Women in the news frame : an investigation into the representation of women in television news : an analysis of SABC2, SABC3 and e-tv news.
The aim of this research is to investigate the representation of women in South African television news by closely comparing the three stations; e-tv, SABC 2 and SABC 3. The news bulletins that were recorded over a week (seven consecutive days), for each station were measured and compared to find out the presence of men and women as workers for news production; as news reporters and news readers as well as news subjects. Theories of news and feminist media are strong points from which the study is informed. The feminist media theories highlight the sexist ideology of media content and addresses issues of how television news positions the female news subjects. Theories of news on the other hand emphasize the question of what is news and aids the understanding of why women are represented the way they are in news as they stress the nature of news as a human construction that is shaped by the world. Together these theories used in this research highlight the background of the ideologies underlying the coverage and representation of both men and women as news sources. The findings of this research confirm the assumption that news is designed for male audience by having more men than women as newsreaders and reporters and also by having a remarkable dominance of men as news subjects over women. All the three stations; e-tv, SABC 2 and SABC3 are dominated by men in the newsroom. With affirmative action policy in South Africa, which was designed to uplift the image of the previously marginalised, especially women, the number of women as window dressing has increased. However, when looking for news sources, women are still not considered reliable and embodying reason, trustworthiness and knowledgability. Male experts occupy all fields of knowledge from politics, terrorism, and economics to science and medicine, from literature to technology, law, sports and environment. Of all the social actors who were covered in news, the presence of men outnumber that of women with the majority of 80.9% compared to 19.1% of women.