When it comes to credible news coverage, women are better on average than men, data from The Factual reveals. The online platform analyses how credible a story is, on the basis of diversity of sources, factual tone of writing, author’s expertise, and more. Though the organization had found back in April that eight out of 10 top journalists covering COVID-19 stories were women, it has now released a report that says of 40,000 credible articles about COVID-19, on average, those authored by women were more credible.

In the top 25 journalists who covered the most credible stories on COVID-19, 19 journalists were women. Even out of the top 100 most credible journalists, 58 journalists were women.

Also Read: Women In Media Have Come A Long Way In Claiming Their Legitimate Place

Women Journalists More Credible Than Men On Average 

According to the data by The Factual, of 39,084 articles from 167 media outlets that they analyzed, women made only 45 percent of the journalists who covered five or more articles on COVID-19 from January 01 to May 14. This means men covered around 60 percent of stories around COVID-19 in these 135 days. But still, articles covered by women journalists amounted to a major proportion of the most credible articles.

For every two articles authored by women, three are authored by men. But when it comes to credibility, women journalists have an edge over men.

Also, in the top 25 journalists who covered the most credible stories on COVID-19, 19 journalists were women. Even out of the top 100, 58 journalists were women. When it comes to the credibility scores for all sorts of articles, men scored an average of 63.5 percent, whereas women scored an average of 65.2 percent. Women’s reporting is also one of the most in-depth and informative during this pandemic.

Key Takeaways:

  • Women journalists are more credible than men journalists on average and they also dominate the list of top 100 most credible journalists
  • Even in the articles apart from the COVID-19 ones, women journalists still have an edge in credibility over men.
  • However, women are also more vulnerable to online harassment and are more likely to express concerns for their own well being as a result of reporting. 
  • Women are also underrepresented in newsrooms, with men forming the major chunk of journalists. Despite this, the most credible pieces come disproportionally from women journalists. 
  • Of 39,084 articles from 167 media outlets that they analyzed, women made only 45 percent of the journalists who covered five or more articles on COVID-19

Underrepresentation Of Women In Journalism

The report also highlighted, how, despite being the most credible voices, women are still underrepresented in journalism. Though the report is US-based, the situation in India is at par with the underrepresentation of women in journalism statistics. A 2019 UN report titled ‘Gender Inequality in Indian Media’ found that while 26.3 percent top jobs were held by women at online portals, TV channels employed 20.9 percent and magazines 13.6 percent women in leadership positions in journalism. In fact, none of the samples that were analyzed had a woman boss.

“The media today is largely male-dominated in India and across the world. Women are often assigned to cover ‘soft beats’ such as Lifestyle and Fashion while men predominate in the ‘hard beats’ of politics, economy, and sports,” the report said.

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