This study is theory-based: Feminist media theory maintains that news work practices, themselves, are gendered, characterized by male ownership and control of media and female invisibility and marginalization in the profession” (Moniz, 2016). Historically, women would write soft news of importance to women, and men would write hard news of importance to women (Moniz, 2016). Though some CSU student newspapers are pushing these gender boundaries by not adhering to such practices, many student papers can improve by meeting both the needs and interests of their audiences without reinforcing gender stereotypes. As a class, we feel that it should be a goal of all media sources, such as college newspapers, to distance themselves from an entrenched male-oriented narrative, especially when most CSUs have more female students than male students. Keeping in mind the shortcomings of a very small sampling and occasionally unidentifiable gender of our data, sample conclusions from our research include:
- The majority of author bylines covering school sports are predominantly male by a 62%. According to our data, women are the dominant gender in the photography bylines by 46% in comparison to the male’s at 31%.
- However, men are the top newsmakers in the sports category by attaining over 67% of the pool of athletes and sports-related individuals, more than doubling the percentage of women appearing.
- Although sports authors are primarily men in all the studied CSUs except Chico, the opinion section of the universities (except Chico and Fullerton) had more women authors than men, while CSU Fresno and CSU San Marcos had a 50/50 split on women and men authors.In terms of newsmakers, Humboldt State was the only Sports section that had more females than males by 4-1 (80%-20%.) San Francisco State also had more female newsmakers than male but only by 1 (44%-46%). CSU Bakersfield, CSU Chico, CSU East Bay, CSU Fresno, CSU Northridge, CSU Fullerton, Cal Poly-Pomona, San Diego State, Cal Poly San Luis-Obispo, and CSU San Marcos had more male newsmakers than female newsmakers.
- In the opinions section, gender preferences are less clear. Some newspapers, such as San Diego State’s The Daily Aztec have only women writers within the time frame, while the Golden Gate Xpress has a more equal divide between the genders.
- Although this may seem like an overwhelming male percentage, it is similar to a 2014 survey of all categories that yielded 62.2% male bylines to 37.8%. Reflecting the national average of all categories suggests that student papers are equal in their gender byline coverage of Sports. While mainstream newspapers have an overwhelming percentage of male writers in the Sports category, student online papers mirror the general statistics of journalists as a whole.
- We also looked at enrollment figures: In Fall 2015, the CSU system total enrollment consisted of 55 percent female students. Proportionately, however, more male students write about sports and are covered in sports articles; for instance, disparity is seen at Fresno State’s The Collegian considering that nearly 60% of enrolled students are female.
- In Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Mustang News, the sports section features more male written articles than females, and more male students are written about than female students.
- Out of the five stories published in the sports section of San Francisco State’s Golden Gate Xpress, there were 44% male newsmakers, 46% female newsmakers, and 10% undetermined. However, in the opinions section, 74% of newsmakers were male. Although more females were written about in the SFSU sports section, all the stories were written by males; in addition, 80% of sports photos focus on women.
- The Lumberjacks sports section had a total of 5 published stories, with one female author (20%) and four male authors (80%). Male authors wrote about an array of topics such as sport teams, sport events, to a rock climbing competition; in contrast, the one female author, Desiree Back, wrote about a female dancer.CSU Chico also had a 57% rate of female authors compared to 42% of mail.
- The Chico State Orion had more male authors (73%) and newsmakers (83%)and featured more hard news such as, “CSU faculty strike shows college turning into business”, “Homelessness deserves real solutions”, “Chico police are out to get students”, “Mass media is too liberal” “The CFA strike ends as it should”, “The future is here with Tesla’s Model 3, and “College becoming too competitive”.
- In contrast, female Orion reporters focused more on being a woman on campus, with headlines such as “Best roommates ever”, “Commitment: The college epidemic”, “Class attendance should be optional”, and “Let’s get physical!”
- However, although women were less likely to be authors in The Orion’s opinion section, they did write the majority of stories in the sports section (58%), 11 of the 19 sports stories. Only 22 percent of the people identified in these sports stories were women.
- At CSU East Bay’s The Pioneer, women only composed 2 of the 8 sports stories (25 %) and 22 % of the newsmakers were female; in contrast, 60% of sports stories were CSUEB had 60% of their sports stories about men and 75% were written by men. about men and 75% were written by men. Headlines by female authors include: Stop pitting women against each other on social media, Cover up your bodies ladies, show off your brain, and Should men carry feminine hygiene products?
- In The Collegian, men wrote 88 % of opinion articles. Most photographs do not include a description and rarely describe the person in it. Moreover, not many women are featured in photos where they are described.
- In The Poly Post, women reporters’ bylines in the Sports category are devoid of gender-specific terminology. They tend to focus on straight facts and write about men and women newsmakers similarly. Headlines by both men and women student authors are comparable, factual, and do not show evidence of gender. Evidence suggests that the probability of male/female newsmakers in the sports category is based simply on whether that sport is being played during the analyzed random week sampling, rather than focus being on the male sports teams.
- This seems similar in the opinions category of The Poly Post, as men and women writers opine about topical current events and controversies. Both genders tackle issues important to them as individuals, and do not seem gender-specific. Out of the 11 total online papers, 90 articles in the sports category yielded 70% male bylines and 32% female bylines with 7.78% being attributed to an uncertain gender.
- The Daily Aztec of San Diego State had 60% male bylines and 64% male newsmakers.