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New Book Captures Rise of Women Leaders in News

July 5, 2019
There's No Crying in Newsrooms

Cronkite Senior Associate Dean Kristin Gilger (left) and Julia Wallace (right), Frank Chair in the Business of Journalism at Cronkite, are on tour this fall to promote their new book, "There's No Crying in Newsrooms."

A new book by two Arizona State University professors chronicles the rise of women in America’s newsrooms and lessons about what it takes to lead in a traditionally male-dominated industry that has been rocked by the #MeToo movement.

“There’s No Crying in Newsrooms: What Women Have Learned about What It Takes to Lead” is being released today by Rowman & Littlefield publishing company. The book combines history, narrative storytelling and management advice, written by two women who were themselves pioneering newsroom leaders.

Kristin Gilger served in various editing roles at newspapers in Louisiana, Oregon and Arizona before coming to ASU, where she is senior associate dean and Reynolds Professor in Business Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Her co-author, Julia Wallace, the Frank Russell Chair in the Business of Journalism at Cronkite, was the first female editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and also served in top editing roles at USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times and The Arizona Republic.

The two interviewed nearly 100 women about their experiences as they moved into the management ranks of newsrooms. The book includes interviews with Christiane Amanpour, Nina Totenberg, Judy Woodruff and other household names, but many of the women featured work behind the scenes, running newsrooms and making news decisions for the nation’s largest newspapers, network television, public radio and digital news outlets.

Some started at a time when women were largely relegated to jobs as editorial assistants, fact checkers and news secretaries, yet managed to rise to top editorial positions.

“We tell the story of Marcy McGinnis at CBS, who started out as a secretary serving Dan Rather coffee and eventually became his boss and the number two person at CBS News,” Wallace said. “She and the many women who broke down barriers in newsrooms have remarkable stories to tell about what it took for them to get ahead.”

Women entering newsrooms – or any organization dominated by men – still face many of the same challenges today, Gilger said. They struggle to find acceptable leadership styles, balance work and family, navigate workplace culture and ward off sexual harassment. “It’s remarkable how many of these issues are just as prevalent today as they were when Julia and I were coming up in newsrooms,” she said.

At the end of each chapter, the authors draw lessons from the experiences of the women they interviewed and offer some of their own experiences and perspective. “We wanted to offer a bridge between the generations,” Gilger said. “There is much that these pioneering women have to offer to young women who are just beginning their careers.”

In the foreword to the book, Campbell Brown, head of global news partnerships at Facebook and a former reporter and anchor at CNN and NBC, writes, “Over the past four decades, scores of women have walked into newsrooms only to find they were unwanted and unsupported and, still, they worked their way to the top. Until now, their stories have gone largely unreported. There’s No Crying in Newsrooms captures the voices of these funny, strong, and brash women who learned—often the hard way—exactly what it takes for women to lead, not just in the news business, but in any business.”

Gilger and Wallace will be doing a promotional tour this fall, visiting universities around the country to talk about the book. They also will make appearances at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., at several journalism and women’s leadership conferences, and at independent bookstores.

In Phoenix, public events are scheduled for:

  • Must See Mondays lecture series, First Amendment Forum, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix Campus, Monday, Aug. 26, 7-8 p.m.
  • Changing Hands Bookstore book talk and signing, 300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 6 p.m. reception and 7 p.m. talk

The remainder of the schedule includes:

  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Toronto, Aug. 8
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Sept. 9
  • West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, Sept. 11
  • Temple University, Philadelphia, Sept. 12
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, Sept. 17
  • University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Sept. 26
  • Lead On! Women in Communication Leadership Forum, Los Angeles, Sept. 27
  • Arizona Newspaper Association Convention, Chandler, Arizona, Sept. 28
  • The Newseum, Washington, D.C., Oct. 2
  • American University, Washington, D.C., Oct. 3
  • University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, Oct. 4
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, Oct. 10
  • Oshner Lifelong Learning Institute, Lincoln, Nebraska, Oct. 10
  • Bookworm bookstore, Omaha, Neb., 6 p.m., Oct. 11
  • Nebraska Press Women conference, Fremont, Nebraska, Oct. 12
  • Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Oct. 22
  • University of California, Berkeley, California, Oct. 24
  • Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, Oct. 30
  • Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Jan. 30, 2020

Schedule updates will be posted at https://www.nocryinginnewsrooms.com/.