SHEILA S. CORONEL, founding executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and currently director of the Tony Stabile Center for Investigative Reporting in Columbia University, struck a sensitive chord online in the proverbial battle of the sexes with a March 10 blog post titled: “Is investigative reporting dominated by men?”
“It’s true that more and more women are entering journalism now than ever before… In many countries, the journalism profession is being “feminized.” But women in top editorial positions are still a minority. And certainly, while there are a number of high-profile women investigative reporters, their numbers do not overwhelm,” Coronel’s blog reads.
Coronel cited the Women’s Media Center report last month that in 2012, women comprise only 37 percent of the staff of newspapers and account for only about one-third of the supervisory jobs. She goes on to say that the ratio of women in leadership positions in U.S. newsrooms has remained unchanged at about 30 percent since 1999. This, despite the fact that a woman is now at the helm of the one of the enduring newspapers in the U.S.–The New York Times.
According to Coronel, “A quick look at the 100 or so nonprofit investigative reporting centers, funds and associations worldwide shows that the face of watchdog journalism is male.”
However, here in the Philippines, investigative reporting takes on a more feminine face, as Coronel points out the experience of Filipino women at the height of then-strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ imposition of Martial Law.
“Many of the male journalists at that time had sold their souls to Marcos and spent the evenings after work drowning their torments at the bar of the press club. They were hardly role models. The women, on the other hand, were irreverent and feisty. They played a cat-and-mouse game with the censors,” Coronel writes in her later blog post, “Ensuring a place for women.”
For more on the latest trends in investigative reporting and insights from Sheila Coronel, check out her blog at http://watchdog-watcher.com/.
Coronel’s blog site also offers tips on investigative reporting and a comprehensive collection of the investigative reporting network of resources.