Byline Blog, June-July, 2011

Hi, it’s social media and byline blog intern Larkin Bailey, writing with the results from the survey I conducted this past month. I am a rising sophomore at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in Political Science and Writing Seminars, born and bred here in New York City.

For the past month I have been documenting eight news outlets—chronicling the number of opeds written each day, recording the number by women on their site, and the topic the women chose to write about. I selected four traditional outlets—The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, and four new (online) outlets—Slate, Salon, The Huffington Post, and the Daily Beast.

At the close of my research conducted from June 19 to July 15, I found that the online outlets had a much higher percentage of pieces by women, than did the traditional newspapers. The percentages of women at each source amounted to: NYT (18.49%), WSJ (15.93%), LAT (29.3%), WP (18.10%), Slate (35.7%), Salon (30.1%), HP (29.76%), DB (32.20%). The graph is posted below:

When comparing the data to the survey performed six months ago, it is clear that traditional outlets are performing pretty much the same, some slightly lower. In my research, the LA Times proved to publish significantly more pieces by women, than did any other traditional outlet, which is interesting due to the accusations of sexism they encountered from columnist Susan Estrich a few years ago. Below is the graph made by former intern Gus with the results from her survey conducted from October to December, 2010. Her statistics proved similar to mine—NYT (15%), WP (24%), WSJ (18%), HP (22%), DB (22%), SA (20%):

In addition to the graph documenting the number of women, I made a graph with the percentages of women writing on a chosen eight topics—politics, science/health, business, culture, sports, women, education, the international arena. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming amount of women wrote on the topics of women and “culture,” making up 43.2% of the graph. The next highest category was politics at 29.2%, then the international arena with 12.37%, science/health at 8.52%, business at 4.06%, education at 2%, and finally sports at a staggering 0.6%. The graph with these results is posted below:

It is evident that the traditional outlets publish the least amount of pieces by women, while the online outlets are steadily increasing the number of women’s voices in public conversation.


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