I read with a degree of sadness that Anne Summers’ magazine (that I didn’t know existed until a few seconds ago), is stopping production and the company is in debt. This is one of a string of publications started by women that have stopped production. The site by Wendy Harmer, The Hoopla stopped making updating content last year. In March this year, women’s magazine, Cleo stopped production after 43 or so years.
Print journalism is obviously an industry that is declining, rather rapidly, with the Fairfax papers collapsing, and, according to the Institute of Public Affairs, an extra 20 to 30 Fairfax journalists were made redundant in the first week of May this year. Fairfax papers are getting thinner and thinner as time goes on. The one produced in an area near where I live is anyway.
Back to to women’s media productions in particular – where do women fit in modern journalism/ on – line publications? Is the genre just too crowded? Too outdated? Is existing media outlets drowning the independent publications out? I do have one theory.
If you look at the post from Andrew Bolt’s blog about the collapse of Anne Summer’s magazine, just looking at the covers, you find a sort of regurgitation of information and commentary from other, more developed outlets, such as Mamamia. It gets to point that women’s media lacks variety in opinion, information and critique. There is a lack of debate on these sites; everyone agrees with one another. At least in Newscorp papers you do have a variety of socio – political opinion and a variety of topics covered:childcare, at – home shopping, same – sex marriage, you name it. These are topics that raise discussion, debate (sometimes heated) and a platform where different people from different opinions can get a medium that expresses their views. Where as, what does much women’s media cover? Sex? Men? Gay rights? Sure, these topics are talked about everywhere, but maybe that’s the problem. There’s too much of the same – old, same old.
It’s still doesn’t make it any easier though. Young women (and men), who want to pursue journalism and related fields should be able to. I’d hate to see the industry collapse, especially if it gets to a point where there is a lack of diversity in perspectives and publications that people can work for. The market for aspiring journalists, bloggers, writers, etc just seems to be getting smaller and smaller.
So, what do you think? What’s the future for women in media? Is the independent media/ blogosphere just too crowded? Let me know what you think.