I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories - The Atlantic


54 bookmarks. First posted by farley13 13 days ago.


Here’s what I’ve learned, and why I did it. In December 2015, I wrote a story about the potential uses of the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. That piece, based on a conference that I attended in Washington, D.C., quoted six men and one woman. via Pocket
Pocket 
2 days ago by driptray
I tracked how I was doing in a simple spreadsheet. I can’t overstate the importance of that: It is a vaccine against self-delusion. It prevents me from wrongly believing that all is well. I’ve been doing this for two years now. Four months after I started, the proportion of women who have a voice in my stories hit 50 percent, and has stayed roughly there ever since, varying between 42 and 61 percent from month to month. And of the 312 stories I’ve written in that two-year window, only 7 percent feature no female voices. (This figure excludes the small number of stories that feature no voices of any gender.)



Note that this call to ignore gender and find the best sources almost always arises when journalists talk about including more female voices. Where is this ostensible concern about quality when it comes to news stories that predominantly quote men—which is to say, most news stories? Absent, because as Adrienne noted in her piece, this vein of criticism implicitly assumes that the best source is not a woman. It suggests that the status quo, in which men are overrepresented, is one in which the best sources are already being found.

I doubt it is. We don’t contact the usual suspects because we’ve made some objective assessment of their worth, but because they were the easiest people to contact. We knew their names. They topped a Google search. Other journalists had contacted them. They had reputations, but they accrued those reputations in a world where women are systematically disadvantaged compared to men.
6 days ago by celine
Here’s what I’ve learned, and why I did it. In December 2015, I wrote a story about the potential uses of the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. That piece, based on a conference that I attended in Washington, D.C., quoted six men and one woman. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
6 days ago by sperte
In light of today being the International Day of Women and Girls in Science:
WomenInScienceDay  from twitter_favs
8 days ago by dalcrose
I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories http://ift.tt/2E4JmIw via Instapaper February 9, 2018 at 03:07PM
IFTTT  Instapaper  Reread  from instapaper
10 days ago by jesse_the_k
As Kathy English, the public editor of the Toronto Star , said , resources like these go “a long way to make obsolete that eternal excuse for overlooking women’s voices: ‘But I couldn’t find a qualified woman.’ Indeed, she exists and she is ready to be heard.” U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said the law would affect “freedom of speech and academic inquiry.” The leadership of Warsaw’s POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews issued a critical statement . Certain Democrats were or remain convinced that the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email-server case—from then-Director James Comey’s condemnation of her “extremely careless” behavior to his late-October letter briefly reopening the investigation—was intended to hand the election to Donald Trump. Arthur Jones now prefers the term “white racialist,” he told The Atlantic —and even if he loses in November, his ability to share his extremist views has already been buoyed by a series of dramatic failures that led him to the ballot in the first place, from a state party unable to recruit an alternative candidate in a highly partisan district, to voters signing ballot-access petitions without paying much attention. I n January of last year, around the time of the presidential inauguration, as jitters about the relationship between Donald Trump and China mounted, I regularly joined the mob of reporters at the Chinese foreign ministry’s daily briefings in Beijing.
11 days ago by sechilds
In December 2015, I wrote a story about the potential uses of the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. That piece, based on a conference that I attended in…
from instapaper
12 days ago by triley60
I found that ratio in my work, too. Shortly after Adrienne published her analysis, I looked back at the pieces that I had published in 2016 thus far. Across all 23 of them, 24 percent of the quoted sources were women. And of those stories, 35 percent featured no female voices at all. That surprised me. I knew it wasn’t going to be 50 percent, but I didn’t think it would be that low, either. I knew that I care about equality, so I deluded myself into thinking that I wasn’t part of the problem. I assumed that my passive concern would be enough. Passive concern never is.

I’ve since been trying to actively redress the balance, by spending more time searching for women to interview.
longread 
12 days ago by rosscatrow
Here’s what I’ve learned, and why I did it. In December 2015, I wrote a story about the potential uses of the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. That piece, based on a conference that I attended in Washington, D.C., quoted six men and one woman. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
12 days ago by joostw
Achieving something like gender parity in sources through spreadsheets and just making the effort.
journalism  equality 
12 days ago by mr_stru
male journalist discusses what he learned
women  journalism 
12 days ago by reginalawrence
Skeptics might argue that I needn’t bother, as my work was just reflecting the present state of science. But I don’t buy that journalism should act simply as society’s mirror. Yes, it tells us about the world as it is, but it also pushes us toward a world that could be. It is about speaking truth to power, giving voice to the voiceless. And it is a profession that actively benefits from seeking out fresh perspectives and voices, instead of simply asking the same small cadre of well-trod names for their opinions.

Another popular critique is that I should simply focus on finding the most qualified people for any given story, regardless of gender. This point seems superficially sound, but falls apart at the gentlest scrutiny. How exactly does one judge “most qualified”? Am I to list all the scientists in a given field and arrange them by number of publications, awards, or h-index, and then work my way down the list in descending order? Am I to assume that these metrics somehow exist in a
gender  journalism 
12 days ago by dsongman
In December 2015, I wrote a story about the potential uses of the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. That piece, based on a conference that I attended in…
from instapaper
12 days ago by flobosg
I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories
from twitter
12 days ago by kejadlen
This piece on gender imbalance in science journalism by @edyong209 is very good.
gender  journalism  science 
12 days ago by jtth
I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories via Instapaper http://ift.tt/2E4JmIw
13 days ago by cgbrooke
Here’s what I’ve learned, and why I did it. In December 2015, I wrote a story about the potential uses of the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. That piece, based on a conference that I attended in Washington, D.C., quoted six men and one woman. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
13 days ago by Werderbach
... and, in the most part, succeeding
13 days ago by miss_s_b
Favorite tweet:

This piece reminds me of a time I assigned a writer to do a profile of a woman scientist with a fascinating job. When the writer filed, the profile was of a man instead. https://t.co/0VbJS0nrqf

— Kashmir Hill (@kashhill) February 6, 2018
IFTTT  Twitter 
13 days ago by chetan
RT : Writers, please read this thoughtful, careful piece by my colleague :
Record-keepin…
from twitter_favs
13 days ago by pfctdayelise
RT : Diversity, inclusion & equity. Iin the words of , "Do better." did better. via
from twitter
13 days ago by esjewett
Here’s what I’ve learned, and why I did it.
13 days ago by Pasanpr
In December 2015, I wrote a story about the potential uses of the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. That piece, based on a conference that I attended in…
from instapaper
13 days ago by kohlmannj
In December 2015, I wrote a story about the potential uses of the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. That piece, based on a conference that I attended in…
from instapaper
13 days ago by mathewi
The Atlantic's is one of my favorite science writers, and this is one reason why:
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13 days ago by ebuchholtz
In December 2015, I wrote a story about the potential uses of the gene-editing technology known as CRIPSR. That piece, based on a conference that I attended in…
from instapaper
13 days ago by aviflax