In journalism, as in life in general, it is necessary to look at the world from a different point of view. Alike eyes and recipes will hardly give us a view of the world as diverse as we need.
Einstein thought as much about life as about science. He is credited with the phrase “Madness is wanting different results, doing everything exactly the same”. And, it is enough for us to look at the things that last in our lives, good and bad, to realize that what changes in the results is the recipe, the way to get there.
In journalism, as in life in general, it is necessary to look at the world from a utopically objective point of view (the subjectivity of the subject as determined) but, above all, from a point of view that is sensitive and that considers the diversity of voices . Journalism is, for many of us, a presence that we don’t have in the places where things happen. It is being where we cannot go, except through the eyes and words of others.
Eyes, practices, leadership teams – in short, equal recipes – will hardly bring us a vision of the world as diverse as we need, we busy people, already somewhat skewed by so many networks and stimuli, and nuclei and noise, and rhythm and routines that occupy our days and leave us with a much more egocentric perspective than the one recommended by books.
And this is where our first challenge begins. According to data from Reuters Institute, which analyzed gender differences in mainstream media in 2020 (the largest 240 online and offline media in 12 different markets), only 22% of the top 180 editors of the 240 brands considered are women, although on average , 40% of journalists from 12 markets are women.
Looking more closely at the 178 media brands analyzed in 2020 and 2021, the percentage of women in leadership positions changed from 22% in 2020 to 24% in 2021. Among 37 new editors within the analyzed brands, only 16% are women. Rounding up, nearly two in ten new editors are women. This inequality is perpetuated all over the world: considering 11 in 12 markets observed by the Reuters Institute, most of the leadership loads in the media are occupied by men, including countries like Brazil or Finland, where the number of women among the total number of journalists is higher than the number of men. The percentage of women in editing and leadership positions varies, as usual, from market to market. Reuters notes that, for example, in Japan, no women were at the helm of any of the country’s biggest news outlets in 2020, while in South Africa, 62 percent of journalists and 60 percent of editors are women.
In Portugal, and according to the final report produced by Obercom – Observatório da Comunicação on the “Inquérito aos Jornalistas CIES-IUL / SJ 2016”, a purpose of the study “Are Portuguese journalists well paid? Survey on the working conditions of journalists in Portugal ”, gender diversity is balanced with regard to the number of men (51.8%) and women (48.2%) who work as journalists. But if almost half of journalists in Portugal are women, why do women lead so little in the media in Portugal?
This week, CNN Portugal – an “arm” of CNN, an internationally recognized journalism brand, both for its reference information and credibility as well as for its diversity and inclusion practices -, which is preparing its launch on the national market, presented the second part of your leadership team. In the first ad, in early September, Nuno Santos (director of CNN Portugal), Frederico Roque Pinho (executive director responsible for the operation of the television channel) and Pedro Santos Guerreiro (executive director responsible for digital) were the trio presented to lead the “Media Capital’s multi-platform information project”. Three weeks later, a new announcement: Paulo Magalhães, Pedro Pinheiro, José Carlos Araújo and Rui Loura were sent as the general editors of CNN Portugal.
What is special about these teams, besides bringing together “a vast experience” and the ambition to “make a difference in the way the Portuguese understand the world”? They are made up entirely of men. 100%, ’em, everyone, general! I say more: men, white, middle-aged. Experienced leaders? Yes. Praised journalists? No doubt. Credibility guarantors? Yes, certainly. All men with very similar trajectories, ages and, therefore, views of the world? Most likely – too similar, I would say. So far, a CNN has publicly presented an equal team: it doesn’t matter if they are one, three or seven leaders: their vision of the world will be aligned, always. “No pimples” as they say. And, no doubt, perpetuating an aversion to risk and failure that ignores that the greatest danger is building monochord teams that will, almost inevitably, tell the stories of the world – and take the world to those who will see or read them – under the same viewpoints. Ever.
“I know that we are going to develop a new way of doing journalism, more present in the lives of citizens,” said Nuno Santos, quoted on CNN Portugal’s Instagram. When we only have half the world’s population (and forgive me, for now, a gender-reductive vision that doesn’t even take into account the multi-gender identity of the world we live in) deciding who, how and why the world is counted in such a way, we lost 50% of the story.
Continue to surprise me with the way they say that everything is going to be done differently, everything being done the same. With the way it’s much easier to say something than to do it afterwards, the so-called walk to talk. As a friend commented to me, who enjoyed my words on the subject, “it seems that women in Portugal are over”.
It’s hard for me to believe that, in all the meetings, taking them, hallway conversations, recommendations or even in dreams, the names of Portuguese women, extraordinary journalists, who wanted to align themselves in the challenge, or improvement, in the authentic privilege of building a information brand in a country that tends to be so little interested in acting on what happens to it. I refuse to assume that, in building a local team, a CNN has not noticed this happening (Johnita P. Due, Senior Vice President and Director of Diversity and Inclusion, can we address this issue with you?). And it costs me, above all, to believe that, in the ideation and construction of a “new team”, don’t make sure, from scratch – as they say in startups – the most basic: the diversity of voices. It’s just that, it seems, journalism has a lot of that: giving a voice to those who don’t have a voice.
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