Does Race or Gender Matter in News Reporting

14 Mar

JRN 380
Does Race or Gender Matter in News Reporting
Content Analysis of TV News – Detecting Bias &/or Stereotypes
Content analysis is a systematic method of analyzing the content of a message. Data collection
involves producing a quantitative description of the message under study. Findings are then
analyzed and interpreted according to some concept or theory.
Part #1: Select a local newscast, over the next few weeks watch 2 entire newscasts at different
times (morning, noon, evening or late night) on a weekday (Monday – Friday).
Part #2: Select a national news program, over the next few weeks watch 2 entire news
programs, choose different programs and times.
● For each program, record the roles of each person: sole anchor, co-anchor,
weathercasters; their gender; and their race (to the best of your ability). Identify the field
reporters as well.
● Track and list
in ordereach story reported during the newscasts. Give a brief
of each story.
● Identify the type of news each person is reporting – for example, local “hard” news
stories (serious, unemotional, timely or need to be reported now: politics, government,
business, military, disasters); local “soft” news or feature stories (more entertaining than
informative, not as immediate, often told from an emotional human perspective: the arts,
style, health care, parenting, women’s issues, celebrities); weather; sports; etc.
● Research the news station/network: Include background, history of the station/show,
identify the producers/editors (the “gatekeepers” in charge of setting the news agenda.
● For the local newscasts: research the station to determine the
coverage area. Find the
demographicsfor the coverage area: overall population, gender, race.
● Here is an example of the demographics for the state of Michigan:”http://ww
● Here is an example for the city of Detroit:”
● Here is a link to the U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts:″

Assessing your findings
● What percent of the anchors are men? What percent are women? What percent are
minorities? What percent of field reporters are men? Women? Minorities? What about
the in-studio sports anchors? Weathercasters?
● What stories do men cover? What stories do women cover? What stories do minorities
cover? Do you note patterns? Differences? What are those? Are there differences in
gender or race depending on the type of story being covered? Who has more “air time”?
● What’s your analysis? Based on the very minimal amount of information you’ve
collected, do you believe the station you analyzed does a good job of representing the
community it serves?
● Are the percent of anchors and reporters representative of the overall population of the
coverage area? Compare your statistics.
● Analyze what your findings might mean in terms of how well audiences are being served,
what sort of representation there is for men, women, and minorities and the types of
stories they’re doing. Perhaps one group covers more “hard” news and another more
“soft” news. Why might that be? Are there any stereotypical roles being played out?
Might we view one gender or race as better able to handle more “serious” news? What
might this say about social power?
Written Assessment
Draft your assignment in a Word doc and upload to BB or create directly in BB (if you
opt to create in BB, I suggest you copy/paste the text and save a copy in your computer.
It’s a good idea in case of any technical issues with BB. )
I’m looking for about 500-750 words. Use full sentences in analysis. Be sure to
proofread before submitting (spelling and grammar matter … this is a journalism class!)
Assignment points = 100 points
Due date = Tuesday, March 20 @ midnight

Example of information to be turned in:
Station: WNEM
Coverage Area:
Shows Viewed
5-5:30 Wednesday, Feb. 15 & 11pm Thursday, Feb. 16
5pm Wednesday, Feb. 15 newscast:
Co-anchors: Bill Blah (white male) and Debbie Dull (white female)
Weathercaster: Henry Hurricane (white male)
Sports anchor: Sam Splash (African American male)
Field reporters: Jessica Jolly (white female)
Ernie Emo (white male)
Introduction: Bill Blah (white male), co-anchor, introduced the program.
Story 1: Update on the Flint water crisis (hard news)
Bill Blah voiced over video footage (hard news)
Story 2: Local 9-11 memorial in Flint has been erected
Jessica Jolly reported on location.
Weather: Henry Hurricane
Sports stories:Sam Splash
Closing: Happy chat with Blah, Dull, Splash
11pm Thursday, Feb. 16 newscast:
[record similar info as above]
There were no sole anchors for either program.
5pm newscast:
Co-anchors: 1 male/1 female 50% male/50% female
Field reporters: 2 male / 1 female 66% male / 33% female
66% white (1 male/1 female) / 33% African American (1 male)
Weather ….
Sports ….

11pm newscast:
[same as for 5pm newscast]
2 newscasts combined:
Men tended to deal with more hard news. For example,….
Women ….
More men than women and more whites than minorities reported during the 5pm newscast,
which is generally recognized as the most important newscast of the evening….
Given that the population of the area is xx% white, yy% African American, and zz % Hispanic
The local population is dd% female and ee% male. Our group believes….
WEYI-TV (Flint, Saginaw, Bay City; NBC) (Mt. P. Charter, ch 4)
Weekdays: 6pm, 11pm
WNEM-TV (Saginaw, Flint, Bay City, Midland; CBS)(Mt. P. Charter, ch 7)
Weekdays: Noon, 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm, 11pm
WWTV (Traverse City, Cadillac; CBS) (Mt. P. Charter, ch 10)
Weekdays: Noon, 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm, 11pm
WJRT-TV (Flint, Saginaw, Bay City; ABC) (Mt. P. Charter, ch 11)
Weekdays: Noon, 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm, 11pm
WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek; ABC) (Mt. P. Charter, ch 16)
Weekdays: 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm, 11pm
WXYZ-TV (Metro Detroit) – live stream at
WDIV-TV (Metro Detroit) – live stream at
Fox Detroit (Metro Detroit) – live stream at

NBC Nightly News – (national) – full episodes
NBC Today Show – (National) – full episodes
CBS Evening News – (National) – full episodes
CBS This Morning – (National) –
ABC World News Tonight – (National)
Good Morning America – (National) –

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Posted by on March 14, 2018 in academic writing, Academic Writing



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