Current Issue Summary

Vol. 50, No. 3, Summer 2022

Thumbnail summaries of this issue’s major articles:

Film Criticism Losing Female Scribes

Over the last two years, the percentage of women film critics declined, with male reviewers now outnumbering females by more than two to one, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.  In the opening months of 2022, men made up 69%, women 31% and nonbinary individuals 0.3% of film reviewers in the U.S.  For women, this represents a decline of 4 percentage points from 2020. The decline of 4 percentage points over the last two years has implications for the critical assessment of films with female protagonists and visibility of films directed by women.

Trust, Interest in News Waning as Global Turmoil Increases

The Reuters Institute in the U.K. is out with its 2022 Digital News Report and it finds that news consumers are turning away from news all around the world.  According to Senior Research Associate Nic Newman, “Last year’s report contained some positive signs for the news industry, with higher consumption and rising trust amidst a second wave of Coronavirus lockdowns. Many traditional news brands seemed to benefit not just from greater attention, but also financially, with more people taking out online subscriptions and advertisers looking to associate themselves with reliable content. A year on and we find a slightly less optimistic picture. While a break-out group of primarily upmarket news publishers across the world report record digital subscription numbers and growing revenues, more broadly, we find that interest in news and overall news consumption has declined considerably in many countries while trust has fallen back almost everywhere – though it mostly remains higher than before the Coronavirus crisis began. We’re also seeing news fatigue setting in.”

Pew Research Measures Journalists’ Outlook, Attitudes, Concerns

A survey of 12,000 journalists by the Pew Research Center between February and March 2022 finds that seven-in-ten journalists surveyed say they are “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their job, and an identical share say they often feel excited about their work. Even larger majorities say they are either “extremely” or “very” proud of their work – and that if they had to do it all over again, they would still pursue a career in the news industry. At the same time, however, journalists recognize serious challenges in the news media more broadly. Indeed, when asked to describe their industry in a single word, nearly three-quarters of journalists surveyed (72%) use a word with negative connotations, with the most common responses being words that relate to “struggling” and “chaos.” Other, far less common negative words include “biased” and “partisan,” as well as “difficult” and “stressful.” Additionally, journalists do not think enough is being done to increase diversity on news staffs and in reporting efforts. More younger journalists express this view.

U.S. Local Newspaper Journalism on the Ropes, Northwestern Study Confirms

The State of Local News: The 2022 Report from Northwestern University is a heartbreaking assessment of what has been lost as U.S. newspaper journalism continues to contract. Newspapers are continuing to vanish at a rapid rate. An average of more than two a week are disappearing. Since 2005, the country has lost more than a fourth of its newspapers (2,500) and is on track to lose a third by 2025. Even though the pandemic was not the catastrophic “extinction-level event” some feared, the country lost more than 360 newspapers between the waning pre-pandemic months of late 2019 and the end of May 2022. All but 24 of those papers were weeklies, serving communities ranging in size from a few hundred people to tens of thousands. Most communities that lose a newspaper do not get a digital or print replacement. The country has 6,377 surviving papers: 1,230 dailies and 5,147 weeklies.

Research in Depth: Doxxing v. Journalism – An Argument for Vulnerable Audiences by Jade Metzger-Riftkin

Research in Depth: Scrolling Your Way to a Warped Sense of Self: Body Image, Social Media and College-Aged Females by Jaden Jennings

Analysis: As Roe v. Wade Falls, Journalists Debate How to Cover the Future of Reproductive Rights by Sheila Gibbons

Plus News Briefs and Book Reviews!

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