Women as news sources

Women do not make it into news stories as sources as much as men do.

That is the basic finding of a new study conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The basic finding is probably not surprising, but what is impressive and important is how widespread and consistent is the tendency of journalists to use men rather than women as sources of information.

The study looked at 16,000 news stories in 45 different news outlets. Researchers coded the gender of the sources quoted in the stories and found that “men are relied on as sources in the news more than twice as often as women.”

This is the case despite the fact that news organizations have made efforts to get more women into the ranks of reporters and editors and women are taking more active roles in business and public life. “The numbers suggest that the representation of women as sources in the news has a significant distance to go towards reflecting their role in American society generally,” the study says.

(Posted May 24, 2005)

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Jim Stovall, a retired journalism prof, is now a novelist, self publisher, watercolorist, gardener, woodworker and beekeeper -- among others things.

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