About Our Research
At Women in Journalism we believe that the media has to be a reflective mirror of society, not a distorting lens. If the journalists reporting and the editors/producers making the decisions are unrepresentative of the audience they serve, then distortions will inevitably result. Over the last 25 years we have seen huge strides in the representation of women in our industry although the current situation is by no means perfect.
We regard informing and leading the debate by researching major issues of concern to our members and our industry as a key part of our remit – most recently with an analysis of the front pages of all the major newspapers, which revealed the differences in the way men and women are written about (and photographed) by the press; and how many of the main news stories are written by women journalists.
While progress has been made since – there are now five female editors of national newspapers – this research also revealed that across all the papers, the backbench – which decides where stories are placed and how they are presented – was an almost entirely male preserve.
Our current project. Launched in July 2020, will investigate the current injustice of the lack of ethnic diversity in media – in 2016 a study published by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and City University of London found that journalists were 94% white. There is little reason to believe anything much has changed since – and many of the biggest media groups currently do not even measure these figures.
WIJ has acquired some funding from TESCO to finance research accurate current numbers to act as a benchmark for improvement. We are asking all of our flagship news outlets (the top 30 in the UK by audience) how many BAME and BME and black reporters they have on staff, also how many editors/producers of different backgrounds. We shall also be monitoring how many reports over a week are actually being delivered by journalists from more diverse backgrounds. We are very grateful for the support of gal-dem, who will be helping with anonymised personal accounts of what it is like to be non-white at our biggest news outlets in 2020.
We would be really grateful for any support you can give us. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Eleanor Mills, WIJ chair