Journalists highlight women's issues
By Jennifer Spike and Crystal L. Huggins
Two prominent area journalists urged aspiring women journalists to
speak up and take the initiative to move up the ladder in the newsroom.
Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes, said Plain Dealer
columnist Connie Schultz during a discussion on Women in the Media
on Oct. 24 at Drinko Hall.
Kim Wheeler, WKYC reporter and news anchor, said people should value
women journalists based on the quality of their stories and experience,
and not on their looks. Wheeler is the winner of a Cleveland Emmy for
the best news anchor.
Both women recalled the challenges they faced at the early stages of
Schultz, who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary writing and
whose column is now nationally syndicated, recalled a pivotal moment
in her career.
When she became a full-time reporter after working for 15 years as a
freelancer, her boss at the time embarrassed her in front of her colleagues.
After telling her how to do her job, she responded loudly, Just
so were clear, this is not my job, this is my career.
Wheeler, who recently won a local Emmy for best news anchor, recalled
getting pats on the head and being called sweetie by men
during her days as a young reporter in Bluefield, WV. She had to remind
them that she was a professional and to be treated with respect.
Schultz shared the experiences of growing up as a young woman in her
generation. I was raised that women should listen, she said.
In retrospect, she believes that her ability to listen well has made
her a good journalist.
CSU student Linda Hart agreed.
As an older student at CSU, I was raised in the same generation
as Connie, Hart said. We were raised as women not to speak
up. I liked the fact that Connie really believed in women representing
After years in the industry, both journalists knew that they have gained
wisdom and have grown as professionals, but as a whole, they agreed
that there is still room for growth in a womans role in the media.
Schultz said she would like to see more women covering politics. She
would also like to see more opinion pieces from women writers.
Wheeler added that she wants women journalists in television to be judged
based on their integrity and credibility rather than on their appearance.
Wheeler explained the challenges of being a female television reporter.
Looking nice in the business is a double edge sword, she
said. Sometimes, I feel like I get more calls about where I get
my haircut rather than on education stories.
According to Wheeler, image is still a big part of the business, which
is frustrating. Experience should be valued, she said.
Dr. Edward Horowitz, an associate professor with the School of Communication
who attended the discussion, agreed with Wheeler on the idea of how
women are portrayed in the media. Its sad to hear about
the sexism that still goes on in the business. Its unfortunate,
but still practiced. Hopefully one day in the future, women will be
respected for their journalistic ability and not based on their looks,
Schultz and Wheeler said there are still roadblocks for women even though
womens role in the media has come a long way.
Schultz also stressed the importance of women such as herself and Wheeler
to lead the way and set examples.
If we dont carry as we climb, the only legacy that we will
have is that we made it, and thats just not good enough,
The event was organized by the CSU Student Chapter of the Society of
Schultz and Kim Wheeler,
Alongside Schultz sat WKYC reporter and news anchor Kim Wheeler as they
talked about the changes in womens role in the media and discussed
their personal experiences as successful female journalists.
CSU students, faculty and staff filled the seats of Drinko Hall to
gain insight on Women in Media, a panel discussion on Oct.
24, hosted by the Cleveland State Student chapter of the Society of
Professional Journalists in an effort to promote diversity in journalism.