Do Women in the Newsroom Make a Difference? Coverage Sentiment toward Women and Men as a Function of Newsroom Composition
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Positive or negative media coverage may have important consequences for individuals’ lives and ability to succeed. One potential factor that may affect the tone of coverage, in particular for women, is the gender of newsroom managers. Some scholars have suggested that women in key editorial and managerial roles should have a positive effect on the overall coverage of issues in the news, and specifically on the coverage of women. We used fixed effects regression to analyze panel data on the coverage sentiment of 212 U.S. newspapers from various cities and states between 2004 and 2009 to examine the effects of the gendered composition of newsrooms on coverage tone for both men and women. Our results showed that individuals with female names receive more positive coverage than those with male names do in every section of the newspaper. We also found that increases in female representation on newspapers’ editorial boards resulted in coverage for women that is moderately more positive. However, there is no evidence that under female executive editorship coverage sentiment favors women. Our findings are consistent with the work of gender sociologists and media scholars who have highlighted the media’s rigid gender structures and their resistance to change.
KeywordsMedia Editors Gender Coverage Sentiment Gender composition
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