Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Wire Season 5 Premier

The much-anticipated season five premier of The Wire aired last night, and this season focuses on journalism. Spencer and Tom thought that this season will focus on the print v. online debate within journalism. Perhaps it's because I'm a young female journalist myself, but I picked up on perhaps an unintended topic: sexism in the newspaper industry. Granted, Simon's female characters are generally not only lacking but underdeveloped. I had hoped in an industry that's starting to become more flush with young female reporters, we'd see some interesting stuff. I guess I was wrong.

The first scene in which we view journalists, the three middle-aged male reporters are out on a smoke break. They talk about how the managing editor has a taste for hiring young 23-year-old women with "traffic light eyes" half of whom "can't write a lede." I highly doubt lede-writing is related to gender.

When the metro desk editor sniffs out a good story on the city council making a deal with , he gives credit to the lazy (male) city council beat reporter even though he didn't find the story. Another male reporter, who has nothing but ambitions to be at the New York Times or the Washington Post, comes to the metro editor and expects to be handed a story of the same caliber.

The female reporter, who was asked to run out on assignment to get a statement from the drug dealer at the strip club, insists that Baltimore is a good news town as she sips a drink at the bar out of a martini glass and seems content to stay at the Sun. Apparently she plays the role of the unambitious female reporter, with no desire to move on to the Times or the Post.

Perhaps the most frustrating scene depicted was when the managing editor killed a story on the University of Maryland not meeting its desegregation goals because his buddy was the dean of the journalism school and "race aside" the story needed more reporting to see how the school was "really perceived by minorities."

There isn't much to go on yet, but I wonder if this season will frustrate me when it comes to gender.

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