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Friday, May 9, 2014

My Story: Intersecting Feminism and Journalism

I am participating in Diane DeBella’s #iamsubject project Here is my #iamsubject story.

By Katrina Cameron

I am extremely passionate about two things that don't always play nicely with each other or conventionally go hand-in-hand: feminism and journalism. 

I discovered my admiration for both feminism and journalism at when I was a little girl. My family, friends and teachers always thought I was just an outspoken little tomboy who loved to write. It took several years for me to discover that this was just the beginning of my story as a feminist journalist.

That passion was ignited inside me as I realized that little girls and little boys weren't given equal treatment in grade school. That same passion was ignited as I realized how much I loved newspapers after developing a pattern of reading the Sunday paper. 

Today, I intersect my passion for journalism and feminism now more than ever. I've spent my final semester of my undergraduate collegiate life as the editor-in-chief at The Orion, an award-winning student news publication at California State University, Chico, and as an intern coordinator at the Associated Students Gender and Sexuality Equity Center

I really believe that journalism needs feminism. Why? Because there will always be room for improvement. Women are still massively underrepresented in the journalism field. 

The Women's Media Center's 2014 Status of Women in U.S. Media Report stated that women comprised 36 percent of newsroom staffs. That figure has been the same since 1999. That startling, but not surprising, statistic has not changed since I was 8 years old.

It also upsets me to discover that the 2012 Byline Survey Report found that women journalists write more articles on subjects that women have traditionally written about, such as gender, food, family and style. Although these topics are important to report on, it's frustrating to know that far less women are writing about "general" news topics like economy, international politics, social activism and security.

Source: 2012 Byline Survey Report

I've always wanted to be a news reporter so I could utilize my reporting and storytelling skills to tell the stories of people who remain voiceless by the inequities presented by a patriarchal society. However, I'm consistently reminded how "dangerous" it is for a woman whenever I tell people that I want to travel the world and report on the inequities that people endure. Unfortunately, the International News Safety Institute shows that about 64 percent of women have reported facing threats, abuse and intimidation related to their work. 

Journalism needs feminism because women like me are done being told that "real journalism" isn't for women or that it is "too dangerous" for women. Journalism needs feminism because women should feel safe in all workplaces. 

One of my many goals in life is to help other women who identify as journalists, feminists and activists find their way of intersecting all of their passions into one. I know it has been extremely difficult for me at times, but I know that my story will help pave the way for other feminist journalists. 

As I prepare for my life as a bachelor's degree-holding graduate, I can not wait for the opportunities the future may present me as a journalist. I can not wait to make strides towards changing journalism for all women. As a feminist journalist, I know that I can make the journalism world more fair for women.