Building Trust: Gender and Inclusion in Media
United for News’ trust initiative in 2018 aims to increase the frequency that female experts are quoted in news reporting, guided by the understanding that news that reflects the makeup and viewpoints of the broad community accrues greater trust.
Trust in media begins with inclusion. When people feel that their issues are covered and their voices are heard, trust can flourish. However, women are underrepresented across the board in media, in newsrooms and in the news. Worldwide, only 27% of the top management jobs in the media sector are occupied by women. Globally, women hold just one third of full-time media positions, and even fewer work in ICT and media management positions.
Women and girls’ voices are often ignored and their lives are rendered invisible in the information spaces we all use to navigate our lives, make choices, and influence policy. Only 24% of the people we read or hear about in print, radio, or television news stories are women or girls, while even fewer are showcased as authorities or subject matter experts in news stories. Roughly 80% of the “experts” interviewed by the news media are men.
The Initiative: Amplifying Women’s Voices
United for News will build on work being piloted at Bloomberg LP, through their New Voices initiative. (Some of this work has not been publicly announced, but will be in the coming months). The organization and its leadership are deeply aware that women on-air experts are radically and regularly under-represented in their newsrooms around the world. To address this issue, Bloomberg is compiling a global database of women experts and pairing its launch with a requirement for all its newsrooms to increase the percentage of women cited in all stories. This is a powerful and relatively straightforward approach. While there are a range of existing lists of women experts, very few media organizations have taken the important step of requiring their reporters to utilize women experts in news.
To amplify Bloomberg’s approach and accelerate the adoption of their best practices, United for News will launch a global campaign, challenging additional media to increase the percentage that women experts are cited. The initiative will also build a toolkit with resources to help newsrooms track their progress, access expert directories and help female experts get the training they need to be interview ready.
Jennifer Cobb discusses the United for News Trust Initiative at the Global Philanthropy Forum 2018.
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