The Great Debate UK
Linda Kay is a former sportswriter with the Chicago Tribune (and the first woman to write sports for the paper), an associate professor and chair of the journalism department at Concordia University in Montreal. She is author of a forthcoming book called “The Sweet Sixteen” about a group of groundbreaking women journalists in Canada. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting a live blog on March 8, 2011, to mark International Women’s Day.
My students are often surprised to learn that one hundred years ago, women were working as journalists in Canada. According to the 1911 census, some 70 women across the country were categorized as “journalists, editors and reporters.”
It was an exclusive group that had grown incrementally since 1886, when Sara Jeannette Duncan became the first woman hired by a newspaper in Canada. These early female journalists were extremely talented; to earn a vaunted position on a daily newspaper, they had to be, as they were invariably the only female employed by the paper.
Hired for their literary ability, many were published poets, writers of fiction, or noted essayists. They were hired specifically to write and edit the “Woman’s Page” of the newspaper. The “Woman’s Page” had become a staple on mass circulation newspapers by the end of the 1800s.
- Brian Cathcart is professor of journalism at Kingston University and was specialist adviser to the Select Committee inquiry. The opinion expressed are his own.
What next for the Press Complaints Commission? One thing is certain: most of the editors and proprietors who hold the real power at the commission will do everything they can to limit or prevent reform. If it is left to them, nothing will change.