Margaret Sullivan, The New York Times' public editor, reviews a recent study by former NPR ombudsman Alecia Shepard that concluded the Times' front-page sources were overwhelmingly of men. The study, conducted for the University of Nevada, looked at two months of front pages and found men were quoted three times more often than women. Sullivan notes the gains the Times has made in newsroom representation, argues that diversity to bolster numbers is "an empty piece of political correctness," but that the study may provoke discussion and ultimately produce a conversation that will assist change.
NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos conducted a study on his own of NPR's content to determine how it reflects America geographically and whether it was disproportionately focused on Washington. It did find that, unsurprisingly, but it also found that the coverage matched where the people were: New York and California, in particular. But Texas gets a slightly short straw.
Yavuz Baydar, the ombudsman for Sabah, writes in The New York Times of the corruption of media ownership and its impact on journalism in his native Turkey. "Dirty alliances between governments and media companies and their handshakes behind closed doors damage journalists’ role as public watchdogs and prevent them from scrutinizing cronyism and abuses of power. And those who benefit from a continuation of corrupt practices also systematically seek to prevent serious investigative journalism," he writes.
The International Press Institute notes the 19th anniversary today of rule in the Gambia by Yahya Jemmeh and the continual deterioration of free expression in Africa's smallest country. The Media Foundation of West Africa notes: " In the Gambia today, critical media reportage is literally outlawed, while other rights violations continue to be perpetrated by the government with gross impunity." A new law provides up to 15-year jail terms and fines for "publication of false news," a move the foundation believes will further stifle free speech.
TechCrunch writes about a Kickstarter project from a Huffington Post data journalist that automates U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. The FOIA Machine will file and track the request when it opens for business (freely) to journalists later this year.
Paul Glader, writing for Ashoka (reproduced by Forbes.com), says activist and developing world journalists can learn much from traditional journalists. Standards, media literacy and an appreciation of media economics should be priorities, he argues. Mainly, though, the two entities have to listen to each other.