Thursday, March 31, 2011

Norwegian media are surprised by the difference between Norway and Sweden in the Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media. Norway only has 35 per cent women on middle management in the news rooms compared to 49 per cent in Sweden. The same thing goes with senior journalists.
As a regional coordinator of the study I commented it on the Norwegian national radio, NRK Kulturnytt, this morning March 31st.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Watch & listen to the opening panel

The opening panel of the IWMF conference can be found on here.
During the coming week I will add on photos and relevant links for the different parts of the program.
The panel of male power players can be found here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

An historical moment

All the IWMF delegetas rasied their hand in favour for the principles of creating a Declaration of Gender Equity in News Media. The regions are now to decide on what will be their main goals when they go back home. Female editors can change the world and that is what they are doing it right now.

Thank you IWMF!

It is time to thank IWMF for the fantastic initiative! Here are some of the fantastic women who made it all possible.

Proud of FOJO

"I have been to FOJO!" That is a common quote from the delegates from the developing countries. Obviosoly the Swedish training center for journalists FOJO is making a diffeence. There are obviously many great forces out there.

"A life changing experience"

Many delegates at the IWMF Conference on Women Media Leaders are talking about these days as a life changing experience. Others talk about the energy they are getting from their fellow collegues. Cards are exchanged and pictures are taken as the delegates are preparing for the closing session.

A final day for new visions.

This conference really is about pioneering change. Many of the managers, editors and publishers here are the first woman at their position in their company.

Through out the conversations it has also become clear that the daily lives of journalists are so different, depending on where you are in the world. I some countries being a woman is much more challenging than in others.

Achieving gender equality can never be a cause only for women. But it helps if women gets their voices heard - even as Women Leaders. Today we will see if the delegates can reach another level.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The daily life of a female Managing Editor in Kenya

Catherine Gicheru, Managing Editor over 150 reporters at The Star, Kenya gives her daily routines:

4.30 am: Wake up. Cook special diabetes breakfast for her mother, cooking breakfast for her sister who has a heart problem and fix lunch to go for the sister.

5.30 am: Wake up the children. Catherine has two children of her own at the age of 24 , & 17 , she also the take caretaker of the three children of a deceased sister in the age 21, 16 and 12.

6.45 am: Arriving at the office

8.30 pm: Leaving the office networking and meeting with contacts

11.00 pm: Arriving at home

Weekend tasks. Shopping food for the week to come. Washing the 15 dogs. Making the kids go to church - even when she is working Sundays. Catherine is on duty every other weekend, then will go to the mosque on Friday instead of the church on Sunday. "It is important that there is something more than me."

Male power players want to close the gender gap

Today was the day for the men to step forward and talk about why it is important to close the gender gap and why journalism has an important role to play for democracy. “The only hope for change is through the media.” said philanthropist Howard G. Buffet from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. He even thought that advocacy journalism could have its place concerning these issues. Editor-in Chief and Co-founder of Bloomberg News, Matt Winkler agreed on that, in terms of journalists duty to cover the great challenges is society. At the same time journalism need more than ever to be accurate, credible and accountable.

Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen talked about objectivity vs transparency and he thought that the latter will be the key for future journalism. He also hoped that technology might solve some of problems with inaccurate facts on the web as well as coming up with business models that will make local journalism more profitable.

All three men were quite optimistic about the future. " I am a believer", said Howard G Buffett who also said that his foundation will do more on these issues, especially on an international level.

Watch and listen to the panel here.

Lucky owner of a print copy - reposted

The print version of the Global Report on the Status of Women in News Media already seem to be hard to get. As a regional coordinator in the study I was lucky to get a copy the fist morning. The principal investigator, professor Carolyn M Byerly, only got a copy after insisting on it. Rosemary Okello Orlale, the Executive Director of African Women and Child Feature service and a regional coordinator had the same experience. Now we have been guests at the conferences with no voice. Still very exiting to take part of the conversation among all these great female editors.
Picture: Principal investigator Carolyn Byerly with a print copy of the report.

Natalia Koliada from the Belarus Free Theatre is taking part of the IMWF conference. Listen to this IMWF interview with her about the critical situation in Belarus, its connection to Libya and how Harold Pinter connects to her work.
Several of her friends are imprisoned. She managed to leave Belarus with her family in December and has now been on on the road for three months. Next week the theatre group is performing in London.

Who makes the news?

Only 24 per cent of the people heard or read about in print, radio and television news are women. That is a result of the 2010 report Who makes the news? For the fourth time the Global Media Monitoring Project, GMMP, has delivered useful data for discussion.
The first report was published in 1995 for the UN Beijing Conference on Women where "Women and Media" became a special section, Section J, in the Platform for Action.
In the last study 1,281 newspapers, radiostations and television were monitored during the same day in 108 countries. A total of 16,734 news items were analysed. For the first time internet news were also monitored. Read the highlights or the full report. The GMMP report also includes a Roadmap to Accelerate Progress that might be useful for the IWMF delegates here in DC - if they are aware of the report.
So now we have two Global reports; one on the Status of Women in the News Media and one on News Content. How about combining the two to deepen the discussion?

From the website:
"The GMMP is the largest and longest longitudinal study on gender in the world’s news media. It is also the largest advocacy initiative in the world on changing gender representation in the media. It is unique in involving participants ranging from grassroots community organizations to university students and researchers to media practitioners, all of whom participate on a voluntary basis."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Parental leave or maternity leave?

Several discussions on the conference is about the social situation for female journalists. Children still seem to be a women's issue in many parts of the world. I can't help being proud of the Nordic Model with a parental leave instead of maternity leave with mandatory fathers leave. Children is a responsibility for both parents, regardless of gender.

Proud Nordic group: Swedish conference guest Maria Edstrom (me), Icelandic delegate Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, deputy editor of Fréttabladid and Norwegian Kjersti Sortland, managing editor of Verdens Gang.

Listen to Diane Sawyer

The American icon, Diane Sawyer, new anchor of ABC World News, was interviewed last night in the Kalb Report on the theme "A life in news". She made some interesting optimistic statements on the future of journalism, that journalist around the globe will be able to work "arm in arm", thanks to social media and new technology.
Sawyer is now a role model for many american journalism students. Sawyers own role model was her mother. Listen to the interview at

There is two of us

There are two of us here. Rosemary Okello Orale and me, Maria Edstrom, are two out of 17 regional coordinators of the Global report on the Status of Women in the News Media.We are very proud to take part of the conference ad listen to how the final results might create a baseline for discussions.

"There is nothing that is not about us"

Countries are more peaceful and prosperous where there is a high level of gender equality. That was something emphazied by Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-large for Global Women's Issues at the president Barack Obamas administration. " Investing in women gives extra ordinary pay offs for all society" she said. Verveer pointed out the key role for (female) journalist to tell women's stories such as The city of Joy in Congo where women can regain dignity and possibilities after being raped and then go back to empower their communities.

She saluted IWMF for global report "It mirrors so many other studies." Verveeer also pointed out that no where is the gender gap closed. The full speech can be found here.

Leadership, measures and accountability

Without a conscious leadership there will be no gender equality in the news rooms. That was one of the conclusions of the first panels at the IWMF conference.

But the panel also made visual proof of the distant positions of female editors. From the Peru's Silvia Miró Quesada from El Commercio who preferred to talk about "meritocracy rather than democracy" to German Editor-in-Chief Ines Pohl from Die Tageszeitung, who believed in firm quotas on all levels. " In Die Tageszeitung there has to be a women on the front page every day. " It is possible" says Ines Pohl.

In the picture the morning panel: Jennifer McGuire, Canada CBC Editor-in-Chief, Ines Pohl, Germany, Editor-in-Chief, Die Tageszeitung, Carolyn M Byerly, princial investigator , Katty Kay, BBC World News, Barbara Kaija, Uganda, Editor-in-Chief, the New Vision, Silvia Miró Quesada Peru, Editorial consulting council El Commercio and Kjersti Sortland, Norway, Managing editor, Verdens Gang.

Link to the full conversation

Three projects gets Global Digital News Frontier grants

From the left:
Maria Balinska, Jeanne Pinder and Lissa Harris & Julia Reischel

Three American digital projects run by women gets a 20 000 dollar grant each to develop their news businesses on the web. is run by former New York Times editor Jeanne Pinder. She is hoping to use a combination of databases, crowd sourcing and journalism to help Americans to get a grip on their health costs. A beta version of her project can be found here.

Latitude is run by former BBC editor and producer Maria Balinska. She aims to find new ways to talk about international issues with an American audience/user. The site will be launched in May. Until then, read more on Latitude News.

NewsShed is a spin off from a local web site The Watershed Post run by Julia Reischel and Lissa Harris. The aim is to increase the amount of web based local journalism. read more on te project NewsShed - Sustainable Local News in Rural "News Deserts"

In a press release the IWMF Advisory Committee Chairman Merrill Brown says “Each of the winners offers an innovative way to deliver the news, and they are truly at the forefront of the digital media frontier.” The IWMF Global Digital News Frontier grants is funded by the Ford Foundation. For more info go to the IWMF website

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The discussion has started

It is an impressing group of editors meeting up at the IWMF conference. 80 delegates from almost 80 countries. I would like to listen to all of their stories, from Belarus, Pakistan and Spain, to Senegal, Malaysia and Argentina. Will all these delegates be able to commit them selves to a common goal? I do hope so.

Nordic countries on top

The news media in the Nordic countries have the best representation of women in top management (37 per cent) and governance (43 per cent) according to the report Global Report on the Status of Women in News Media. Read the full IWMF report at the IWMF website
This report will be very useful for anyone involved in gender equality issues in the media industry. You have to be greatful to the IWMF for conducting this study!

Young women leaders

As the women media leaders from all over the world meets in DC it is also interesting to think of who will be the future leaders. This weekend a group of young women visited Washington as a part of the Young Women Leadership Program . In this television news clip mentor Jennifer Leyton explains their work and some of the girls get to comment on the importance of YWLP. I met with them very breifly on Sunday morning o their way back to Charlottesville. When one of the girls heard that I was going to the IWMF conference on women media leaders she got very exited. "I want to be a journalist!", she said. Maybe she will be a future participant for the goal of more gender equal and diverse journalism. Proud to know you, Jen.

Nordic participants

There are 15 delegates from Europe among the 70 Women Media Leaders participating in the IWMF Conference. Two of them are from the Nordic countries; Kjersti Sortland, managing editor of Verdens Gang in Norway and Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, deputy editor of Fréttabladid (sorry for the lack of correct captures). I know that SVT, the Swedish Public Service Television, also got an invitation but they are not here. There are 33 news rooms in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden that have participated in the Global study. (One news room didn't deliver good enough data and so the final report is based on 32 news rooms. )

Tourist joggers in DC and other notes

I was not the only one taking a tourist jog this morning. There was a number of people taking the steps up to greet Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. Then we looked at the sun rising behind Capitol Hill as Washington DC now turns pink due to all the cherry blossoms. I don’t know if it was the beautiful morning or if it is a every day thing in DC, but most of the morning joggers greeted one another where ever they met. Very nice start!

I also had time to pass by associate professor Silvio Waisbord's office at the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University. He has a great knowledge of the media developments i Latin America and became quite interested in the IWMF conference. GWU is hosting many of the events at this conference.

Now I am soon off to the National Press Club for the opening night reception and to listen to Diane Saywer, ABC news anchor. Exiting!

Change is the goal

I met Barbara Kaija in the elevator last night. She is the Editor in Chief of New Vision in Uganda and one of more than 70 women media leaders who meet in Washington DC this week to create a Plan of Action for Change. On a global scale there are still large inequalities when it come to gender, that goes for news rooms too.

Tomorrow we will now a lot more about the situation when the report ”The Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media” will be unveiled. It is a mapping about 60 countries and 500 newsrooms in areas such as:

Salaries and Positions

Terms and Employment

Reporting Assignments

Recruiting and Hiring

Career Advancement

Journalism- Related Gender Policies and Goals.

I have been the regional coordinator for Nordic Europe and so far I have only seen the Nordic results so I am really curious to get the whole picture. The study has been conducted for International Women’s Media Foundation, IWMF who celebrates their 20th anniversary with this conference.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Can´t wait to listen the women media leaders discussing the global situation in the news room.
The full program can be found at www.

Starting up the blog and collecting material for the trip. NIKK magasin on Nordic gender research and the english magazine on Swedish gender research. I also passed the Nordicom office and got some leaflets on their publications.
Hopefully there will be some interest for the Nordic reserach at the conference.