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ARTICLE: Female journalists ask more about economics

Press conference by JohnPickenPhoto, licence CC BY 2.0

Female White House press corps journalists question the US president Barack Obama more on economic issues than their male colleagues, writes Lindsey Meeks, of University of Oklahoma. Meeks analysed the questions asked in 42 White House press conference held in 2014 and 2015.

Female and male journalists weigh issues differently, Meeks discovered. For example, only men asked about labor issues, and women about education. The most important topics, however, were the same for both groups: international affairs and defense.

Meeks also compared the press conferences in 2014 to those of 2015. In late 2014 the White House arranged a historic press conference to which only female journalists were invited. This conference seems to have been “pivotal”, the author suggests. After the press conference female journalists were allowed to ask more questions than before (the proportion of questions going from 33.8 to 39.6 per cent).

In addition, women reporters became more active on many topics, overtaking their male colleagues in questions related to macroeconomics, law, immigration, health, government relations, foreign trade, and defense.

The article “Questioning the president” was published by the journal Journalism. It is available online (abstract free).

Picture: Press conference by JohnPickenPhoto, licence CC BY 2.0.

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