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“Men Appear Twice as Often as Women in News Photos on Facebook”

Onyi Lam, Stefan Wojcik, Adam Hughes, and Brian Broderick write:

A new study of the images accompanying news stories posted publicly on Facebook by prominent American news media outlets finds that men appear twice as often as women do in news images, with a majority of photos showing exclusively men. . . .

Researchers chose to study news images on Facebook because the site standardizes the presentation of news images and text across outlets. News posts that appear in social media feeds like Facebook feature large photographs and contain only a small amount of text and a link to a longer article. In contrast to other formats such as print media, the photograph in a Facebook post occupies more screen space than the accompanying text and is the main object that Facebook users see when they scroll through the news feed. Academic research based on data collected between July 2014 and January 2015 finds that Facebook users only clicked on about 7% of national news, politics and world affairs posts that they viewed in their news feeds. Previous research from the Center has examined how representations of men and women in Google Image Search results can sometimes be at odds with real world data. And academic researchers have leveraged similar tools to study the depiction of women in the news. . . .

The 17 media organizations included in the study were selected according to several criteria. These included: whether they conduct original reporting on general topics, whether they primarily covered national news rather than local news, whether the site was for a news organization based in the U.S., and whether their websites received at least 20 million unique visitors in the third quarter of 2018, according to data from Comscore. The study does not include media outlets that focus their coverage on one topic, such as business, politics, entertainment or sports. The study also excludes local media outlets. The full list of sites included in the study appears in the Methodology. . . .

They also break things down by topic:

I’m surprised that 17% of sports stories were exclusively women. I’d’ve expected this would be lower. I didn’t realize there was this much coverage of women’s sports.

Lots more at the link.

I wonder what Alison Bechdel would say here? I guess just that she’s not surprised.

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