothes from her own closet.