Abbey Ideas Forum: Women in the Media

Thank you to everyone who attended our Roundtable on Women in Media with Adele Horin on Wednesday 28 August 2015.

Adele raised some interesting points about the new media landscape and what it means for women.

At the advent of the digital age, there was hope that we would see a greater diversity of voices since the cost of publishing online was so low. But does the proliferation of websites run by women indicate a shift in power or, Adele asked, is it just a new version of newspapers’ “women’s pages” where she started her journalism career? There is a tendency to label issues on these sites as “soft” issues, even though they effect a majority of the population. Are we marginalising or ghetto-ising women’s voices?

She pointed out that good in depth journalism still costs a lot of money, and few online contributors get paid properly for their work. The Hoopla tried it and couldn’t make it work.

Power still resides with old media, and in the editorial suites of these organisations, there is a still a strongly male hierarchy. Women are 70% of journalism graduates and outnumber men in the industry, but senior journalists, editors and managers are still primarily men. We need to work harder translating the high numbers of women in the industry into power positions.

Thanks to everyone who attended. It was a really interesting and lively discussion. And thanks once again to Maddocks Lawyers for hosting us in their boardroom.