- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - Men are behind more news stories than women by a nearly 2-to-1 margin across print and television platforms, though there was a slight increase in bylines and credits for women last year, a new study says.

The Washington-based Women’s Media Center released its study Thursday as part of its fourth annual report on “The Status of Women in U.S. Media.”

Overall, the study found that the percentage of bylines, on-camera appearances and producer credits for women had increased nominally from last year. In 2014, about 37 percent of news was generated by women, up from 36 percent in 2013.

“Our research shows that women, who are more than half of the population, write only a third of the stories. Media tells us our roles in society - it tells us who we are and what we can be. This new report shows us who matters and what is important to media - and clearly, as of right now, it is not women,” center President Julie Burton said in a statement.

The study also found that, as in 2013, female journalists were less likely to report on issues of politics and crime and justice and more likely to report on education, health and lifestyle topics. Important for 2016 presidential coverage, the center said, the study found that about 35 percent of U.S. political news was reported by women, down from 36 percent in 2013.

“Political coverage has an enormous impact on elections - which are the main or only time this country has a national dialogue about its direction - and women should have an equal ability to ask questions and shape coverage,” center co-founder Gloria Steinem wrote The Associated Press in an email. Steinem co-founded the center with actress and fitness guru Jane Fonda and writer Robin Morgan in 2005.

Sarah Banet-Weiser, a professor and the Director of the School of Communication at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, said she believes seeing the study’s numbers is useful for both media companies and the public.

“You get used to seeing men on the news. The numbers jar us into thinking about it more,” said Banet-Weiser, who does research on gender and media practices and read the new study.

She said the topics men report on more “are considered both more important and have more gravitas,” and that “signals to people women are somehow not as capable in those areas.”

The study examined about 28,000 pieces of content produced from Oct. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2014, at 20 TV networks, newspapers, news wires and online sites.

The study found that at 10 of the nation’s top newspapers, women report 37 percent of the stories, the same as in 2013. The study found the Chicago Sun-Times led with 54 percent female bylines and was the only newspaper where women had more than half the bylines. The San Jose Mercury News ranked second and the Los Angeles Times third. The three bottom-ranked newspapers for female bylines were The New York Times and The Denver Post, which had about 32 percent female bylines, and the Daily News in New York, which had about 31 percent.

In television, where the study looked at the evening news broadcasts of ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS, the study found women are on camera 32 percent of the time. At PBS, about 44 percent of the field reporters and correspondents were female, the highest of the group. At CBS, 29 percent were female, the lowest of the group.

Online, women fared better with 42 percent of bylines. The center said of the four online news sites it viewed - The Huffington Post, CNN, Fox and The Daily Beast - only Huffington Post had more than half its content written by women.

The center also looked at female bylines at two major wire services, the AP and Reuters, where overall women made up 38 percent of bylines. It found for the second year that Reuters had more female bylines, about 41 percent, a small decline from 43 percent in 2013. At the AP, about 36 percent of bylines belonged to women, up from 32 percent in 2013. The study looked at the news services’ stories of 500 words or more.

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Follow Jessica Gresko at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko

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