Katherine Plumber of “Newsies.” Image courtesy of Village Theatre

Q&A: ‘Newsies’ character Katherine Plumber talks journalism in Victorian-era New York

The Eastside Scene journalists sat down with ace reporter Katherine Plumber of “Newsies” to find out what has changed — and stayed the same — in the news industry since 1899.

♦ Katherine, thanks so much for talking to us today. Female reporters were certainly a rarity in the Victorian era. What are some of your biggest challenges as a female journalist?

– Female reporters were less rare than you might think! They were, however, assigned to write about what were considered “Woman’s Issues”. Things like the domestic arts, fashion, society events and the occasional sob story. Female reporters were often encouraged to write in a way that would inspire tears from their readers, as they were expected to have a more sensitive or emotional way of writing. One of my biggest challenges as a female reporter is not being given the opportunity to write more “hard hitting” articles.

♦ How do you use journalism to make a difference in the world?

– By continuously searching for the truth.

♦ Why is it so important for a free society to have good reporters?

– I think there are a great many reasons why it’s important for a free society to have good reporters. Journalism has the ability to bring world events close to people’s everyday lives. Good reporters can convey information in a way that is accessible, honest and unbiased. Journalism can also entertain, offer a new perspective or inspire you to try something new!

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