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Women leading Canadian media companies see opportunities opening

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Another reason it matters to have women in charge in a newsroom might be obvious, but needs to be repeated: it matters whose stories are being told, and how.

Megan Kamerick TedX Talk: "Women should represent women in media" in video below.

A screening of MissRepresentation, a documentary about media portrayals of women, in October 2011 spurred the VO to start the Feminista blog. The young women writers of Feminista examine media portrayals of women and girls with a mix of humour and intelligence.

"Women are only 24 per cent of news subjects across all media. This is completely unacceptable given the fact that women make up 51 per cent of our population," said Amy Zucchero, campaign director of MissRepresenation, to the Vancouver Observer. "In order to truly shift the landscape for women and girls we need to start with media outlets-- we must shed a light on the issues of women's representation in the media and champion women by giving them a platform to share their perspectives and stories."

MissRepresentation trailer below

More women in charge means more kick ass journalism

In a liveblog about women in newsrooms at the 2012 Canadian Association of Journalists annual conference, Patricia Graham, vice-president digital at Pacific Newspaper Group emphasized that women have come a very long way in the field.

"I have a problem with the language that women have to choose to have a career or family, but this is something we fought for," she said. "My mother never had this choice. It is important that we have the right to choose." 

Many women in media at all levels can relate to this sentiment, including the Vancouver Observer's Linda Solomon, a journalist turned entrepreneur. 

Solomon started the Vancouver Observer in 2006 from her living room with 11 aspiring writers contributing content in exchange for mentoring and editorial input on their writing. There was no investor or big plan other than to create a platform that could showcase a wide swath of the city's best writers. The idea evolved into "arming writers with new tools, helping them to leverage multimedia forms and formats to meet the velocity of our interconnectedness with genuine participation," Solomon said.

Originally from the United States, Solomon started her career in journalism at the Tennessean, where her mentor was prominent American journalist and publisher John Seigenthaler.

"John Seigenthaler exemplified the ways in which reporters can really have impact as public servants," Solomon recalled during her acceptance speech at the CJF awards. "And he instilled in me the idea that good reporting and investigative journalism can help make a positive difference in peoples' lives."

Solomon has since followed through on her experiences as the owner, publisher, and editor-in-chief of an award-winning news organization. All this, and she is a mother of two.

"Now," she said, "our big idea is great journalism carried out courageously and with uncompromising integrity, arming the choir with the tools of change."

So, will the newsrooms of tomorrow will see more women at the very top?

I don't know the answer to that. I do know that women are already in charge of their own online newsrooms today, and that is likely to open doors for more women in the future.

And, please...let's not forget Arianna.

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