Current Issue Summary

Vol. 51, No. 2, Spring 2023

Thumbnail summaries of this issue’s major articles:

Even Gender-Progressive Nations See Fewer Women in Top News Jobs

The Reuters Institute at the University of Oxford has again surveyed newsrooms for gender representation in top editorial ranks around the world, providing a valuable census about the influence of women in news. Data was collected in February 2023 via a strategic sample of 240 major online and offline news outlets in 12 different markets across five continents.

Looking at a sample of ten top online news outlets and ten top offline news outlets in each of these 12 markets, the Reuters Institute finds only 22% of the 180 top editors across the 240 brands covered are women, despite the fact that, on average, 40% of journalists in the 12 markets are women. In 2022, this figure was 21% across the same markets.

More Opportunity for Newswomen Would Raise Bottom Line

“From Outrage to Opportunity: How to Include the Missing Perspectives of Women of All Colors in News Leadership and Coverage,” authored by Luba Kassova of AKAS Consulting and commissioned by the Gates Foundation in partnership with Internews, was published in November 2022.  This analysis elicited data patterns from which can be developed strategies to overcome gender blindness, racial blindness, and status quo bias, which Kassova describes as the three key institutional and individual barriers to more inclusive journalism. Of particular note is this analysis’s evidence that failing to correct these deficits results in measurable economic loss to the worldwide newspaper industry.

Analysis: The Long Game in Hollywood by Martha M. Lauzen

Progress for women filmmakers has been fitful and uneven, with periods of heightened awareness and open moments when change has been possible.  While the percentage of women directors working on the 250 top grossing films has doubled to a still low 18% since 2015, the percentage of women editors actually declined slightly from 22% in 2015 to 21% in 2022.  The percentage of women working as cinematographers increased by just a single point from 6% in 2015 to 7% in 2022, according to the latest Celluloid Ceiling report ( It’s difficult to predict which individuals and events might prompt the next red carpet protest or visit by the EEOC.  But as long as women and members of other groups remain underrepresented, another wave of activism is inevitable.  It’s just a matter of time.

World Press Freedom Index: Journalism Threatened by Fake Content Industry

According to the 2023 World Press Freedom Index – which evaluates the environment for journalism in 180 countries and territories and is published on World Press Freedom Day (3 May) – the situation is “very serious” in 31 countries, “difficult” in 42, “problematic” in 55, and “good” or “satisfactory” in 52 countries. In other words, the environment for journalism is “bad” in seven out of ten countries, and satisfactory in only three out of ten.

The 2023 Index spotlights the rapid effects that the digital ecosystem’s fake content industry has had on press freedom. In 118 countries (two-thirds of the 180 countries evaluated by the Index), most of the Index questionnaire’s respondents reported that political actors in their countries were often or systematically involved in massive disinformation or propaganda campaigns.

Research in Depth: Speaking Up on Local Television News – Gender, Race, and Representation by Chris Anderson, Margarita H. Tapia and Jill A. Edy

Commentary: Gender Equality in Olympic Media – A Call to Action by Dunja Antunovic and Anna Goorevich

Plus News Briefs and Book Reviews!