Who makes the news in 2010? The Global Media Monitoring Project
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Only 24% of the people seen, heard or read about in the world news media are female, as the Global Media Monitoring Project research in 108 countries has uncovered, despite appreciable change since the project began 15 years ago. The world seen in the news media remains largely a male one.
The report Who Makes the News? The Global Media Monitoring Project 2010 was released on 29 September 2010 in Arabic , English, French and Spanish, along with numerous regional and national reports.
The report presents findings from 1,365 newspapers, television and radio stations and Internet news sites, 17,795 news stories and 38,253 persons in the news monitored in 108 countries last November.
The research has found that female reporters are responsible for 37% of stories now, compared to 28% fifteen years ago, and their stories challenge gender stereotypes twice as often as stories by male reporters.
Gender bias in Internet news is similar and in some respects even more intense than that found in the traditional news media.
The global, regional and country reports are now available at www.whomakesthenews.org.
(Excerpt from the report)
Title: ‘Berlin evokes the triumph of liberty: World leaders past and present meet in the German capital to celebrate the ‘peaceful revolution that changed the world’ ‘
Source: Las Provincias, Newspaper, Section International, p.29.
This newspaper article describes the official ceremony hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The article mentions that set against the backdrop of the Brandenburg Gate, the evening featured songs by Placido Domingo and speeches by the current leaders of the Allied powers that occupied Germany after World War II, Gordon Brown of Great Britain, Dimitri Medvedev of Russia, Nicolas Sarkozy of France, with the presence of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the United States of America. Quotes from the speeches by Gordon Brown and the video-broadcast of a speech by the absent Barack Obama were followed by quotes from Merkel and the current German President, Horst Kohler praising ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl, Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush Sr. for their roles in the ‘peaceful revolution’ out of communism.
In this newspaper article the transmission of gender stereotypes is subtle yet noticeable. First of all, only two women are mentioned among the names of eight or nine men, a bias reflective of the higher presence of men in politics and hardly the fault of the journalist. However more subtle portrayals of gender stereotypes intrude upon the article: while Merkel is named as the principal host of the ceremony as Chancellor of Germany, she is not quoted until after Gordon Brown and Barack Obama. This would seem to have more to do with her gender as a woman than her position as Chancellor. Further, Merkel is described in emotive terms, as ‘carrying the melody’ and pronouncing an ‘emotional message’. Merkel is pictured holding an umbrella and squeezed between Sarkozy and Medvedev who do not appear to be holding umbrellas and appear stoic in the face of the rain. This image could be read slightly differently, though: Merkel holds her own umbrella above her head while it might appear that the two men rely on assistants behind them to shelter them from the rain. Other gendered stereotypes abound: Hilary Clinton is described as ‘breaking with the rigid protocol’ of the male dominated ceremony by presenting a video-message from Obama in his absence. Clinton herself is not quoted. The description of the arrival of the male German President Kohler escorted by soldiers suggests military rigidity. Finally, although the president commends the ‘ordinary people of Germany’ for the ‘peaceful revolution’ and for taking down the wall that separated East and West, he claims it all would not have been possible without the three ‘visionary states-men’, Bush, Gorbachev and Kohl at the helm of the USA, USSR and West Germany at the time. Placing credit for historical processes in which millions of people participated simultaneously, in the last instance, on the ‘great men’ serves to undermine the importance placed on the same ordinary women and men.
Despite the rise of women to positions of political power, such as Merkel in Germany, Michelle Bachelet in Chile, and Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, women, even powerful women, continue to be represented in the media in the shadow of archetypical ‘great men.’