Gender Breakdowns in the Tech Industry (Data)

Gender percentages in tech firms has become a hot topic recently, as a push to get women more involved in the sciences becomes popular.

For comparison purposes, we as a class looked at four of the top tech firms (Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Apple). While women are roughly 30% of each of the firms (with some firms demonstrating higher women numbers than others), men very clearly are the majority in the companies.

However, delving deeper into the data, we can see that the number of women actually in technology-driven roles is much smaller than we originally thought. While the percentage overall includes women in more administrative roles/HR in the company, the bars labeled “Women in Tech” and “Men in Tech” include only the engineer/technology based employees. This gives a more dismal view of women in the industry. While we can assume more women are getting involved in these companies, it is clear many of them aren’t in the potentially higher-paying roles.


Reporting in the 21st century

If you had told a full-time journalist ten years ago that they’d soon be reporting the news using “social media” or “apps”, I’m sure most of them would have thought you were crazy and ignored it.

Growing up as a “digital native”, I’ve only known the world with Internet. I don’t know how to read a map to get from point A to point B, I’ve never written a friend a letter (besides thank-you notes to my grandparents), and I’ve only ever used physical encyclopedias in lower grade school. I don’t even remember my parents having dial-up for that matter.

So when Tory Starr came to class saying her job title was “Director of Social Media” at WGBH, I never gave it a second thought. To me, it seems like a cool, cutting-edge job to have given the way journalism is going.

Every form of social media is involved in the news cycle in one way or another. And although you may not get all of the people, all of time, you can get SOME of the people, SOME of the time (which may just be enough).

“Within each of these platforms, the ecosystem is so big. You’re not going to reach every, or most people maybe, but there are opportunities,” Tory said.

The more I think about this, the more it makes sense to me. Facebook has over a billion active daily users. You reach only .5% of these, and that is still over 5 million people. Who can then send it to another .5%, who can show it to another .5%, and so on. The room for growth seems almost infinite. When she called Facebook king, she was extremely accurate.

However, not every platform can rival Facebook. Twitter and Snapchat are still finding their way in the digital media age, and that’s not always a bad thing. It means there’s still room for growth and changes. Storytelling isn’t going anywhere, there’s just new tools.

People in my generation joke about finding a job in the journalism field, given the current state of newspapers. After today’s class, and seeing how positions like Tory’s have evolved, I think it’s clear that there are still journalism jobs available; they’re just in new and exciting places.


Hindsight is 20/20

It takes an incredibly amount of foresight to be able to predict the future with any amount of accuracy. Hindsight is always 20/20 however, so some of the ideas presented in the three videos watched in class this week seem crazy, however many got very close.

I couldn’t help but be impressed with those who were spotlighted on the 1981 KRON report about the primitive Internet. I take my electronic news subscription for granted, and have never before stopped to think about the effort that must have gone into creating this technology.

I thought it was interesting when David Cole (of the S.F. Examiner) said “We’re not in it to make money. We’re not going to loose a lot, but we’re not going to make much either.” People were interested in putting the news online just for the sake of advancement of the profession, not for financial gain. Given today’s struggle with finances in the newspaper industry, this shocked me. This report was also incredibly accurate when it predicted a day will come when we will get all our news (or most of it) by computer, which to me shows an incredible amount of forward thinking.

This forward thinking also was evident in the report regarding the Tablet Newspaper from 1994. I found Knight Rider’s Roger Fidler incredibly insightful. My favorite part of the video was his term “Mediamorphesis”. Even 20+ years later, this term can still be used today, which goes to show the journalism field will probably never stop evolving. There were obvious issues with minor details regarding tablet newspapers, like the idea of a chip you can take with you to get news, or having the tablet read the news TO you (this could be an added feature in the future, I suppose).

The EPIC 2015 video clip predicted a more concerning future of journalism, in where each organization tries to out do one another. I found it most interesting when the narrator started talking about how MSN Newsbotster would start showing news based on what it predicted you would find interesting, and also based on what your friends were reading. This struck me as eerily similar to the Facebook “Trending Stories”, which used to have human “curators” before they swapped to an algorithm similar to this.