Women pro­duce about a third of United States news con­tent: study


Men are be­hind more news sto­ries than women by a nearly 2-to-1 mar­gin across print and tele­vi­sion plat­forms, though there was a slight in­crease in by­lines and cred­its for women last year, a new study says.

The Wash­ing­ton-based Women’s Me­dia Cen­ter re­leased its study Thurs­day as part of its fourth an­nual re­port on “The Sta­tus of Women in U.S. Me­dia.”

Over­all, the study found that the per­cent­age of by­lines, on­cam­era ap­pear­ances and pro­ducer cred­its for women had in­creased nom­i­nally from last year. In 2014, about 37 per­cent of news was gen­er­ated by women, up from 36 per­cent in 2013.

“Our re­search shows that women, who are more than half of the pop­u­la­tion, write only a third of the sto­ries. Me­dia tells us our roles in so­ci­ety — it tells us who we are and what we can be. This new re­port shows us who mat­ters and what is im­por­tant to me­dia — and clearly, as of right now, it is not women,” cen­ter Pres­i­dent Julie Bur­ton said in a state­ment.

The study also found that, as in 2013, fe­male jour­nal­ists were less likely to re­port on is­sues of pol­i­tics and crime and jus­tice and more likely to re­port on ed­u­ca­tion, health and life­style top­ics. Im­por­tant for 2016 pres­i­den­tial cov­er­age, the cen­ter said, the study found that about 35 per­cent of U.S. po­lit­i­cal news was re­ported by women, down from 36 per­cent in 2013.

The study ex­am­ined about 28,000 pieces of con­tent pro­duced from Oct. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2014, at 20 TV net­works, news­pa­pers, news wires and on­line sites.

The study found that at 10 of the na­tion’s top news­pa­pers, women re­port 37 per­cent of the sto­ries, the same as in 2013. The study found the Chicago Sun­Times led with 54 per­cent fe­male by­lines and was the only news­pa­per where women had more than half the by­lines. The San Jose Mer­cury News ranked sec­ond and the Los An­ge­les Times third. The three bot­tom-ranked news­pa­pers for fe­male by­lines were The New York Times and The Den­ver Post, which had about 32 per­cent fe­male by­lines, and the Daily News in New York, which had about 31 per­cent.

In tele­vi­sion, where the study looked at the evening news broad­casts of ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS, the study found women are on cam­era 32 per­cent of the time. At PBS, about 44 per­cent of the field re­porters and cor­re­spon­dents were fe­male, the high­est of the group. At CBS, 29 per­cent were fe­male, the low­est of the group.

On­line, women fared bet­ter with 42 per­cent of by­lines. The cen­ter said of the four on­line news sites it viewed — The Huff­in­g­ton Post, CNN, Fox and The Daily Beast — only Huff­in­g­ton Post had more than half its con­tent writ­ten by women.

The cen­ter also looked at fe­male by­lines at two ma­jor wire ser­vices, the AP and Reuters, where over­all women made up 38 per­cent of by­lines. It found for the sec­ond year that Reuters had more fe­male by­lines, about 41 per­cent, a small decline from 43 per­cent in 2013. At the AP, about 36 per­cent of by­lines be­longed to women, up from 32 per­cent in 2013. The study looked at the news ser­vices’ sto­ries of 500 words or more.

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