Study: Despite Rising Numbers Of Female Journalists, Men Dominate News Bylines

Data from a new report by the Women’s Media Center on the state of women in U.S. media are sobering. While there are more women than men in journalism programs and colleges, they represent just 41.7% of newsroom employees.

“The media is in a state of great disruption, but despite all the change, one thing remains the same: fewer women report the news than men,” Julie Burton, WMC president, writes in the foreword of the nearly 200-page report, called “The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2019.”

Founded in 2005 by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, the WMC is a feminist organization that “works to ensure women’s realities are covered and women’s voices are heard.”

The data for the new report was collected between September and November 2017.

At news wires like AP and Reuters, 69% of the bylines of articles over 500 words go to men, “by far the biggest gender gap in news media,” according to the study.

Across all media platforms, men received 63% of bylines and credits and women received 37%.

Some 60% of online news is written by men, 40% by women; and 59% of print news is written by men, 41% by women, according to the report.

Editors of the nation’s 135 most widely distributed newspapers were overwhelmingly male and white, according to the Columbia Journalism Review’s “Who’s the Boss” analysis, released in March 2018 and cited in the WMC report.

Of those top editors, 73% were male and 90% were white.

Interestingly, a record number of women are working in TV news, the report notes.

WMC looked at eight of the largest online news sites, including HuffPost, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times, Vox andMSNBC.

HuffPost, Vox and MSNBC had roughly 50% of their bylines going to women.

At NYTimes.com, men got 67% of online bylines, women 33%.

WMC also looked at A-section article bylines at 14 print newspapers, including: Arizona Republic, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, New York Post, Dallas Morning News, The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Jose Mercury News, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and USA Today.

The widest gender gap was at USA Today, where 69% of A-section articles were written by men, 31% by women, according to the WMC report.

The narrowest was at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where 52% of A-section articles were written by men and 48% by women.
Overall, women wrote 41% of A-section articles and men 59%.

That’s better than last year’s study, when women wrote 38% of A-section articles.

Men also dominated coverage of a wide range of topics, including international, sports, tech, crime, arts and culture, policy and weather.

But at online news sites, 53% of lifestyle and leisure news coverage credits went to men, 57% to women. 41% of health news coverage credits went to men, 59% to women.

And at print newspapers, females accounted for 58% of health coverage bylines, and 52% for lifestyle/leisure coverage.
At newswires, it was 50-50 for lifestyle and leisure news coverage.

Of entertainment news, 65% of coverage is by women, so is 58% of education news coverage.

“If women’s voices are not in the media, including women of color, as journalists, broadcasters, image makers, media creatives, bloggers, and authoritative sources — and also, if matters that affect women’s lives are not being covered, women are not seen as crucial in the culture,” Steinem said at WMC’s Women’s Media Awards in November.

“When women are present — in front of and behind the camera, running newsrooms, creating media companies — stories do get told that would not otherwise be known,” she added.

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