May 23, 2005

Boys' club.

This one is in the US news media, in terms of whose voice is heard when sourcing a news story. A study released today by the Center for Excellence in Journalism shows that most news still comes from a male perspective.

The nine-month study looked at 16,800 stories that appeared in 45 different news outlets, including print, online, and television sources. The study found that men are used as sources more than twice as often as women. While more than three-quarters of all stories used male sources, only one-third of those stories had even a single female source. This disparity was even more pronounced in stories that used more than one source.

Here are some of the report's main findings:

  • In every topic category, the majority of stories cited at least one male source.
  • In contrast, the only topic category where women crossed the 50% threshold was lifestyle stories.
  • The subject women were least likely to be cited on was foreign affairs.
  • Newspapers were the most likely of the media studied to cite at least one female source in a story (41% of stories). Cable news, despite all the time it has to fill, was the least likely medium to cite a female source (19% of stories), and this held true across all three major cable channels.
  • On network TV, the morning news programs, which often cover lighter fare, relied more on female sources. The evening newscasts were somewhat less likely, but still did so more than cable.

The stories included in the study showed that the preferential use of male sources exists across the board, although some media use male sources more heavily than others.

Gender of sources used in US media
Source: Center for Excellence in Journalism

While this magpie is really glad to see this study, we've seen ones just like it over the past couple of decades. We have to wonder how many more studies will come and go before things change.

The full report can be read in HTML here. You can download a PDF file containing the report here.

Posted by Magpie at May 23, 2005 01:37 PM | Media | TrackBack(2) | Technorati links |