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Vol. 34, No. 4, Fall 2006

U. S. Journalists Now Fewer, Older; Field Not
Retaining Most Women Long-Term, Study Finds

The number of full-time journalists in the United States has dropped sharply over the last decade, particularly those working for daily newspapers and radio stations, according to a new book, The American Journalist in the 21st Century (Erlbaum, 2006).

According to the study, the big surprise in the study is that the percentage of women in journalism hasn't increased. They continue to account for about a third of all full-time journalists. The percentage of women with zero to four years of experience was significantly higher in 2002 (54.2 percent) than in 1992 (44.8 percent).

The authors note that the proportion of women journalists in each news medium has varied over the years, with the biggest overall jump for women in all news media occurring between 1971 and 1982-83. The 2002 data show a drop in the proportion of women across most media, with the exception of TV news, where women made up 37% of TV journalists in 2002, compared with 25% in 1992. The percentage of women dropped in radio, wire services and weekly newspapers from 1992.

RTNDA Survey Finds Mixed Results
For Women in TV, Radio News

The Radio-television News Directors Association’s latest figures on employment of women in broadcast news, released in July, are a mixed bag for women working in electronic journalism’s top jobs.

Television News Directors: Reversing a two-year drop, the percentage of women TV news directors rose to 25.2%, tying the third-highest level ever.

Television Station General Managers: The percentage of women GMs at stations that run local news fell from 17 to 15.2%.

Radio News Directors: The percentage of women radio news directors dropped from last year’s 24.7% to this year’s 20.4%.

Radio Station General Managers: At 12.2%, the percentage of women GMs plunged from last year’s 20.9% to below the level from two years ago – 13.4%.

FAIR Study Finds Lack of Balance,
Diversity, Public at PBS NewsHour

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, PBS's flagship news program, touts its "signature style-low-key, evenhanded, inclusive of all perspectives"; Corporation for Public Broadcasting ombud Ken Bode called it "the mothership of balance." But a new FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) study finds that the NewsHour fails to provide either balance or diversity of perspectives-or a true public-minded alternative to its corporate competition.

To evaluate the NewsHour's evenhandedness and commitment to the public interest, FAIR's magazine Extra! studied its guest list during the six-month period spanning October 2005 through March 2006. Among the findings:

  • People of color made up only 15 percent of U.S. sources. African-Americans made up 9 percent, Latinos 2 percent, and Asian-Americans and people of Middle Eastern descent made up one percent each. U. S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales accounted for more than 30 percent of Latino sources, while Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accounted for nearly 13 percent of African-American sources.

  • Male sources outnumbered women by more than 4-to-1 (82 percent to 18 percent). Moreover, 72 percent of U.S. guests were white males, while just 6 percent were women of color.

  • Public interest groups accounted for just 4 percent of total sources. General public-"person in the street," workers, students-accounted for only 14 percent, while current and former government and military officials totaled 50 percent of all sources.

You can read the full report at http://www.fair.org/noindex/NewsHour.pdf.

Sports Editors Group Issues First ‘Report
Card’ on Race, Gender in Sports Journalism

The first of its kind “2006 Racial and Gender Report card of the Associated Press Sports Editors,” covering more than 300 AP newspapers, was released in June at the APSE annual conference, establishing a set of baseline data for the industry. Among the findings:

  • White men and women comprised 88% of the total staffs of all APSE member newspapers.
  • Women made up 12.6% of total staffs of APSE member newspapers.
  • Women made up less than 7% of columnists at APSE member newspaper sports staff. Out of 298 columnists counted, there are 19 white women and 1 African-American woman.

Download the full report at www.bus.ucf.edu/sport/public/downloads/ 2006_Racial_Gender_Report_Card_AP_Sports_Editors.pdf.

Research in Depth: Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride: Portrayals of Women of Color in Bridal Magazines

Research in Depth: Gender Differences in Negative News Reception: An Evolutionary Psychology Explanation

Commentary: Bring Female Journalists, Newsmakers and Opinion-shapers to Front and Center

Plus News Briefs, People and Book Reviews

Media Report to Women has hard copies of back issues dating to its founding in 1972. Indispensable for research!

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