Girls, girls, girls. A study of the popularity of journalism as a career among female teenagers and its corresponding lack of appeal to young males
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Australian journalism programs have long reported a disproportionate number of female students and the industry is becoming increasingly feminised. The latest (2006) Census figures showed that, for the first time in Australian history, women outnumbered men in journalism and related occupations. While many researchers have commented upon the increased popularity of journalism as a career choice among young women and its decline in popularity among young men, none have undertaken a comprehensive project researching the reasons for this phenomenon. This study has addressed this gap in the research. The research team conducted an extensive literature review, surveyed 444 senior secondary school students and 32 high school careers advisers, and conducted in-depth interviews with 15 'elite' journalism industry personnel to explore the reasons for this trend. This monograph reviews the literature of the field, highlights the findings of the study, and discusses the implications for Australian journalism of the increasingly feminised newsroom. It identifies several gaps between the perceptions of teenagers about journalism and the realities of the career and questions the motivations and knowledge base of many students when deciding to pursue or reject the career choice. It suggests some careers advice they receive might be misguided, particularly when the advice is based upon performance in senior school English studies. The monograph concludes with a call for journalism programs and the industry generally to improve their communication with high school students, teachers and careers advisers to enhance their knowledge of the range of journalism careers and the mission of journalism in a democratic society. The authors also suggest further research be conducted into the compatibility of the senior secondary English curriculum with the workplace requirements of the entry level journalist.
Australian Journalism Monographs