How Media can be more Inclusive
All too often, the news seems to be mostly about men and reported by men as just 24% of news sources were women (Global Media Monitoring Project 2015). Bringing women voices out is proving to be a win/win for our users, women and society at large. Giving voice to the many competent and diverse women out there will be off – in quality and readership. This toolkit aims to provide practical advice to journalists on how to make the media more inclusive as well as provide tips to women experts on engaging with the press.
As a Journalist and Editor
Collect and share data
Regularly monitor the experts that are put forward on the Brussels Binder database and share this data with the wider team.
Start the discussion in your own newsroom
Ask your media outlet to make gender equality a priority internally and in reporting. Assess your structures and methods for sourcing expertise. As an Editor, provide your team with the knowledge and practical tools such as databases like The Brussels Binder – a resource to quickly find women to fill up their need for quotes and expertise. This encourages the editorial team to refer to women more often in their stories and also feature women as main subjects in coverage.
Set team goals that include gender balance
To gradually increase more references to women in news articles, why not set a minimum quota of news that should include women voices?
Keep a good log of your experts in order to measure your progress. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) may include the number of articles mentioning women experts and the number of articles fully targeting women expertise – among others.
Reach out and ask for names
Reach out to your wider network to identify new sources. Find even more women experts in the BBBeyond Network of Databases: www.brusselsbinder.org/find-an-expert-database
tip top : Check out our other toolkit “Better Together: Strategic Network Building for Women & Initiatives” for more specific tips on this topic.
Ask for more names
Ask for recommendations of woman experts specifically when you contact think tanks, universities etc. on a topic.
Establish personal contacts with women researchers and experts to facilitate contact in the future. Ask them for their phone number which is the easiest way to reach out to them when you need to send out an article as soon as possible.
Watch your language
Avoid gender bias by using neutral and professional terms such as Dr. and Prof. when necessary rather than Miss or Mrs. Remember that some women might prefer these titles. So if you’re not sure – ask and never assume.
top tip : Check out our other toolkit “On the Road to Excellence: Why Diversity at your Events Matters” for more specific tips on this topic.
Focus on the topic
Don’t ask interview questions that you wouldn’t ask a man. Women’s personal lives (whether they’re married, have children and how they cope with work-life balance) are out of bounds as well as the way they look. Follow best practices for gender sensitive reporting in journalism.
top tip : Check out our other toolkit “Promoting Women’s Voices as a Male Ally” for more specific tips on this topic.
Look beyond titles !
As often the top positions are occupied by men, but positions are not the only indicator of influence, expertise, or “celebrity” status.
As a Woman Expert
Just like any other expert, you are entitled to have the space to share your knowledge whether it is in published media or broadcasting. Being a woman expert, you can offer a different perspective and fresh insight into the hot topics of the day.
Ask the communications people within your organisation to always give the name of both a woman and a man expert on the topic when being contacted by journalists. Provide them with a list of topics you are ready to discuss whenever a journalist request pops in.
Send your pitch to journalists! Make sure your story is clearly summarised, ready to go and explain it succinctly. Be polite and try to establish a rapport – you only have so much time to impress them, so think of it as an “elevator pitch”.
Make sure you are prepared before the interview; address the journalist by their preferred name and title. You don’t need to say anything ‘off the record’, and should always feel comfortable to exercise your rights not to answer questions.
Seize the day
Many women are endowed with incredible capacities but often limit themselves, while men tend to just go for it with half of the expertise but double the confidence. Your voice counts to make use of it!
Establish personal contacts with journalists whenever you can. If approached by a journalist (e.g. at a networking event, at a conference), be open to discussion and exchange contact details. By giving your business card with your phone number says that they are welcome to get in touch with you anytime. Journalists usually work to tight deadlines and are always on the hunt for contacts to verify information and to get quotes from.
Showcase your work on your LinkedIn account, Twitter and other social media platforms. Profiling yourself as an expert should also show digitally. Don’t forget to include contact details like your email to be reached out to more easily.
Check out our other toolkit “How to Rock the Floor: Stepping Forward and Being Visible” for more specific tips on this topic.
Ditch the trolls and block out the noise
Don’t let online harassment deter you from sharing your expertise. Use safety and privacy functions on social media such as the block button. The trolls are not worth spending your time on.
Pay it forward
If you are unable to give a quote, recommend two other women who can do it instead. You can also drop a mention of The Brussels Binder and other platforms – if you know some – in the conversation.
References and further readings
- Ana Mingo, (The Brussels Binder,Belgium)
- Margaux Demeyer (The Brussels Binder, Belgium)
- Louise Langeby (The Brussels Binder, Belgium)
- Barbara Krajnc (Aurora Borealis, Slovenia)
- Roisin Duffy (Women on Air, Ireland)
- Sophie Taylor (European Leadership Network, United Kingdom)
- Petra Dolakova (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Czech Republic)
- Loes Debuysere (CEPS, Belgium)
- Venera Djumataeva (Radio Free Europe, Czech Republic)
- Leonie Liemich, (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Czech Republic)
- Cristina Baraganescu (European Commission, Belgium)
- Martina Conte (Independent, Italy)
Dive into the toolkits
This toolkit aims to provide practical advice to men in how to be an ally to promote women’s voices as an individual, event participant, moderator and organiser.
This toolkit provides tips and advice for women experts on stepping forward and being visible at events and media interviews.
This toolkit provides practical advice strategic network building for women but also for women-led initiatives on how to build synergies and collaborations.
This toolkit is designed to help you think about diversity from all angles when you are organising a public debate, both online and offline.
This toolkit provides practical advice at improving gender balance at conferences as well as countering excuses for manel debates.
This toolkit aims to provide practical advice to journalists on how to make the media more inclusive as well as provide tips to women experts on engaging with the press.