Catching up from October and November, our monitoring saw slight gains in the percentage of female sources and bylines in the News Media Index after all-time lows in September and August.
Since January 2011, the Gender Report has been monitoring the top articles of the web based on links provided in the Project for Excellence in Journalism‘s weekly New Media Index roundups. The New Media Index reports the top five news stories and opinion pieces around the web in a Monday to Friday week based on commentary on blogs and social media sites. We’ve opted to focus on the top five in the blogosphere for the purpose of our study. When more than one link was provided on the topic, we’ve tried to monitor the first mentioned or the one that appears based on the writing to be more dominant, unless it is mentioned that articles shared the attention for that particular subject.
Here’s what we found for the months of October and November:
- Between Oct. 3 and Oct. 28, the New Media Index included 22 articles that could be checked. No specific link was provided for the No. 2 story on the 2012 presidential election in week four. The No. 3 story of week three on Occupy Wall Street was done as a special report, and therefore had no link provided. Similar to what was seen in September, news about the new iPhone appeared every week in the top five, though different stories or blog posts were referenced.
In the stories we monitored, here’s what we found:
- Women were 25 percent of sources in October’s articles. The articles contained 18 male sources and 6 female sources.
- Thirteen of the 22 articles contained no human sources. Nearly all of those links were to blog posts or posts from companies. In addition, five articles featured only male sources and one article featured only a female source.
- Three articles or posts were written or produced by a woman while 17 articles were by one or more man. That means women wrote 15 percent of articles or posts by authors of one gender or the other. One article was by a male and female and one was by staff.
- Between Oct. 31 and Dec. 2, the New Media Index included 23 articles that could be checked. No New Media Index report was released for the week of Nov. 14 to 18. Again the new iPhone or Apple products were in the news every week.
Here’s what we found in the stories that we monitored:
- In this month’s articles, women were 27.2 percent of sources. The articles contained 16 male sources and 6 female sources.
- Seventeen of the 23 articles, or 73.9 percent, contained no human sources. As has been found previously, all of those links were either to blog posts or posts from companies. Also, two articles featured only male sources.
- This month only two articles or posts were written or produced by a woman while 17 articles were by one or more man. In other words, women wrote 10.5 percent of articles or posts by authors of one gender or the other. Two articles had shared bylines between multiple males and females, one was by staff and one article’s author was not identified.
We only have one month to go in our year-long study of the New Media Index. We’ll be comparing the findings from August forward to those for the earlier part of the year to more clearly see the differences as a result of the change in the New Media Index’s methodology.
As we’ve discussed previously, August marked some changes to the New Media Index’s methodology, including the use of more sites to track the top stories as well as using a larger sample size and range of sources. (Read more about those change and the process here.) As a result, we’ve continued to notice changes in link diversity (particularly from blogs) and in topics, with more technology topics making it into the top five. So far this has meant a decrease in the number of sources and the percentage of female bylines.