Saturday, April 9, 2011

Doing Gender in News Media & Role of Alternative media

More women are working outside the home than ever before, a worldwide change. A majority of American women, including most mothers of young children, now work for a living. However, if we look at it more carefully, vertical sex segregation is still present today where men hold positions that have higher status and better pay than the jobs women hold. For instance, when broadcasting magazine in 1977 published the list of sixteen corporate directors and officers in communications earning top level salaries, only one woman, Katherine Graham, made it (women in broadcasting). Although the number of women in journalism is slowly rising, news continues to be controlled by men. As editors, producers, employers, decision makers and owners, men continue to hold power, giving women very little power and only a small degree of influence on news (women in broadcasting). Barbara Walters says that it was inconceivable for a woman to be “head of the program” (Eddings, 4).Similarly, when women show non-traditional with high performance level, they are often devalued and ridiculed like Ms. Sawyer (NYTimes).

Women hold only 3% of clout positions in the mainstream media.87% of general news radio mangers are men whereas 13% are women (WWC).Likewise, On Sunday morning political talk shows Male guests outnumber female guests by an average ratio of four-to-one.
White guests outnumber guests of any other race or ethnicity by nearly seven-to-one. All four shows are hosted by white men. These problems may seem deeply rooted and impenetrable, but equality for women is not an impossible dream.

The relativity of the mainstream to dominant economic, cultural and ideological forces means that the mainstream mainly runs to endorse the wellbeing of the power hegemony. Yet within this advanced capitalist economies, we still find some space for Alternative media. Although in small number, alternative media is providing the critical analysis of the mainstream media. Historically, the alternative media have helped provide the basis on which an alternative, global, progressive public sphere has been built. Informal underground communication networks and newspapers (such as the Sowetan in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s) were crucial in the independent movements in Africa and India.

For example, Public media tends to be a bit more welcoming of innovative and independent production. On PBS, Frontline, Independent Lens and POV are important channels for investigation and alternative approaches to television outline and content.

The women’s institute for freedom of the press is the non-profit organization founded by Dr. Donna Allen to increase communication among women and reaches the public with our experience, perspectives and opinions.

WIFP supports missions that stir us toward these independent communication goals. It is a platform where new ideas about making communication more autonomous are encouraged, examined, researched and published. WIFP distinguish a distinctive role for women as the majority in democracy to build awareness about equality, and eradicate stereotypes fueled by mainstream media. It has been a successful alternative media source in raising awareness about democratic communication.

With the advancement in digital technologies, many political agitators and activist are able to present their ideas, opinion against the mainstream media. They help inspire revolutionary education and political activities.For instance, we can see the social networking sites (twitter, facebook, youtube) being used for activities happening in Iran.

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