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New York Times Cites Men 3.4 Times More Than Women

Topics: Current Events

A survey of the New York Times’ front page stories showed that men dominate both the bylines and sources quoted in those stories. Since men greatly outnumber women in the newsroom that should come as no surprise.

(Photo credit: Josh Shlabotnik / Flickr)

Earlier this year, some University of Nevada, Las Vegas, students examined 352 front-page articles published in the NYT between January and February this year to find that the paper of note quotes 3.4 times as many men as it does women, even in fields considered more female-dominated like style and the arts.

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In all, just 19 percent were women, while 65 percent were men and the remainder of unidentified gender (as in anonymous sources, institutions and “spokespersons”).

Poynter Institute reached out to the Times’ first-ever female editor-in-chief, Jill Abramson, who referred them to Associate Managing Editor for Standards Phil Corbett.

“I’m not surprised that there is a significant discrepancy between male and female sources,” Corbett tells Poynter by email. “But I am disappointed to see just how big the gap is, and how pervasive it is across various types of stories.”

The numbers show a need to push the Times toward greater diversity, he adds.

Women in the newsroom perpetuated the man-quoting trend, too, notes feminist website Jane Dough. Of the 96 stories penned by female reporters, guys got twice as much ink as women. Of course part of that problem stems from the fact that men also dominate positions of power, the sources reporters need to quote.

Which means that, at best, “hiring more female reporters could help lift the Times’ sourcing ration from terrible to just bad,” Slate’s Amanda Hess remarks.

But gender quotas aren’t the only answer. Braintrusts exist that help connect journalists to female experts for their stories, namely The OpEd Project, SheSource and the POWER Sources Project.

Tell Us What You Think

What do you think newspapers should do to ensure more diversity in sourcing ratios? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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Jennifer Wadsworth
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