Leading the Newsroom is an interdisciplinary inquiry that brings together journalism and leadership theories and aims to understand how news and news outputs are shaped and published in Indian newsrooms. This research looks specifically to examine the role of women in positions of editorial leadership in the English print media in India. Researcher Saba Sodhi speaks about her ongoing work.
Could you tell us more about your study? What does it involve?
My focus is women in Indian newsrooms, particularly the leadership styles of female journalists. It involves going into newsrooms in India and exploring how news is published, the role women journalists play, and the different leadership styles involved in the process.
What made you want to study this?
Despite India being such a large and diverse country with a proportionately large and prominent media, there isn’t much empirical work about the media industry there. I felt there is a knowledge-gap about the composition of newsrooms and their functioning. It is also interesting to note that more and more women are entering the news industry back home, changing the demographics, and I wanted to understand what this meant for news and newsmaking. When I looked around, I also found that there was not much work on leadership in journalism in general. This study brings that all together. If I am not mistaken, this will be the first of its nature, looking specifically at the leadership roles in newsroom in India. I want to understand the leadership styles of women and explore the changes that women leaders may bring about to the news industry in the Indian context.
What impact do you think your research will make?
My study navigates the importance of diversity in the newsroom and the differences it may or can make by looking at scholarship on standpoint theory, leadership, gatekeeping, etc. Existing research is mostly western-centric and perhaps too focussed on the news as a product, not so much as a process. My study aims to help create a better understanding of Indian newsrooms, and perhaps offer some insight into how these newsrooms may evolve. Considering the multitude of voices and perspectives the Indian media is required to consider to truly be representative of the Indian people, information on how to make our media a fairer and more inclusive platform is crucial to strengthening the fourth estate. This research hopes to provide some insight into how leadership and management of newsrooms could play a part in that goal.