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Feminist Consciousness and the Production of a Contemporary Women's Section
Unformatted Document Text:  Tracking number: ICA-12-11416 18 However, while these conversations indicated an awareness of feminism’s past affect on newspapers, it does not signify a way in which feminism informs current newsroom practices. Another recurring feminist theme in my conversations with newsroom staff was that of women’s changing role in society, particularly in the workplace. Again, how much this is an awareness of clear changes in newspaper readership and how much this is a feminist consciousness that translates into the production of Savvy is unclear. Some conversations, though, particularly those with Mertz, showed a deeper appreciation for the concerns of women – issues that feminism has helped draw attention to. Diversity, however, which Mertz believes is achieved in the pages of Savvy with the help of her staff, is quite limited. This has much to do with the fact that only two staff reporters work on Savvy. One of these reporters is Bill Dunn – a man in his mid-40s who has worked for The Capital Times for less than four months. Dunn agrees with his co- workers that “it’s good to have a male voice” in Savvy. The other writer, Debra Carr- Elsing, started part-time at The Capital Times before graduating from the journalism school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1976. She moved into her position as main writer for Savvy about a year after editors formed it. Carr-Elsing also noted the diversity of Savvy’s content thanks to the diversity of those shaping it. Her notion of diversity, however, seemed limited to gender, age and parental status. Age diversity held particular agency in conversations about Savvy. The cause has much to do with Mertz’s relatively young age – she is 25. Managing editor Haslanger said, One of the things I think Amy has done – I know Amy has done – is tilt it a little younger in terms of the kinds of stories she’s doing, which I think is good. I don’t

Authors: Harp, Dustin.
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Tracking number: ICA-12-11416
18
However, while these conversations indicated an awareness of feminism’s past affect on
newspapers, it does not signify a way in which feminism informs current newsroom
practices. Another recurring feminist theme in my conversations with newsroom staff
was that of women’s changing role in society, particularly in the workplace. Again, how
much this is an awareness of clear changes in newspaper readership and how much this is
a feminist consciousness that translates into the production of Savvy is unclear. Some
conversations, though, particularly those with Mertz, showed a deeper appreciation for
the concerns of women – issues that feminism has helped draw attention to.
Diversity, however, which Mertz believes is achieved in the pages of Savvy with
the help of her staff, is quite limited. This has much to do with the fact that only two staff
reporters work on Savvy. One of these reporters is Bill Dunn – a man in his mid-40s who
has worked for The Capital Times for less than four months. Dunn agrees with his co-
workers that “it’s good to have a male voice” in Savvy. The other writer, Debra Carr-
Elsing, started part-time at The Capital Times before graduating from the journalism
school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1976. She moved into her position as
main writer for Savvy about a year after editors formed it. Carr-Elsing also noted the
diversity of Savvy’s content thanks to the diversity of those shaping it. Her notion of
diversity, however, seemed limited to gender, age and parental status. Age diversity held
particular agency in conversations about Savvy. The cause has much to do with Mertz’s
relatively young age – she is 25. Managing editor Haslanger said,
One of the things I think Amy has done – I know Amy has done – is tilt it a little
younger in terms of the kinds of stories she’s doing, which I think is good. I don’t


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