A Q-study of the effects of Novy Kanal reporters' gender on their preferences in coverage of gender neutral issues
It has been established that regardless of the fact that journalism in not a one-gender- profession anymore, news is still defined from a male perspective. A number of studies through the years examined the news content and determined that it continued male.Though news veterans acknowledge significant changes in m coming of women to the newsrooms, those changes sometimes are hard to detect on the personal level. Male and female reporters claim that even though gender can affect their approach to reporting, the final product they produce does not have gender marked on it. The present Q study is examined whether gender has an influence on reporter’s preferences in choosing a topic while covering gender-neutral issues. The participants of the study were 17 employees of the major Ukrainian TV channel "Novy Kanal.” In February of 2003 they were e-mailed 50 story ideas (constructed to include either two of five news values, such as magnitude, conflict, oddity, prominence and impact) and asked them to sort them according to their desire to cover these topics. Fourteen journalists and three editors responded. In May 2003 the sorts were analyzed with the PQMethod program, and three factors emerged representing three groups of people (Maximalists, Conservatives and Commoners) with different attitudes toward gender-neutral issues. The Maximalists, the largest group consisted only of reporters, were a sensation-oriented group of people. Magnitude and conflict were the most important news values for this factor. The Conservatives were characterized by the strong inclination towards official news, where conflict and impact played an important role. The Commoners preferred the human interest stories with oddity and impact.Each group consisted of an even number of men and women, and thus the study failed to support the notion that males and females share different attitudes toward neutral issues. No discrimination was evident toward women stories on the “Navy Kanal” TV channel. Surprisingly, men were more likely than women to choose active participants or acted as newsmakers.The findings suggested that it is women who are creating problems for the feminist movement, not men. Women correspondents at "Novy Kanal" are more immersed in patriarchal values than their male colleagues.