In the early stages of journalism, women were limited by custom from access to news coverage occupations and faced significant discrimination within the profession. Across many mediums such as broadcast, motion pictures, and print men filled the staff.
The Miami Hurricane was no exception. For decades male students were primarily at the forefront of many of the newspaper’s positions.
The first female editor-in-chief of the Miami Hurricane was in 1933, Olga Minor, who aided in the structure of the paper. Photos of the staff in the 20s and 30s show a relatively even representation of both men and women. However, as the newspaper continued to develop, this gradually shifted.
A 1933 staff photos shows a diversity of men and women worked for The Hurricane.
In the 1940s and 50s there were far fewer female section editors, reporters, and photographers. During this time, the Hurricane published stories featuring sexist language calling women unfunny, captions alluding to a disparity in intelligence between the sexes and cartoons depicting women with exaggerated features and impossibly petite waists.
Sexism remained at the Hurricane in the 70s, when alumna Jill Singer was on staff. Singer, who graduated from the University of Miami in 1973 with a degree in journalism, said that she knew from the time she was in high school that she wanted to become a reporter. As a freshman, she immediately got involved with the Miami Hurricane.
From Singer’s very first meeting at the paper, she believed that there was room for growth and a higher potential that she could reach.
“There’s nothing like holding a real newspaper that smells like fresh newsprint and reading about real life and real stories,” said Singer. “I knew I could help develop the student newspaper and provide more direction if I rose to a higher position.”
Yet, despite the newspaper's past predecessors of female editors-in-chiefs, in 1972 Singer was rejected when she applied for the role, and she said was because she is a woman.
“I really wanted to be the editor-in-chief of The Miami Hurricane, I believed that I could have made a transformative impact as the editor,” Singer said. She explained that in the early 70s, “women were still being held back from positions that they deserved to have, equally if not more than their male counterparts.”
Singer said she recalls going to the publications board and presenting her ideas in regards to the advancement of the paper. After a male student was chosen over her, Singer said she knew that she had to become a fighter for women’s equality in journalism.
Instead of the editor-in-chief position, she was offered to become the editor of the first ever women’s page in the Miami Hurricane. She also had a column in the paper called “Jill’s Journal,” where she would answer questions from students ranging from topics about campus life to personal issues.
An entry of "Jill's Journal" published in the early 1970s
“It was exciting to be section editor,” said Singer. “But, I always had this nagging feeling that I could have done more for the newspaper as an editor rather than being pushed to a section directed only towards women, as opposed to everyone.”
In the decades leading up to the present day, The Miami Hurricane's staff became much more inclusive, with many women holding positions as editors, reporters, faculty advisor and social media managers.
“Newsrooms today have dramatically changed across the board,” Singer said. “Both student newspapers and real-world media platforms are becoming beacons for diversity and female representation in journalism.”