If you’ve never heard of the Women’s Media Center, you should check them out; they’re trying to push back against the tendency of mass media to be dominated by men and male writers. Case in point:
The study found that men wrote 55 percent of sexual assault stories while women wrote only 31 percent. (Another 14 percent of the stories did not contain bylines.) The yearlong study looked at 12 major print outlets from 2014-2015 and showed that 48 percent of the quotes in these stories were from men, while 32 percent were from women. (An additional 11 percent were from organizations and 10 percent from sources whose gender was unknown.) The gender disparity is even more glaring in sports stories referencing sexual assault or in stories written by sports reporters — eight of 12 news outlets had zero bylines by women.
That has consequences for how those stories are written.
The research found that the writer’s gender appeared to affect how stories were told: Women journalists interviewed alleged victims more often than male journalists, and a higher proportion of women journalists wrote about the impact of the alleged attack on alleged victims: 40 percent of women journalists covered this versus 33 percent of male journalists. On the other hand, a higher proportion of male journalists used quotes about the behavior of or impact on the alleged perpetrator than did female journalists — 35 percent versus 32 percent.