Media Still Dominated By Mad Men Mentality, Study Says

A comprehensive study by the Women’s Media Center revealed that 62 percent of newsprint bylines were written by men.

The report used 49 different platforms and showed how a snapshot into how assignments are distributed in today’s newsrooms. Other credits in television, online and wire news were also more likely to be attributed to male journalists.

“Inequality defines our media, said Julie Burton, President of the Women’s Media Center. “Our research shows that women, who are more than half of the population, write only a third of the stories. Media tells us our roles in society – it tells us who we are and what we can be. This new report tells us who matters and what is important to media – and it is not women.”

The Women’s Media Center used America’s 10 most widely circulated newspapers, the national evening news broadcasts, the most-viewed Internet news sites and two international wire services for the study. Data was collected over a three-month period.

The only three outlets that achieved or exceeded parity were the Chicago Sun-Times, The Huffington Post and the two anchor chairs at PBS Newshour. The New York Times and the Denver Post were the newspapers with the widest gender gap, with women receiving only 32 percent of the bylines at both papers.

When I read the WMC results, it reminded me of a project I worked on a few years ago. I was fresh into my program at SIUC then and I looked at the front page editions of the campus newspaper during a four-year period. The ratio varied, but I remember one semester where the front page bylines were something like 3 to 1 male to female.

The WMC results are also not surprising. Some of the same issues were also brought up in their State of the Media report that was released last year. The same disparity has been reported here and here. And also here. It is important for the media to have a collective diversity to make sure different kinds of voices are being heard.

To find out more, check out the Women's Media Center.

The Women’s Media Center was founded in 2005 as a non-profit progressive women’s media organization by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem. The website is 
Women are still underrepresented in media in 2015. (Graphic courtesy of WMC)

Women are still underrepresented in media in 2015. (Graphic courtesy of WMC)