New Media, Old Gender Bias? Open Access
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ABSTRACT OF THESISNew Media, Old Gender Bias? The topic of female portrayals in the news once garnered considerable public and academic debate. That discussion raised concerns over both the lack of female representation and the nature of female portrayals. During the past decade, there has been a complete upheaval of the media industry, and online news now serves exponentially more readers than print news. Despite this change, online news has not been thoroughly assessed in terms of its gender portrayals. The time has come to revisit the question of female images in the media to see if the advent of online news is affecting female representation. In this study, a 14-day sample of photos from the print front-pages and homepages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today were coded for the presence of female stereotypes, counter-stereotypes, and whether women were shown in leadership roles. An analysis of the individuals appearing in these images found that slightly more women appear in online photos than in print, but a greater proportion of these women play stereotypical roles. Online news does not seem to be countering female stereotypes more effectively than print news despite increased space for women to appear. In fact, digitization of the news has introduced new variables into the decision-making processes of the newsroom that may be a detriment to the appearance of counter-stereotypical females.