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The women in journalism

The purpose of the project The women in journalism is to study the situation and importance of women in TV news journalism in a historical perspective. The studied time period spans all the way from 1958, when the first news programme on Swedish television was broadcasted, to the deregulated TV environment in the late 1990s. The project aims at systematically studying the link between the perceived production conditions and the actual journalistic product.

News is a product that professional journalists, with limited resources and under time pressure, are expected to produce in order for it to be “sold”, in competition with other media, programme and alternative activities, to an audience. The design of the product is influenced by society at large but also by the organisational and editorial conditions under which the news is produced. A general notion upon which the project Kvinnorna i journalistkulturen is based is that these factors have changed over time and that they have differed between male and female journalists. The questions of how women and men have perceived the editorial conditions and how this has affected journalism constitute the very core of the project’s central problem formulation.

Journalists’ self-perception is central in the project, meaning how individual journalists create and perceive their professional identity and how this is expressed in their work. The journalistic product is an integral part of our shared culture and as a cultural product it affects and is affected by the society in which the journalistic process takes place. This also implies that what constitutes “female journalism” must be considered to be contingent on social and cultural factors and therefore subject to change over time. We therefore do not use any predetermined criteria (that do not change over time) for what defines “female” journalism but instead view what constitutes femininity in this context as an empirical question. This further means that in order to identify what is uniquely feminine in journalism we must also identify what is masculine. Although the study focuses on women, it is impossible to reach any conclusion about women’s conditions and journalistic practices without comparing them to those of men. For example, a newsroom culture can be restricting for both men and women.

The project is based on the notion that the TV newsroom culture has implied varying opportunities and limitations for the journalists working there, and that these conditions have affected the journalism conducted there. We further assume that the opportunities and limitations linked to the newsroom culture have differed between men and women. These differences are ultimately a matter of power, and therefore also of gender equality.

The project deals with the following main research questions:

What working conditions and positions have women and men had in TV newsrooms during different time periods, and what opportunities and limitations has this resulted in for the journalists?
Have news assessments and the forms of journalistic expression differed between male and female journalists during different time periods? If so, in what respects?
How have the editorial conditions for women affected the journalism and have the effects varied over time?

Page Manager: Mats Ekström|Last update: 7/25/2011

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