In a recent study, the dumb, white male of the press corps at The Wall St. Journal beat out the female, black and Hispanic members of the profession at The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and USA Today in an online poll of more than 2,500 news professionals.
The study was commissioned by the National Association of Broadcasters and commissioned by a group called The American Press Institute.
Of the three organizations, The New Yorker and The Washington Post were the only ones to make it into the study, which surveyed reporters in print, online and in person.
In an email to reporters, David Axelrod, the president of the American Press Association, said, “I think it is fair to say that, as a society, we have had the opportunity to become a more diverse, more inclusive and more democratic society.”
While The New Republic and The New Hampshire Union Leader were not included in the study because their articles did not have to be written for the study to take place, both organizations did make the cut.
And the results were mixed.
“In a word, we weren’t very good,” said Scott Wong, the managing editor at The Nation, an online newspaper and a news source.
When it came to gender, the results varied widely.
On the whole, men and women were equally likely to write a story, and when it came down to the male versus female front-page headline, the female editors were more likely to get the big headlines.
But the men also tended to get more positive coverage, as did women writers in particular.
One thing that seemed to have an effect on the composition of the newsrooms was the percentage of female editors.
More than half of the stories in the Journal were by women, while nearly two-thirds of the articles in The New Orleans Times-Picayune and The Associated Press were by men.
Women were much more likely than men to be featured on front-pages, but only slightly more likely overall.
Another interesting finding was that there was more female participation in a lot of the research.
For instance, The Washington Times was the only one to include a female scientist in its list of the top 100 reporters of 2017, with more than two-fifths of the staff women.
Even so, The Journal’s female reporters were still more likely in some areas to get a good story than their male counterparts.
Among the topics covered by female reporters in 2017, more than half were economic news, while fewer than half covered the environment.
There were also less women working in finance and less women in the business newsrooms.
So while the data shows that women have more power, and the women have less influence in the newsroom, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are less capable.
While it’s clear that women can write more opinion pieces, they also have a higher propensity to write bad news.
It seems that the bias is not just a result of being female.
Researchers found that women were more inclined to focus on stories about people they were familiar with, which could skew their stories.
They also had higher rates of being “disrespected” by colleagues and less inclined to be open and honest with their peers.
Still, women are far from being the sole arbiters of what is and is not newsworthy.
If a news organization truly wants to diversify its workforce, they should start with hiring more women.
Follow Jill on Twitter: @jillsteinDC