Women lag behind men in covering campaign, except for social issues

The 4th Estate

Here's a little more data to go along with the Women's Media Center study, announced Tuesday, that said most campaign coverage has been written by men. The 4th Estate project examined print media coverage after April 15 and found one topic of coverage on which female journalists enjoyed near-parity with their male colleagues: social issues.

That rubric "includes issues such as abortion, contraception, and women’s rights," the 4th Estate says. But...

Interestingly, despite this higher percentage of women as ‘storytellers’ on Social Issues, this does not translate into a balanced representation of female newsmakers (sources quoted in the articles) within these stories.

Earlier this year the OpEd Project released a study of opinion-page writing in late 2011. "In both legacy and new media, women tended to write a lot of stories on 'pink topics' — food, fashion, family and furniture," my coworker Mallary Tenore wrote at the time.

It's hard to characterize much of the 4th Estate's topics as "pink," though, and "Character" stories, it says, were written far more by men than women. "Education" stories have been such a small part of campaign coverage it's actually quite difficult to see the gender breakdown on this graphic. I cranked up my computer's magnifier tool for readers who lack bionic vision, and, yep, men had a nice edge on those stories, too.

Related: Glamour snags interview with President Obama (WWD) | Candy Crowley will be the first woman to moderate a presidential debate in 20 years (Poynter)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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