Category Journalism

Closing the Information Gap

In journalism school, we were taught to answer the five questions: who, what, when, where, and why (or, in my Southern class, “what for”). Journalists ideally accomplish this through stellar writing and composition of story, regardless of whether or not it’s an inverted pyramid. But what if journalists went beyond the story and answered how the reporting happened?

I happened to stumble across this CNN article while doing research, and my eyes were immediately drawn to something I hadn’t seen before on a mainstream news site: explaining parts of the issue that the article was covering.

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Qualifications in the Newsroom

When I first arrived in the Bay Area, I picked up Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. It’s probably the most cliche thing I could’ve done. It’s not like it wasn’t available in Memphis, but I knew that coming here, I had something to learn. (I still do, always.) I wanted to read about what a woman on the inside of a tech company would be able to offer as advice, suspecting that I’d probably end up at one due to their sheer saturation.

Since reading that book, one statistic — quoted not only by Sandberg but others talking about the “confidence gap” in women — stays in the back of my mind. The statistic comes from a Hewlett-Packard internal report, summarized succinctly in the Harvard Business Review by Tara Sophia Mohr in 2014: “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.”

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