Men still dominate at national newspapers, a view from the trade press

// 4 March 2011

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Stark figures about the dominance of men in the newsrooms of our national newspapers were released yesterday, in a report commissioned by Women in Journalism.

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Women still make up only a third of reporters and editors in the national newspapers

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Financial Times employs the largest number of female journalists of any nationals

Some of the other headline statistics:

  • 74% of news journalists are men, whilst women make up just one third of journalists covering business and politics. Just 3% of sports journalists are women
  • Traditional subjects that women might have been expected to dominate are also covered by men, with male journalists now making up 49% of lifestyle reporters and 70% of arts reporters
  • The Independent had the lowest proportion of female staff, employing 25% women, followed closely by The Sun (26%) and the Daily Telegraph (26%)
  • The Daily Mail and the Observer had the highest proportion of female journalists, both employing 36% women, closely followed by the Daily Express (35%)

It is interesting that the Daily Mail has recruited the largest proportion of women to its newsroom – but has this aligned its reporting with women’s interests? It’s probably the most frequently criticised of the UK nationals for its treatment of issues such as rape and its frequent stories criticising women’s bodies in lurid terms. Some feminists refer to it as the ‘Daily Male’. Women are still far from a majority in its newsroom at only 36%, yet it is in percentage terms the least ‘Male’ of the nationals.

I work for a trade magazine, covering fairly specialised financial stories – a beat which in the nationals is overwhelmingly covered by men. Our newsroom is at the moment roughly equal men & women (our Americas editor is a woman, and we have one other woman editor, although she is on maternity leave right now). Meanwhile, I know plenty of excellent female reporters working these beats at other publications as well.

When I did my MA in journalism studies at Westminster, my classes were overwhelmingly full of women, with only a couple of men on the course. So, what is happening in between j-school and the nationals, to produce this divergence still? Are women going into PR jobs instead of reporting? Diverging into other careers?

Comments From You

Sarah AB // Posted 6 March 2011 at 7:49 pm

I wonder – and I read a somewhat similar piece recently on Liberal Conspiracy – whether the lack of women on national newspapers is partly explained, or compensated for, by the number of women in magazine and book publishing.

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