During the latest month of our Gender Check monitoring project, only 25 percent of authors were women, the lowest percentage yet in this project. The only other time the percentage of female bylines dipped below 30 percent was in the third month of our study, when women bylined 26.9 percent of articles by an author of one gender or the other.
This marked the ninth month of this project, which began in January 2011. Later this week we’ll share findings from the first three quarters of our year-long endeavor.
Here’s the breakdown of our findings:
Ninth Month: Sept. 19 – Oct. 21, 2011
During the ninth month, we reviewed 28 articles, two in each Gender Check. That included five Gender Checks from the West and Midwest geographic regions and two from both the Northeast and the South.
As part of each Gender Check, our monitors look at two websites from that region — one associated with a newspaper and one that is online-only. We then select the top or lead articles on their websites at the time of the check and collect information on the author’s (or authors’) gender and the genders of the human sources referenced among other details. (For more on what Gender Checks are, read our introductory post here.)
This month the articles contained 26 female sources and 70 male sources, making women 27 percent of human sources whose gender could be identified. Three of this month’s articles contained no identified sources.
Here’s how sourcing broke down by geographic region:
- West: 20 males, 9 female (Women at 31 percent)
- Northeast: 11 males, 1 females (Women at 8.3 percent)
- Midwest: 37 males, 11 females (Women at 22.9 percent)
- South: 2 male, 5 female (Women at 71.4 percent)
We’ve also broken down our findings by news sites associated with a traditional newspaper and those that are not. Here are this month’s results:
- Newspaper website: 48 males, 14 females (Women at 22.6 percent)
- Online-only: 22 males, 12 females (Women at 35.3 percent)
During this month, six articles were written by one or more woman and 18 by one or more man. That gave women 25 percent of bylines of one gender or another. There were also two shared bylines between a man and a woman (or two), one by staff and another that’s author was unknown.
Here’s the break down of bylines by geographic region:
- West: 3 stories by women, 6 by men, 1 by staff
- Northeast: None by a woman, 3 by men and 1 with a shared byline between a man and two women
- Midwest: 2 by a woman, 7 by men, 1 with a shared byline between a man and a woman
- South: 1 by a woman, 2 by a man, 1 unknown
Here’s how women did in bylines between newspaper sites and online-only sites this month:
- Newspaper website: 4 by women, 9 by men and 1 with a shared byline between a man and woman
- Online-only: 2 by a woman, 9 by men, 1 with a shared byline, 1 by staff and 1 unknown
As a reminder to our readers, these findings reflect a limited amount of data from our simple Gender Checks. We hope you recognize the limitations of this data, since we’ve only sampled a few articles from eight news sites. Further research and time is needed to verify any validity across the board.
In July, we released our findings from our first six months of monitoring. During that time, women were 25.3 percent of human sources referenced and 37.7 percent of authors of one gender or the author. Keep an eye out for findings to-date from the first three-quarters of the year later this week.
To look at past month breakdowns and other data on gender representations in online news, check out our “Findings and Statistics” category.