Outsiders Still: Why Women Journalists Love - and Leave - Their Newspaper Careers

Outsiders Still: Why Women Journalists Love - and Leave - Their Newspaper Careers

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By Vivian Smith
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2015
World Rights
240 Pages
ISBN 9781442627956
Published Mar 2015
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ISBN 9781442650015
Published Mar 2015
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ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442622067
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Despite years of dominating journalism school classrooms across North America, women remain vastly underrepresented at the highest levels of newspaper leadership. Why do so many female journalists leave the industry and so few reach the top?

Interviewing female journalists at daily newspapers across Canada, Vivian Smith – who spent fourteen years at The Globe and Mail as a reporter, editor, and manager – finds that many of the obstacles that women face in the newspaper industry are the same now as they have been historically, made worse by the challenging times in which the industry finds itself. The youngest fear they will have to choose between a career and a family; mid-career women madly juggle the pressures of work and family while worrying that they are not “good mothers”; and the most senior reflect on decades of accomplishments mixed with frustration at newsroom sexism that has held them back.

Listening carefully to the stories these journalists tell, both about themselves and about what they write, Smith reveals in Outsiders Still how overt hostility to women in the newsroom has been replaced by systemic inequality that limits or ends the careers of many female journalists. Despite decades of contributions to society’s news agenda, women print journalists are outsiders still.

Vivian Smith, PhD, is a journalist, media consultant, and sessional instructor in the Department of Writing at the University of Victoria. She is a former National Beats Editor at The Globe and Mail whose freelance work has appeared in the Globe, National Post, Canadian Living, ROB Magazine, and Maclean’s.


1 Introduction: Are You Still Here ?

2 Senior Women Print Journalists: So Stuck, Yet So Lucky

3 Mid-Career Participants: Hard Work, Sacrifice and Missing Family Pizza Night

4 For the Youngest Journalists, It’s “a Game of Chicken”

5 Of Darkness, Dragons, and Black Holes

6 Six Who Walked Away: Frustrations and New Beginnings

7 Conclusions: Taking Control of the Narrative




Outsiders Still should be read by female journalists everywhere.”

Marsha Barber, Ryerson School of Journalism, and former senior producer at The National

“A thorough look at how a business that deals with daily change is often resistant to change within its own newsroom walls. Anyone who has worked at a newspaper will be nodding in recognition of the familiar stories in this book.”

Susan Delacourt, author and political writer

“In Outsiders Still, Vivian Smith makes a substantial new contribution to our understanding of how the world of journalism finds a place – or, often, doesn’t find one – for women. Rich with engaging portraits and careful analysis of individual experiences and career trajectories, and thoroughly up to date, this book will take an important place in the literature about newsworkers, feminism, and news media.”

Gene Allen, Ryerson School of Journalism, and author of 'Making National News: A History of Canadian Press'

Outsiders Still is a lovely book, beautifully written. Weaving together stories from key women journalists, Vivian Smith reveals the ways in which print journalism remains male dominated despite superb women in the field. Smith shows how sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination are at work in the profession, and also shows the ways in which women have resisted, succumbed to, changed, and left the profession.”

Meg Luxton, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, York University

‘’It should be essential reading for news room managers in all forms of media and should be read by deans and directors of journalism schools, as well as students.’

Barbara Barnett, Journalism – 2016

“I suggest you give Outsiders Still by Vivian Smith as a gift to a journalism student near you, just in case the J-school forgets to put it on her reading list. It may well be the most valuable thing she learns all year.”

Shannon Rupp, TheTyee.ca, 22 Aug 2015

“Smith’s book should be a must read for everyone with an interest in working in Canadian journalism.”

Catherine McKercher, Professor Emeritus of Journalism, Carlton University, j-source.ca, June 22, 2015