Editor’s note: Six months ago, we set out to look at how women are represented in online news both as sources and as authors. To mark our progress, this week we’re reviewing our findings as well as unveiling new statistics based on what we’ve uncovered thus far in a series of posts. View other six-month coverage here.
We’ve spent the past six months looking at gender in Internet news through our own studies and as well as those by others. To review what we’ve accomplished in that time and what it says about the state of women in online journalism, we’ve pulled together our stats through a roundup list as well as some graphs (Scroll below the slideshow for the full list of stats plus links). Here’s our refresher as well as a great way to check out our work if you’re new to The Gender Report.
Through our weekly Gender Checks, which started the week of Jan. 18 and were our cornerstone study, we’ve looked at a total of eight U.S. news websites (one associated with a traditional newspaper and another that is online-only), two from each of the four geographic regions. In that study, we’ve thus far found the following:
-Month 1: Women as 27.6 percent of sources and with 32.3 percent of bylines (of articles by a person or several of one gender or the other, not including shared bylines between a woman and a man)
-Month 2: Women as 20.8 percent of sources and with 33.3 percent of bylines
-Month 3: Women as 23.5 percent of sources and with 26.9 percent of bylines
-First quarter totals: Women as 24.6 percent of sources and with 31 percent of bylines
-Month 4: Women as 30.4 percent of sources and with 57.1 percent of bylines
-Month 5: Women as 19.5 percent of sources and with 33.3 percent of bylines
-Month 6: Women as 27 percent of sources and with 43.3 percent of bylines
-Six month totals: Women as 25.3 percent of sources and with 37.7 percent of bylines (34.7% overall)
New Media Index
In addition, we’ve also been examining the sourcing and authorship from the most linked to and talked about articles on the web, via the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index:
-January 2011: Women as 21.3 percent of sources and with 33.3 percent of bylines (of articles by a person or several of one gender or the other, not including shared bylines between a woman and a man)
-February 2011: Women as 28 percent of sources and with 41.7 percent of bylines
-March 2011: Women as 15.2 percent of sources and with 28.6 percent of bylines
-April 2011: Women as 25 percent of sources and with 28.6 percent of bylines
-May 2011: Women as 13.3 percent of sources and with 11.1 percent of bylines
-June 2011: Women as 20.2 percent of sources and with 36 percent of bylines
-Six months: Women as 20.2 percent of sources and with 31.3 percent of bylines (26.3 percent overall)
News Frontier Database
We’ve also spent some time looking at the information that can be gleaned through or as an off-shoot of the Columbia Journalism Review’s News Frontier Database.
- Women made up 28 percent of the “principal staff” of online news outlets (as of June 3, 2011)
- Women were 22 percent of sources and bylined 30 percent of articles overall in a July 1 sample of the lead articles from the 40 “national” online news outlets in the database.
The Gender Report got a shout-out for these studies from Michael Meyer who is in charge of the database during an interview he did with the media blog 10,000 Words in July.
Newsroom staff breakdowns
To look at gender representations in news creation in a different way aside from a byline count, we’ve been taking stock of the breakdown in each newsroom of the news sites included in our Gender Check monitoring via their online staff lists:
- Seattle Times: Women as 45.5 percent of staff.
- Seattle P-I: Women as 30 percent of staff.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Women as 31.3 percent of staff.
- St. Louis Beacon: Women as 60 percent of staff.
*Data from the Northeast and the South still to come.
Author gender and source selection
With our six-month statistics in hand as well as those from our monitoring of the 40 sites located nationally in the News Frontier Database, we decided also to look at whether the author’s gender affected the use of female sources. Here’s what each of these studies showed:
-News Frontier Database “national site study: Women were 38 percent of sources in articles by females and 10 percent of sources in articles by males. Women were 37 percent of sources in those articles with a shared byline by a male and a female.
-New Media Index study: Women were 28.9 percent of sources in articles by females and 19.3 percent of sources in articles by males. Women were only 11.9 percent of sources in articles with a shared byline by a male (or several) and a female.
-Gender Check study: Women were 28.1 percent of sources in articles by females and 21.8 percent of sources in articles by males. Women were 33 percent of sources in articles with a shared byline by a male (or several) and a female.
This issue is one that we’ll continue to look at in the future, particularly because of the differences we are seeing in the shared bylines.
For a comparison, here’s what some other studies on the subject of women and journalism (some specifically related to newspapers and some to online outlets) have uncovered:
2011 Newsroom Census: Women made up 36.9 percent of those working full time at daily U.S. newspapers.
International Women’s Media Foundation’s “The Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media” (Released March 2011)
Women currently hold 27 percent of top management jobs and 26 percent of governing jobs in the news media globally.
Women hold 36 percent of reporter jobs, or positions at the “junior professional level” and 41 percent of positions at the senior professional level, which includes anchors, senior writers and producers.
Overall, 37 percent of stories were reported by women, and 36 percent of stories in the online samples were bylined by women.
Women were 24 percent of news subjects – people heard or read on traditional platforms like newspapers, television and radio in the sample. They were 23 percent of news subjects in the websites monitored.
Check back on The Gender Report tomorrow (Saturday) for our take on what we’ve learned so far and what we hope to look at in our next six months.