Men were favoured over women as sources of news in Vuvuzela this year, following a national and global trend.
The informal research process involved looking through the news stories of Vuvuzela from March 4 to September 23. It includes the first three pages of 18 editions as well as the deep captions on pictures.
In total, there were 141 articles and 359 sources, of which 24 were unnamed. Each source was categorised into gender and race and whether they were an expert on the issue or not. Men appear to have been favoured as news informants as they account for 56% of sources, while women account for 37%. Unnamed sources are responsible for the remaining percentage.
Research manager at Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), Wellington Radu, believes Vuvuzela has represented more women this year than the global average. He says the 2010 Global Media Monitoring Project shows female voices and opinions stand at 23% of global sources. Male experts were also quoted twice as often as their female counterparts.
“Women are sometimes reluctant to speak publicly for reasons ranging from lack of confidence to a lack of trust or experience with the media,” said Radu. However, he said, it is debatable whether this is true at Wits because of a higher education level of women as opposed to the national average. Students could qualify as experts if they had a skill in the subject of the article and eyewitnesses were also counted in this category. Experts in general were also preferred overall as 169 were quoted, against 122 students.
Radu said he was disappointed that more experts were spoken to as students outnumber lecturers and heads of departments. However, the fact that students were sometimes counted as experts on a topic could skew this result. Black students were quoted significantly higher than other students at 87 out of 122, with the next closest group, white students, standing at 20.