University of Kansas Study Finds Gender Gap in Censorship of Student Journalists

university-of-kansas-logoA new study by journalism faculty at the University of Kansas finds that girls are more often censored than boys in high school journalism. The survey of student journalists found that 41 percent of the girl journalists had been told not to write or talk about a certain subject in student media by a school employee. Only 28 percent of male journalists reported that they had been censored by a school official.

The study also found that girls tended to self-censure themselves more often than boys. Some 53 percent of girl high school journalists reported that they did not cover a particular issue because they anticipated a negative reaction from school officials. Only 27 percent of male high school journalists reported they had stayed away from a certain topic due to the perceived repercussions that might occur.

Some of the subjects that girls said they were not allowed to cover included drug use, teen pregnancy, LQBTQ issues, same-sex marriage, and teacher misbehavior.

genelle_balmasGenelle Belmas, an associate professor of journalism and co-author of the study, stated that “we found statistical significance in the number of times female students were asked not to report on something or were censored. We have to do better at this if we want young women to succeed in journalism, in business and civically. Girls are either told not to report on certain topics or think, ‘I’ll face repercussions if I do.’”

Co-author Peter Bobkowski, an assistant professor of journalism, added that “school administrators and teachers appear more likely to prevent girls from covering the issues they see as important in the student media than they are to prevent boys from doing so. Instead of empowering girls and building up their confidence, journalism classrooms appear to be one more setting where girls’ voices are disproportionately devalued and muted.”

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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