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Breakthrough, February 1976
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Breakthrough, February 1976 - Page 4. February 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. March 27, 2015. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5266/show/5253.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(February 1976). Breakthrough, February 1976 - Page 4. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5266/show/5253

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Breakthrough, February 1976 - Page 4, February 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed March 27, 2015, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5266/show/5253.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Breakthrough, February 1976
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date February 1976
Description Vol. 1 No. 2
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • Periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 16 page periodical
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332726~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 4
File Name femin_201109_514d.jpg
Transcript Women discuss views with media JANICE BLUE The following phone conversation (paraphrased below) took place between an editor of Breakthrough (BT) and the city editor (CE) of a morning Houston newspaper,. January 27,1976: BT: Mr. , I'm and I'm calling to see if you received our news release today— CE: What about? BT: Well, it was about a media workshop sponsored by the Rice Media Center and Breakthrough a new feminist newspaper. We're having a one-day "Dialogue with the Media" for women and the media to discuss "what makes women's news news." CE: Well, if it's women's news I probably handed it over to the (commonly called "women's section 1" ). BT: Well, it was meant for you since I am now asking you to be on the panel on Saturday. CE: I can't -I'll be out of town, but L- -(paper's satirist) likes to do things like that. He's not in our department but he's more into things like that than I am. BT: Well, we wanted you to be on. The whole purpose of the conference is to discuss how decisions are made about women's news. I notice, for example, you said that you handed our news release to the section because it was women's news. CE: We deal in general news - not in men's news or women's news. BT: Well, why did you say if the release concerned women's news it would go to the section? CE: I'm on a long distance call — sorry I can't make it but you can call one of our other editors (names given). BT: Thank you. "Every time Walter Cronkite ends his nightly newscast with 'And that's the way it is....', I want to shout back to my television set: 'That's the way it is to YOU, Walter, and CBS...and NBC...and ABC because, really, all three networks are remarkably 'in sync' when it comes to deciding what, from all the billions of events happening daily around the world, becomes the news that millions of us in this country will see each evening," expressed a panelist at the opening of the "Dialogue with the Media" conference held at Rice University Media Center, January 31. The conference, the first of its kind in Houston, provided a unique opportunity for women and women's groups to communicate with the media on the topic: "What Makes Women's News News?" "As women, we represent over half the population and over half the listening and reading audience of the media," a coordinator told the conference participants. "We are interested in how and by whom decisions are made and why we are so often excluded." A woman who had attended the Austin Conference on Women in Public Life referred to a metaphor on the image of women in the media used by journalist Bill Moyers. Moyers recalled seeing a painting of a woman which started at her feet and ended at her neck—no head. He also said that when U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug announced her candidacy for the Senate, the New York Times ran a back-view photo shot of her—again—no head! "That's the way the media regard women," Moyers said. "We want to explore that today," said Gay Gosgriff, a conference coordinator and editor of Breakthrough* "because the image we have of ourselves I MAKES Carole Kneeland, City Hall reporter for KPRC-TV, Randy Covington, Assignments Editor KHOU-TV, and Jorjanna Price, federal reporter, Houston Post, take part in discussion on "What makes Women's News News?" and our issues is 'out of sync' with what we see, hear, and read in the media. She then introduced the panelists: Carole Kneeland, the City Hall reporter for KPRC-TV; Randy Covington, Assignments Editor for KHOU-TV; Miriam Korshak, a news reporter with KLYX all-news radio; the Houston Post's federal reporter, Jorjanna Price; Dennis Fitzgerald, the Assistant City Editor of the Houston Chronicle, and Wendy Haskell Meyer, a contributing editor to Texas Monthly, the National Observer and In reply to the question "How and by whom are decisions made at your station or paper and where do you fit into the picture?" panelists replied as follows: "At our station," said Carole Kneeland, "Ray Miller, who is both the News Director and Assignments Editor, makes 98 percent of the news decisions." She went on to say the input of more women in the newsroom is being felt. When Kneeland came to KPRC-TV there was only one other woman reporter doing consumer news. Now, there are three women reporters and one co-anchor. "I was first hired as an investigative reporter and was given very good general assignments. In addition, I researched and reported stories on chiid care, women in prison, and a very controversial series on sex offenders." Randy Covington pointed out that television producers decide which items the newscaster will read, but as Assignment Editor, he said, "I'm very much in the decision-making process, too. I can tell you decisions on women's news are highly subjective "Right now when I get releases we consider whether the story affects many women before assigning it. "Take a story on women and credit. That's the kind that involves almost every woman. We did some solid reporting on that issue." Jorjanna Price was a staff reporter on the Post, before being transferred to its "Today" section. "I first said, 'You're kidding. I don't want to be there. I'm a news reporter,' " It did not take Price long to change her attitude about that section. She discovered a freedom not found on the city desk and, moreover, "it was an exciting time in the women's movement. We were covering stories on rape crisis, health classes, the ERA, nurses breaking away from tradition. "I thought we were scooping the city desk left and right," she said. "I became possessive. I wanted us to be a women's news section because "Today" was the only spot women had to get their issues aired." Although the Post now spotlights women in other sections of the paper, it is Price's opinion that old, out-dated attitudes still exist about women's news on the city desk side and that the "Today" section is the only place in the paper where women are going to consistently get coverage. The Chronicle's Fitzgerald said, "Page 1 stories usually contain elements that grab you: money, conflict, taxes, irony" and, he said, "if a women's 'news' story does not contain these elements, the second best way to get news coverage is to have a reporter contact at the newspaper. A former Chronicle reporter herself, Miriam Korshak gave double emphasis to Fitzgeralds suggestion on contacting an individual reporter. "Reporters are encouraged to submit ideas to the city desk," she said. "And if you have contact with a reporter, you're much better off than talking with an obscure desk assistant." As a woman reporter at an all- news radio station, Korshak is sensitive to news involving women. "I got real excited about the woman police officer being named Rookie of the Year," she said, "and I sold it to the network (NBC's News and Information Service) and it went around the country." "When I first began reporting women's stories, it was treated as a joke," said Wendy Haskell Meyer, "but I've seen the difference having women on the staff makes. If the managing editor is a man, he is going to be interested in stories that appeal to men, but now if it's a woman..." "Visual pizzazz?" asks Donna Duerk, conference participant. "Are you saying that's what people want on television. "I want to come down hard on the issue of accountability in news reporting," said Twiss Butler, a feminist from the Bay Area. "I want to know why in the ERA reported-stories, pro-ERA spokeswomen were identified by their group affiliation (NOW, League of Women Voters..), while the opposition was not! By not reporting who they were or who was backing them, the media made them appear to be a grass roots movement." Jorjanna Price of the Post explained the difficulty of even finding spokeswomen who were willing to speak to the media "Ah-but there was a perfect opportunity for some good in vestigative reporting not only into who they were but who was backing the 'Pink Ladies Movement'. Where was this kind of investigative reporting?" "If you're asking why we do such a poor job," Covington replied, "it's because of the obstacles we have in terms of news staff size and available equipment. We cover as few stories as we humanly can." Someone asked "Why was no one covering this conference besides three women reporters from KPFT?" "Well", Covington said, "we normally have 5-6 film crews. On the weekend we have one reporter and two photographers.' "Where are they?" someone asked. "They're at Memorial Park doing the oil-drilling story because that makes for better pictures than a group sitting at a conference. I'm just being honest-that's how it works," Covington said. "Visual pizzazz. Are you saying that's what people want from television?" asked Donna Duerk, a feminist active in the local and state women's political caucus. "Mr. Covington, are you telling us that tv news is simply entertainment?" questioned Alice Rickel, former FCC attorney. "It's that and it's also the reluctance of the media to do other media stories. It's mainly because our houses are made of glass and we don't dare throw any stones. But I wish we did more..I just love to do Houston Chronicle stories." (Laughter). "I want to get back to why our issues are not getting the coverage they should," Duerk continued. "For example, there was only a patter of stuff on the hearings for the Commission on the Status of Women. I still don't know what took place and I looked hard." The story came to Miriam Korshak's attention at KLYX. It involved an interview she did with a male state representative from Lubbock who, for nine months, had been holding hearings on the need for a Commission on the Status of Women in Texas. "The tape was awful," Korshak said. "He said some things about the proposed commission that were not very good. So I killed the whole story because what he said was so negative." "You did what?" someone asked in disbelief. Members of the conference audience thought the fact that a male head of the Commission on the Status of Women had derogatory things to say about the hearings should have been a news story in itself. "It would have pointed out the insensitivity of this man," said Olga Soliz, an active political feminist. "And, if you couldn't use it, why didn't you pass the story on to another medium?" quizzed Twiss Butler. Korshak ended by agreeing with the mood of the conference. "I now see it should have been covered." The conference ended at noon.