Title: Women’s absence from news photos: The role of tabloid strategies at elite and non-elite newspapers
Journal / Publication: Media Culture & Society
Pages: 979 – 998
Authors: Stanley, Jason
In 1978, Gaye Tuchman pointed to women’s ‘symbolic annihilation’ from the public sphere as the media focused overwhelmingly on the activities of men. Has anything changed since then? This article presents findings from a longitudinal content analysis of 1252 news photos from two widely read American newspapers – one elite and one non-elite – between 1966 and 2006. Findings show that pictures of men dominated the news in both papers over this period. Nevertheless, women made more gains in the elite paper than in the non-elite paper. This article argues that these trends were the product of divergent paths towards tabloid journalism, where papers replace politics and business coverage with sports, entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle coverage. The elite paper expanded entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle coverage, where women show up just as often as men. The non-elite paper expanded sports coverage, where women are virtually absent.