Women with the pen: female journalists’ role in political coverage

According to an Women’s Media Center, The 4th Estate Project calculated “… that from the presidential primary period (January 1 to April 15) to the general election (April 15 to August 25), 72 to 76 percent of newspaper stories covering the 2012 presidential election were written by men.” Concerning, right? Vince Beiser (pacificstandard.com) says maybe it isn’t a cause for alarm; “Today, many of the people who decide which reporters get to cover elections are women.The top editor of the world’s most respected news organization, The New York Times, is a woman. The top editor of Newsweek – still one of the nation’s most widely-read news magazines – is a woman. The top editors of AP and Reuters Thomson Digital – women.”

Nevertheless, Emily Bazelone (slate.com) argues that this disparity might because of the disproportionate number of women who play the role of primary parent — following the campaign trail is simply not an option for them. However, she goes on to note, “… the female print journalists who do cover the campaign write disproportionately about social issues ‘such as abortion, contraception, and women’s rights.'”

So is the lack of female political journalists partly to blame for the unproductive, negative coverage we see coming out of these media vendors? Possibly. The study done by the Women’s Media Center excludes blogs and opinion columns, mediums where Bazelon believes you can find more young women working than in traditional print publications. Come back next week as we go beyond how many female journalists there are working, and dive into “pink ghetto” — the content trap women have been stuck in since they were allowed to produce media.


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