My Wednesday wanna-read this week is about a topic near and dear to my heart: women in the media.
The News Sorority by Sheila Weller is a look at Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour and Diane Sawyer and how they came to be the household names they are.
As a woman who has aspired to be in the media, I looked up to Diane Sawyer as a young girl. I read a biography of her in elementary school and dressed up as her for a report.
As I got older, watching women like Sawyer and Amanpour on TV reporting (and oftentimes beating their male counterparts to) huge stories was inspiring. I felt like the glass ceiling had been shattered and if I wanted to be in the media, I could be.
I am in the media now and the glass ceiling may be cracked, but it certainly isn’t shattered. Until female journalists are taken as seriously as their male counterparts are and given the same level of respect, the ceiling is just cracking.
All three of these women broke into the big-time of the news around the same time and all are now winding down their careers. There really isn’t a new crop of women rising to take their place in the same way. I believe this is in part due to the rise of cable news networks and their draw. Women can easily get jobs on television where they can also provide commentary instead of just straight news.
I met Soledad O’Brien when I was in college. She spoke at my university and in a small group session before her talk, she discussed her vision for a documentary series she was working on at the time for CNN. (We also traded stories about our similar knee injuries…) She talked about wanting to be able to tell stories about things that related to her and she knew would relate to other women like her.
That’s why we all want to be in media. To tell stories that matter. Sometimes, however, the only thing that matters is ratings and O’Brien left CNN shortly after.
I hope the News Sorority will be a good read that provides insight on a topic that means so much to me.