Gender & CSU Student Newspapers

GOAL: Evaluating the Treatment of WOMEN Reporters and Newsmakers

As part of our CSUEB Summer 2016 class about media and gender, we studied CSU online student newspapers.  Using content analysis of published pieces between April 1 – April 15, 2016, we coded for female/male bylines and newsmakers in both text and photos.

Student researchers include: Ynez Adsuara; Ken Belangel; Brenda Brown; Peter Cardin; Calvin Castro; Megan Fontana-Juarez; Anna Hartwell; Jessica Huerta; Julia McBee; Eva Miller; Ahmedya Nazari; Andrew Newton; Laura Nunes; Lorena Orozco; Taylor Pagan; Jackson Pasquini; Elizabeth Rankin; Kelsey Remos; Monique Robles; Morsal Sahibzada; Melanie Sharp; Jaskaran Sihota; Sabrina Smith; Katherine Victoriano; and Ian-James Vitaga.

Here’s how we set up our study: (Thanks to the Center for Media Literacy!)

WEEK 1: PREPARING. Everybody read standard project instructions to know what’s coming!

WEEK 2: COLLECTION. Everybody was assigned to a specific school and either the sports or opinion page (the most consistent sections of the student newspapers) to begin monitoring media. During this period, students pulled up their assigned section and pasted all stories into one Word document.

WEEK 3: CONTENT ANALYSIS CODING. Each student researcher read all the stories, using different colors to highlight specific attributes.

  • Bylines: BLUE and RED to mark male (blue) and female (red) bylines.
  • Newsmakers in TEXT: PINK and GREY to mark references to men and women as newsmakers (proper names only – no pronouns) in photos, headlines, captions, and stories.
  • Newsmakers in PHOTOS: In tallying photographs, counted the total number of photographs and the total amount of times one or more females appear in the pictures. For example, a page might contain three pictures: One of a building, one featuring a group of men and women, and one of a woman alone. In this case, women are represented in 2/3rds or 66 % of the photos on that page.

WEEK 4: REPORTED INDIVIDUAL RESULTS. After marking the stories, students did the math to figure out the percentage for each category. This gave the percentage of bylines of women, representation of women in photographic coverage, and references to women. This process also included counting the total number of bylines and dividing the number of female bylines by the total.

  • Used the same procedure to find the ration of male and female newsmakers.
  • Used results from Week 3 for your results about photographs.


After reading all team’s results, patterns emerged. After compiling results from week 4,  student researchers created analyses so readers will know why this data is important. For instance:

  • When women make the news, what is it usually about?
  • What kinds of stories do women reporters get to write about?
  • What adjectives describe the women shown in photographs?

Here is the rough summary of all headlines, broken down by sports/opinion for each university: first-collection-of-headlines-week-5 And here’s the first draft of initial tallies: week-5-compilation-of-all-gender-study-results. (Our final results took into account the missing research for some schools.)

Week 6: FINAL ACTION: Follow-up!

Final memos were composed and sent to contacts (editors and faculty advisors) for each CSU. Here’s a summary of our findings!