Is TV news women’s work?

Is TV news women’s work?

Is the content-creation side of network TV news dominated by women? I realized the other day that every time I hear about a network news producer, that person is a woman.

The most famous current example would probably be Mary Mapes, who was the producer on the “fake but accurate” National Guard George Bush memos in 2004. Do a Google search on the topic and almost every time a producer is mentioned, it’s a woman.

Why is that?

Is there something about the job that attracts women to it? Is it really this dominated by women? And, if it is so gender-unbalanced, does that affect how the news is produced?

I wish I could get these questions answered. Hmm.

  • I suppose one might ask the same question regarding Major League Football, Basketball, the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, the Supreme Court of the United States.

    Please elaborate!

  • What? For one thing, I think it’s obvious why football and basketball are dominated by men. Are the legislative and judicial branches dominated by women?

    What is there for me to elaborate? I said that it seems to me that TV network news is dominated by female producers and I want to know if that is correct.

  • To the extent it helps, Laura Dykes, a Public Policy Fellow at the Pacific Research Institute, states on their website that nearly two-thirds of news producers are women and in New York, the nation’s largest TV market, women run half of the competitive local TV newsrooms.  “According to the Missouri School of Journalism . . . in 1972, a paltry three of the 630 news directors were female. In 1994, half of news anchors were women.”  I haven’t seen any data that suggests that this gender imbalance affects the way news is produced, but it wouldn’t surprise me any more than learning that the gender imbalance in the police force affects the way the law is enforced.  Needless to say, the hierarchy of most churches are very gender imbalanced as well.

  • I’ve heard Jay Severin – former political campaign advisor, now radio talk show host in Boston, also talking head on MSNBC – say that TV news producers, at least at the networks, look at a few major newspapers every morning, eg, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles ?Times, the Boston Globe, and take their cues from what those publications are reporting.

    If a profession or organization is predominated by one sex or the other, it would stand to reason that the way the work gets done, or the focus of the work, would be influenced to some degree. For example, I can think of a few orders of nuns that focus on teaching small children, and it used to be nuns that ran orphanages. Priests on the other hand tend to focus more on adults. Staying with the example of education, the Jesuit institutions are college and graduate school level, not grammar school level. I would think that most Catholic institutions of higher learning are run by orders of priests, not nuns. 

    It can feel alienating to know that an organization is dominated by the opposite sex. I think that’s true for both men and women. Some women feel alienated from the Church due to the all-male priesthood and hierarchy. I don’t agree with the remedies that some propose, such as female priests or simply not going to Mass any longer, I guess mostly because Christ Himself chose 12 *men* to be His Apostles, but I can relate to how those women feel, especially if they’ve had an upsetting experience with a particular priest.

    Interesting thread ~

  • Perhaps the remedy should not be to force a more gender-balanced environment, but to ask, as Domenico seems to be doing in his initial post, whether the gender imbalance affect decision making or policy making to the detriment of one group, or in other detrimental ways, and if so, how to correct that.  The practical problem then is that these decision makers aren’t motivated to ask these kinds of questions of themselves.