When ideals meet deadlines: Counting the way towards gender balance in student journalism at Humber College

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Purpose - This study aims to determine whether the regular measurement and sharing of
    source-diversity rates in a college newsroom will result in student journalists changing how they
    seek interviews in order to achieve the goal of a 50:50 balance of male and female sources.

    Design - The study adopts a mixed-methods approach, using a 25-week content analysis
    of all stories published to a student website to track the gender balance of sources used by
    Humber College journalism students. It also uses a pre-and-post online survey to assess student
    attitudes toward gender balance, source diversity and reporting strategies.

    Findings - The study found Humber College students achieved very close to a 50:50
    gender balance (47.8% female, 51.3% male, 0.8% non-binary), a significant achievement
    compared to professional Canadian newsrooms. Students facing daily reporting deadlines were
    most likely to respond to the measurement results and change their reporting routines. At the
    same time, there is little evidence it was effective for students not facing daily deadlines. Surveys
    showed student journalists express overwhelming support for source diversity and gender
    balance in the media they produce and consume.

    Research implications - This study contributes to the study of gender representation in
    journalism and source auditing by analyzing how reporters respond to learning about newsroom
    diversity measurements. It also contributes to the limited research into the differences between
    student and professional newsrooms. The findings will be helpful for reporters, journalism
    instructors or newsroom leaders looking to introduce source diversity auditing into their media

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Research Material
  • DOI
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International