According to sources, a study by The Factual which is a California-based technology company states that women journalists have been making more credible news reports on COVID-19 when compared to men.
A political analyst at The Factual commented that: At least when it comes to coronavirus, female journalists have been more neutral in their tone. They’ve been better resourced, and they’ve overall just produced better articles.
The company studied 39,084 articles from 167 different news outlets. Out of these, women accounted for 45% of the total journalists and 41% of the publication output.
Using an algorithm based on the publication’s history of trustworthiness, the sources used writer’s work along with the tone of the story, The Factual, on the basis of this calculation, found women reporters accounted for 19 of the top 25 journalists & 58 of the top 100 for COVID-19 news.
Lucina Di Meco, a gender equality expert and also the co-author of the study shared that one reason for women performing better in fields like journalism, political leadership is because women not only have to be prepared but also overprepared for the same jobs as men’s. Sometimes even while being paid less for the job and are not even afforded any mistakes.
As compared to men, women tackle leadership in a more participatory sense while taking into consideration stakeholders. Di Meco added that:
And those are some of the same skills that are needed for a journalist to really shape a very good story that takes into account all the dimensions. So I definitely see parallels here.
Women still face obstacles related to salary, promotions, sexual harassment. The media industry has just one-third of women. And, this number further drops for women of colour. Out of these women who make the newsroom are rarely given any decision-making positions. When compared to men who are assigned topics related to national and international importance, women are given entertainment and lifestyle.
"I was spat on and called Coronavirus"- this young woman from Manipur had shared her story with me on #Mojo. Am happy to report that the man who did this to her has been found, caught and booked. https://t.co/101qiisS04
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) March 26, 2020
This results in women journalists refraining from engaging with readers, reporting certain issues and even considering dropping journalism. This, in turn, would lead to less diversity in newsrooms.
While the authors don’t imply the readers to only consume content made by female journalists on COVID-19. But it does leave us with a question if female journalists are underrepresented but make for some trustworthy news, what actually is the quality of the news that we are consuming?