CHICAGO: The gender gap in election coverage is reinforced in all major news outlets and is one more example highlighting the need for women and minorities who are journalists, scholars, advocates and individuals to express specific expertise in order to enrich the public conversation with timely commentary and insight. This is the goal of The OpEd Project, returning to Chicago Oct. 13 with a public core seminar and also this fall for separate initiatives at two prominent area universities.
With its partner, the Medill School at Northwestern University, the Level I day-long seminar led by Michele Weldon, author, journalist and assistant professor at Medill, and Deborah Siegel, Midwest Regional Director, author and journalist, focuses on connecting, empowering, and assisting women and minorities to participate as thought leaders in the public media conversation.
This October seminar coincides with the ambitious fall launch in the Chicago area with Public Voices Fellowship programs beginning at Northwestern and DePaul universities for selected faculty. This national initiative from The OpEd Project is in place with programs at Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Emory, Dartmouth, Fordham and Texas Women's universities. The goal is to empower women and under-represented minority experts as thought leaders whose ideas not only shape their fields, but also the important public conversations of our age. The critical need for such a program is backed by new data.
In its recent groundbreaking research on gender and voice in media, Who Narrates the World?, The OpEd Project Byline Survey evaluated more than 7,000 articles in 10 media outlets over 12-weeks from 9/15/11 to 12/7/11, categorizing articles by media type. The results show that only 20 percent of opinion pieces in traditional media such as the New York Times are written by women, with 33 percent female bylines in media such as the Huffington Post and 38 percent female bylines in college media.
Much has improved since an initial review in 2005, but commentary on the findings in the Columbia Journalism Review, Poynter, the Atlantic, theGuardian, Chicago Tribune and more applaud the need to add different voices and points of view to the larger public discourse. With more than 5,000 alums of The OpEd Project since 2008, the percentages of female bylines in some outlets increased up to 40 percent, in large part due to the efforts of the project. But more change is needed and The OpEd Project continues its training, particularly important at this critical pre-election juncture.
DATE: October 13, 2012
TIME: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (followed by a Happy Hour at Elephant & Castle, 111 W. Adams)
Medill School at Northwestern University, 105 West Adams, Suite 200, Chicago, Illinois 60603
Ends October 3: $345
Regular Registration: $425