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National Conference on “New Media” Features Dean Kahn in Panel Discussion

February 01, 2008
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Dean Barbara Kahn was among four distinguished business experts leading a panel discussion February 27 at “We Media Miami,” a national conference focusing on innovations in media. Miami’s School of Business Administration, along with the School of Communication and the Miller School of Medicine were host sponsors for the conference, which was held at the business school. The discussion covered new media ranging from news Web sites and digital music to blogs and online communities.

In a panel discussion entitled “Women, Media and Technology,” Kahn provided insight into issues faced by women involved in new media. Joining her on the stage in Storer Auditorium were Mary Hodder, founder of online video search service Dabble; Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab, a University of Maryland center that spotlights new forms of digital story telling; and Carolyn Washburn, vice president and executive editor at the Des Moines Register.

Much of the discussion focused on the disparity between the number of men and the number of women working at new media companies and in other areas of business. Schaffer noted that while two-thirds of journalism students at colleges and universities are women, they make up only one-third of full-time working journalists. She said one reason may be that women in journalism often don’t get the higher pay or opportunities offered to men.

Dean Kahn, drawing on her experience at Miami’s business school and her experience leading the undergraduate program at the Wharton School, pointed to numbers that illustrate that some people think business is not for women.

“Even at business schools that do the best in recruiting female students, the share of women is about 40 percent,” said Kahn. She added that with a lower number of women earning business degrees, women are lacking in higher paying industries. “Finance is still very much a man’s world,” said Kahn.

Washburn, however, noted that she did not see such disparity at her newspaper. She attributes that to the culture set by the paper’s owner, the Gannett Co.

“Gannett has always been committed to diversity,” said Washburn.

In closing, Dean Kahn said that women, like men, must continue to participate in networking that is personal in order to be competitive and succeed in business.

“Even with the advent of new media, I still think the personal connection is critical in the business world.”

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