Not surprising, but still depressing

Here’s something to file under “discouraging:” A collection of charts from Media Matters showing that cable news is overwhelmingly white and male.

Of the networks surveyed, MSNBC was the most likely to feature female guests during the month of April — but they were still outnumbered by men two-to-one. MSNBC was also the most racially diverse, which isn’t saying much considering that 73 percent of its guests were white.

The results are even more depressing when viewed in the context of national demographics:

While white men enjoyed representation on cable that was nearly double that of their representation in the U.S. population, white women, who represent 32 percent of the population, were only 21 percent of guests on cable. Non-white women fared even worse. While they make up 19 percent of the population, they were only 8 percent of all guests on cable. Non-white men were also underrepresented; only 13 percent of guests on cable were non-white men while they make up 18 percent of the population.

Also interesting: The gender balance didn’t shift much when the host was female. This differs from a study by the 4th Estate Project that found female reporters working for National Public Radio were more likely to interview female sources.

More female reporters = more female voices in the news

Here’s an interesting detail from the 4th Estate Project, a group that uses data to monitor media trends. The project amassed oodles of numbers from coverage of the 2012 elections.

As you can read here, men were used as expert sources far more often than women. But, when the researchers focused on stories from National Public Radio, they found something interesting:

There was a huge discrepancy in the sourcing patterns between men and women journalists at NPR… While men NPR journalists quoted men 80% of the time and women 20% of the time, women NPR journalists quoted men 52% of the time and women 48% of the time.  This is a dramatic difference, and suggests that NPR women journalists are doing their part in trying to change the culture of sourcing in new stories.  Interestingly, NPR women journalists stand out in this regard as compared to their counterparts in print or broadcast. We did not see the same discrepancy when looking at the sourcing patterns of men and women journalists working in either print or broadcast.