Editor’s note: In January 2011, we set out to examine the ways in which women are represented in online news both as sources and as authors. To mark our first year here at The Gender Report, we’re revealing our findings from our year-long studies as well as other statistics and commentaries in a series of posts. View other coverage of our one-year anniversary here.
A low article count in December’s monitoring of the New Media Index resulted in few female bylines and sources.
December’s monitoring marked a full year of monitoring the top articles of the web based on links provided in the Project for Excellence in Journalism‘s weekly New Media Index roundups. Findings from the year will be released later this week.
For some background, 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. For the purposes of our study, we’ve focused on the top five in the blogosphere. 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 in the 12th month:
- Between Dec. 5 and Dec. 30, the New Media Index included only 11 articles that could be checked. No report was released for the week of Dec. 12-16. The same review of the Asus Transformer Prime appeared in all three weeks in which there were reports. In the week of Dec. 5-9, no link was provided for the No. 5 topic of the 2012 presidential race. Likewise, no link was offered for the No. 5 story of drunk history humor video in the week of Dec. 19-23.
In the stories we monitored, here’s what we found:
- Women were 15 percent of sources in December’s articles. The articles contained 17 male sources and 3 female sources.
- Only 3 of the 11 articles contained human sources. Two of those three had only male sources. The vast majority of the sources came from one article, the only by a female author.
- One post was written or produced by a woman while nine articles were by a man. One company post did not identify a specific author.
This low number of sources overall and small percentage of female bylines has been a trend since the New Media Index’s methodology underwent changes in August. As we’ve mentioned previously, these changes included the use of more sites to track the top stories as well as a larger sample size and range of sources. (Read more about those change and the process here.) As a result, we’ve also continued to notice changes in link diversity (particularly from blogs) and in topics, with more technology topics making it into the top five.
Check back later this week for the results of 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.
To look at past months’ findings as well as other statistics on gender and the online news, visit our findings and statistics page.