The Inequality in News Coverage

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While reading several articles this week on gender and the media, I was presented with many different issues of inequality ranging from the female representation on television shows to the misrepresentation of women by the law in India. It struck me that I felt surprised. Surprised that in today’s society there is still so much discrimination towards women.

One article written by Clementine Ford on Daily Life  mentioned the ‘pretty dead white girl syndrome’. This concept identifies the likelihood that crimes involving pretty, middle class, white women will receive more news coverage than women who for example are from a lower class. Ford talks about Jill Meagher, who worked for the ABC and was 29 when she was murdered and how her death led to nationwide coverage and a protest in Melbourne. Ford compares this to Johanna Martin, a 65 year old sex-worker, whose death received  far less exposure. 

Tara McKelvey, on a BBC news article comments on this concept stating “they are people who we view as being like us”. This comment suggests that it is not only the news companies reporting who are responsible but it is the general population who have a stronger reaction when the victim is ‘just like them’. Ford addresses this stating that Melbournites felt as though Meagher was “one of us” and so maybe the news companies were simply reporting on what they knew would spark more public interest.

The subject interested me as it highlights inequality between women instead of between women and men. Ford argues that if all murders, rapes or attacks of women were given the same media attention, regardless of the woman’s class, age or lifestyle, they may occur less and laws may be tightened.  The media will always be slightly biased and the general public will always be more interested in what they feel a connection to but maybe it’s time for some more diversity?

what do you guys think?

References:

♦Ford, C, 2013, ‘How did we led Adrian Bayley happen?’, Daily Life, http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/how-did-we-let-adrian-bayley-happen-20130613-2o67f.html

♦Mckelvey, T, 2013, ‘Cleveland abductions: Do white victims get more attention?’, BBC News magazine, http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22441124