Gender Inequality in News Reporting and the Ethics of a Diverse Newsroom

Open Access
Johnson, Shantelle Ursula
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Russell Frank, Thesis Supervisor
  • John Philip Sanchez, Honors Advisor
  • Women
  • Journalists'
  • Ethics
  • Inequality
  • Reporting
This research project seeks to examine news stories from the top three news networks to identify the roles female journalists play when reporting the news. The goal is to see if the use of female reporters has changed for better, or worse, or remained the same in the years since previous studies were done. ABC Evening News with Diane Sawyer, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, and NBC Evening News with Brian Williams were observed throughout the first two weeks of the month of January 2013, a total of 34 programs that were watched by more than 99 million viewers. The data compiled will show the numbers/percentages of female reporters, as well as the kinds of stories they are assigned to report on. Previous studies indicate that female reporters are more likely to cover human interest and health-related stories, while male reporters are more likely to focus on political stories. Preceding analyses also reveal that male experts are used remarkably more as news sources than female experts. It is important to reveal the gender inequality when looking at news sources because it has a direct effect on viewers, particularly the youth. If there is a systematic gender disparity in the news stories reported, there is a high possibility that the spectators will come to expect that only certain areas of news reporting are suitable for male and female journalists. Previous research indicates that newscasts given by female newscasters reveal patriarchal dominance in the news media. This system conditions young women especially to believe that women report only certain types of stories. It misleads women by constituting what professionalism means among reporters depending on their gender.