The future is female

“My prediction is not solely that media leadership will be feminized, but that news itself will take on a new, more feminine, tone.”

Among the predictions published in this series last year, none proved more prescient than Rachel Sklar’s “Women are Going to Get Loud.” It’s as if Rachel got an advance copy of Time’s Person of the Year issue — really advance.

The #MeToo movement has been an efficient juggernaut, blasting open decades of workplace hostility and harassment, and nowhere has it gotten more attention than in the field of media. (So much for “report the story, don’t become the story.”) Certainly, media is not the only industry so plagued by misogyny — there are others where it’s even more widespread. Nonetheless, it’s the media’s job to expose these outbreaks and it can’t even begin to help in that regard until it puts on its own oxygen mask.

The main consequences of this reckoning have been terminations, resignations, leaves of absence. And so it happens that there are suddenly a whole lot of vacancies in leadership roles across many media organizations. Already we’re seeing some of these roles filled by women. Expect that trend to accelerate and expand. There’s a surfeit of female talent that’s been sitting too long on the bench.

It never made sense for journalism to skew so heavily male at its highest ranks for so long. Media corporations can’t say with a straight face that it’s a “pipeline problem” with regards to women eager to study, work, and lead in journalism, as technology titans feebly do. According to Poynter, journalism schools award diplomas to women at a more than 2 to 1 ratio. Per ASNE, that ratio somehow flips in terms of newsroom supervisory roles, with women comprising only 37 percent. Media is storytelling, communication, information dissemination…we’re not talking about the defense industry or investment banking. These are skills women have long been stereotyped for having mastered — and yet, haven’t yet been deemed authoritative enough in to be awarded a mantle of leadership. Isn’t it ironic?

That all ends next year. My prediction is not solely that media leadership will be feminized, but that news itself will take on a new, more feminine, tone. No, this doesn’t mean more articles on weight loss and beauty trends. Instead, it means that women will be seen as reliable sources and the sexism embedded into articles about women’s issues and female public figures (“Who were they wearing?”) won’t make it past first edit. It also means we can expect newsroom resources dedicated to uncovering stories of other underserved and underreported communities. This means we can expect more two-way communication between storytellers and readers — something more authentic and constructive than a comments section.

I expect the female media takeover will bring also bring a novel remedy to the phenomenon of so-called fake news and the overall stratification of media along ideological lines. Don’t ask me how I know — it’s just my woman’s intuition. 2017 wasn’t pretty for our industry, but there’s hope for 2018. This time next year, “content is queen” will roll right off the tongue.

Jennifer Coogan is chief content officer of Newsela.

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Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

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Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

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Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

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Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

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L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

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C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

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Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

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Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

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Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

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Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

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Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

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Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Dan Newman   A return to trust

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Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

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Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

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Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

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Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

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Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

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Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

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Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

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Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

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Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

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Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

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Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

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Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

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Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

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Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The Snapchat scenario and the risk of more closed platforms

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

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Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Paul Ford   Go global

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Jake Levine   The return to now

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Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

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Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

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