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Women are outnumbered and underrepresented in the news industry, research finds

Women get fewer bylines in print and online and less time on air than men by a considerable margin, a new study by the Women’s Media Center finds. The report, The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014, was released today revealing that men receive 63 percent of byline credits in print, Internet and wire news.

The PBS NewsHour was singled out as a media outlet where female anchors deliver the majority of the news on air, but the report found our format to be the exception to the rule. Men anchor the news across all networks 60 percent of the time.

The report is accompanied by an infographic that summarizes the numbers, which were culled from 27,000 pieces of content produced from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2013, “at 20 of the most widely circulated, read, viewed, and listened to TV networks, newspapers, news wires, and online news sites in the United States.” Online, the Huffington Post is credited with nearly achieving gender parity in its bylines, while the New York Times displayed the widest gender gap among daily newspapers.


Former Washington Post ombudsman Geneva Overholser summarized the motivation for the survey:

“These findings confirm an ongoing truth that is not just disappointing, but unfortunate for all of us in so many ways,” said Geneva Overholser, who is a Women’s Media Center board member, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and former ombudsman for The Washington Post. “News media are at their best when they call upon the wisdom of all the people whom they serve, when they reflect everyone’s experience and bring in the hopes and dreams and fears of every sort of person. When media are overwhelmingly male (and still, alas, overwhelmingly white), they just aren’t anywhere near as good as they could be.”

PBS NewsHour executive producer Linda Winslow is quoted in the report speaking about this organization’s leadership role in producing news with a diverse and qualified team of journalists, led by anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff.

More than their race and gender, Winslow [said], what won Ifill and Woodruff their current roles was their track record as consummate professionals. “Gwen and Judy have been the heart and soul of ‘NewsHour’ for years. It’s wonderful to … give them an opportunity to provide even more input on the content and direction of the show,” Winslow said. “They were named co-anchors because they are the best qualified journalists.”

View the complete report online.

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