The gender of those delivering the news on the front pages of American newspapers and on network television in 1992 is overwhelmingly male, according to Women, Men and Media.
The non-profit research organization in Los Angeles has been studying the news media since 1988. Earlier this year, the group analyzed 20 newspapers and the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS and NBC television.
Its findings are nothing new, because women usually are absent from front pages and network TV news, both of which are filled with white men in navy blue suits.
But just because we've heard it before doesn't mean women shouldn't demand to be visible and to have equal shots at the best media jobs.
In a recent newsletter, Women, Men and Media says the absence of visible females implies a threat of "symbolic annihilation" of women.
"The distortion or absence of women in the media affects their roles in society," the newsletter reports.
Here are some of the results of the study:
* Women were referred to on front pages only 13 percent of the time during February. Men were referred to 87 percent of the time.
Even in stories of great importance to women, such as breast implants, the Mike Tyson rape trial, denial of abortion to a 14-year-old Irish rape victim, Supreme Court rulings on sexual harassment, the Olympics and welfare cutbacks most of the sources quoted were male.
* Female writers had 34 percent of the front-page bylines. Women were depicted in front-page photos only 32 percent of the time.
* In television broadcasts, men reported 86 percent of the news stories. And males were used to comment on news events 79 percent of the time.
Does gender make a difference in reporting? Isn't a good reporter a good reporter?
Women, Men and Media believes an all-male perspective is limited and that female reporters have something to contribute.
Let's pretend for a moment that, instead of men, female journalists are doing the interviews for important news stories. Here are some examples of the difference it makes:
Story: Several studies of men with heart disease, many of them conducted by researchers with federal grants, show that taking aspirins daily may be helpful.
Question by female reporter: Why aren't women included in your study? In fact, why are women excluded from most government-funded health research?
Story: Ivan F. Boesky, a billionaire until he was sent to jail in Wall Street's junk bond scandal, is asking his wife, Seema Boesky, who has filed for divorce, to pay him $1.04 million a year in temporary alimony.
Female reporter: Mr. Boesky, is that money you originally transferred to your wife to avoid paying taxes?
Story: Brazil's president, Fernando Collor de Mello, has named a new Cabinet composed of men over the age of 50.
Female reporter: Why didn't you appoint any women, regardless of age?
Story: Many plastic surgeons have vociferously defended the "right" of women to be able to have silicone-gel breast implants, despite that Dow-Corning Corp. has ceased the manufacturing and sale of the implants and the FDA will allow their use only for reconstructive surgery for cancer patients and in closely monitored cosmetic surgery.
Female reporter: Dr. Plastic Surgeon, how much do you charge for breast implant surgery?
Story: President Bush has announced he is planning to take steps to prevent unions from using money collected from non-union workers for political activities those workers oppose.
Female reporter: Does this mean that the millions of people who disagree with your veto of spending federal money to pay for abortions for poor women will get a tax refund?
Story: After being accused of benefiting financially from the influence of her husband, Bill Clinton, governor of Arkansas and Democratic presidential hopeful, attorney Hillary Clinton, commenting on the prejudice against women with careers, said, "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas."
Female reporter: Ms. Clinton, do you have a good recipe for brownies?