In Print World, Political Coverage is Manly Business
A new study reports that over 70% of 2012 presidential campaign coverage in leading print dailies is written by men.
Via the 4th Estate Project:
Print election coverage since April 15th, the unofficial start to the general election (Santorum dropped out on April 12th), has been brought to us mostly by male journalists. 72.1% of print articles written on the election since April 15th were written by men and just 27.9% were written by women. During the GOP Primary, the ratio was slightly more skewed toward male journalists. From January 1 – April 14, over three-quarters (76.2%) of election print articles were written by men while only 23.8% were written by women.
At Pacific Standard, Vince Beiser looks at the numbers and says that while his gut reaction is to “sniff disdainfully at the way women continue to be treated as second-class citizens in the news media,” there’s something deeper going on. He points out that women head the New York Times (Jill Abramson) and Newsweek (Tina Brown), and are among the top editors at outlets like the AP and Reuters. Then, of course, there’s Arianna Huffington. In the end, he asks, “Could it be that at least part of the numbers disparity is because there are just more men than women who want to be campaign reporters?”
At Slate, Emily Bazelon gives an answer:
At least part of it? Most definitely, along with the other usual explanations, like mentoring and subtle signals about who is good at what. Campaign coverage is travel heavy and grueling. If you’re the primary parent, which more women still are, you’re less likely to volunteer for it. I say this as someone who gave up her chance to go to both the GOP and Democratic conventions this year for Slate. I’m not the primary parent exactly: My husband and I pretty much share. But he’s an academic, so this is a crazy time of year for him. I thought to myself: Do I really have to go? Politics isn’t my main thing. And I decided, as I did in 2008, that the answer was no—and then when I realized that Slate’s coverage of the conventions will be light on women who are on the scene, I felt predictably bad about it.
Caveat: The study, with data gathered by The 4th Estate Project (methodology here) looks at 35 leading daily newspapers. It does not take into account online news organizations.
Caveat to that Caveat: Known brands such as the print publications in this study are also among Americans’ leading online sources for the news.
Image: A Closer Look: Who’s Writing Nine Newspapers’ Presidential Election Coverage by the Women’s Media Center. (Select to embiggen)