May 29th, 2013


Gender Balance in News

Open Gender Tracking Project is a software program that collects digital content from news sources and analyzes gender balance within news organizations. The project was created by Irene Ros and Adam Hyland of Bocoup and Nathan Matias of the MIT Center for Civic Media

The program collects data on who is writing the articles and who the articles are written about. It also measures audience response data directly associated with specific articles (like how many times a post is shared in social media). The goal of the program is to make news sources aware of content diversity (or lack thereof) so organizations can work toward maintaining a balanced set of voices.

For the most part, women are currently being underrepresented in digital media. 

Via Guardian:

In the UK, newspaper front pages rarely include women, and women write a minority of articles. Women are prominent at the Daily Mail, where they write most of the celebrity news, fewer news articles, and almost no sport. Even when publications do include women, they’re often at the mercy of their audiences. 20% of Telegraph opinion articles are written by women, but women’s opinion articles attract only 14% of the Telegraph’s shares and likes on social media.

And according to studies done by the Women’s Media Center, in both legacy and newer news sites, women are too often relegated to writing about “pink topics” like fashion, relationships, and food, rather than urgent and/or international issues.

On a positive note, Global Voices, an international citizen media news site, is one of the only news organizations currently known to have equal gender participation. According to The Guardian, 764 women wrote 51% of all articles from 2005-2012. 

Related: Gender balance is the new rage. I just wish somebody had spread the word to the Wikiverse: Wikipedia Bumps Women From ‘American Novelists’ Category. — Krissy

Image: Screenshot of graph from Open Gender Tracker

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