ASNE finds women still make up nearly 37 percent of newsrooms

Women make up about 36.9 percent of those working full-time at daily U.S. newspapers the American Society of News Editors reported today.

ASNE released key findings from its 2011 newsroom employment survey, which mainly focused on the fact that minority numbers plunged for third year in a row while newsroom employment increased slightly.

While the bulk of the organization’s report on its Newsroom Census focused on these issues, an updated gender breakdown was noted in its other findings. Women working full-time at daily papers totaled 15,400 and men accounted for nearly 25,300 in the survey. Minority women in the survey made up 19.3 percent of female staffers, while minority men accounted for just 10.8 percent of male staffers.

About 58.4 percent of daily print and online newspapers responded to this year’s survey. The report does note that responding newsrooms identified 1,581 journalists as working online only and broke out that 18.72 percent were minority. It did not specify a gender breakdown of those journalists.

In its Newsroom Census tables that include data from 1999 through 2010, ASNE shows that the percentage of women in newsrooms has remained relatively stable in that time period. It hovered between a high of 37.7 percent in 2006 and a low of 36.6 percent, which came in 2010.

For more studies and resources on gender in the news media, view our “Useful Resources” page.


New study: Women hold less than one-third of top news media jobs

A new global study released in March revealed that women currently hold 27 percent of top management jobs and 26 percent of governing jobs in the news media.

"The Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media"

The Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media” was put together by the International Women’s Media Foundation. It was released March 23 at the foundation’s International Women Media Leader’s Conference. The extensive study looked at roughly 170,000 people in more than 500 companies and nearly 60 countries.

The report is a 396-page PDF document available in full online. It provides breakdowns from seven geographical regions as well as findings from individual nations.

This first-time study was conducted over a two-year period with an aim to provide detailed data on gender positions in new organizations worldwide.

The study looked at information on occupational standings, salaries, terms of employment and a variety of other issues that affect gender status. The study looked only at traditional media including newspapers, television and radio stations, with newspapers making up almost half of the sample.

The study’s key finding was that 73 percent of the top management jobs were occupied by men, compared to women at 27 percent. Twenty out of 59 nations studied had identifiable “glass ceilings” for women in middle and upper management.

The report points out in the executive summary that a 1995 study by Margaret Gallagher showed women in only 12 percent of the management positions in 239 nations.

In positions that actually produce the news, the study found that women hold 36 percent of reporter jobs, or positions at the “junior professional level.” Interestingly the senior professional level, which includes anchors, senior writers and producers, has more parity with women in 41 percent of positions.

Those findings match other studies that have looked simply at bylines. “Who Makes the News? Global Media Monitoring Project 2010” also found similar results when it looked at authorship of articles culled on a given day in 2009. Overall, 37 percent of stories in the whole sample were reported by women.

A closer look at the United States

In the summary of the findings from the United States, the report shows that across the news media women make up 41 percent of the total work force. The study included 14 U.S. news companies, 10 of which were newspapers. They in total employed approximately 3,000 people.

In the U.S. portion of the study, women made up 23.3 percent of those in top-level management and 35.3 percent of those in governance. The study shows women at near parity with men at the junior professional level, or reporter positions, at 47.2 percent but not as close at the senior professional level at 35.7 percent.

It also identified a “glass ceiling” for women in U.S. newsrooms once they reach the senior management level. After that their presence drops from 41.5 percent to the 23.3 percent at the top-level management.

Coverage in the news

A number of news and industry sources picked up on the survey and reported and commented on it. Here are a few:

For more studies and resources on gender in the news media, view our “Useful Resources” page.

Gender and media: By the numbers

To give a starting point for readers of this site to understand what is known about gender representation in online and mainstream or traditional media, here’s snapshot of some of the numbers.

These figures come from the “Who Makes the News? Global Media Monitoring Project 2010.” This was the first time the study, which is released every five years, included Internet news as a pilot. The chosen day for the study was Nov. 10, 2009, and the study as a whole with all media platforms included media from 100 countries. Sixteen countries were included in the pilot study for online news based on their level of Internet access. The United States was not one of them, though some international news sites were.

Here are some of the numbers:

News subjects:
-24 percent of the people heard or read on traditional platforms like newspapers, television and radio were female in the sample.
-23 percent of the news subjects on the 84 websites monitored were women.

Story focus:
-13 percent of the news items in traditional media focus specifically on women.
-11 percent of the online news stories were centered around women.

-41 percent of stories reported on traditional platforms were by female reporters in the same countries as the Internet pilot. Overall, 37 percent of stories in the whole sample were reported by women.
-36 percent of the news stories in the online samples were reported by women.

-46 percent of the stories monitored in traditional media reinforced gender stereotypes, while only 6 percent challenged these stereotypes.
-42 percent of the online news stories were found to reinforce gender stereotypes and only 4 percent challenged them.

These statistics, and more detailed ones on each topics area offered in the report, seem to imply that online news sites follow the same vein as traditional news platforms when it comes to gender. However, it’s noted in the study’s executive summary that “the differences, some of which are statistically significant, point to a conclusion that Internet news is a format in which gender biases become not only more visible but even more concentrated than in the traditional news media.”

Those differences and their extent are some of the topics we hope to delve into further here at The Gender Report — specifically how they reveal themselves in U.S. online media in both news sites with roots in traditional media and those that are online only. Through our Gender Checks, we’ll be recording information similar to what was culled for the GMMP’s study on Internet news stories. We’ll see if our findings are similar.

Read the full report from the “Global Media Monitoring Project 2010” at