The quantitative monitoring

First, the study collects quantitative (i.e. numerical) data. This part of the project provides a detailed picture of the numbers of women and men in the world’s news, the types of story in which they are found, the roles they play in the news etc. This information is compiled for every news story monitored. For each of the mediums - television, radio, print, internet and Twitter news - a monitoring guide sets out the areas in which information is needed and the range of answers possible. Monitors are asked to choose a number (or ‘code’) that corresponds to their answer, and to enter this code on a coding sheet. Each Monitoring Guide takes monitors through two step-by-step examples, showing exactly how to select the codes for each news story. 

Each of the Monitoring Guides - and each of the Coding Sheets - is slightly different, because slightly different information is needed for each medium.

The qualitative monitoring

Second, the numbers, or quantitative data, that are generated by the project tell only part of the story. For instance, we might find that women appear in 10 percent of stories about politics. But how do these stories actually portray women? In fact a story about a female politician may fall into as many stereotyped clichés as a story about a beauty queen. To get a more complete picture of news content, the quality of the coverage needs to be analysed. This is the qualitative aspect of the monitoring. We make a detailed study of some news stories to illustrate basic patterns in the news reporting.

Analysis is the responsibility of the national and regional coordinators - and for this, detailed instructions are found at the end of the monitoring methodology guides package. Every individual monitor however is asked to help identify suitable stories for further analysis. The final question in each of the Monitoring Guides gives guidance on what to bear in mind as monitors work through each news item.

Stories that may be useful for further analysis are forwarded to the national/regional coordinator.

Who reports the news?

What percentage of stories in print, television and radio newscasts are reported by women?

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