The media has [sic] a woman problem

The media has [sic] a woman problem

[Ed. – A subject-verb agreement problem, too]

They were, to a man, men. All were white; all in their 40s or thereabouts; most had dark hair. It was the mid-1990s, and I was interviewing at The Washington Post for the job of managing editor of the Sunday magazine. A morning of intimidating meetings with newsroom officials had given way to lunch with the magazine’s editors and elite staff writers.

Later, when these men became my friends and colleagues, I would realize they looked nothing alike. But at that moment, overwhelmed and self-conscious about not only my gender but also my credentials — I was working at an alternative weekly, in an era when free content was considered inferior and slightly seedy — my interlocutors appeared as one indistinguishable blur. As I answered questions about my philosophy of journalism, I worked to keep one fact straight: Who among them was named Peter (two were), and who was not?

It’s been 20 years, but things haven’t changed as much as we might expect. A new report by the Women’s Media Center found that male reporters still accounted for 63 percent of bylines in the nation’s top 10 papers and about the same proportion of newsroom staff. All but one of the individual winners of Pulitzer Prizes in journalism this year were male.

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