Assignment 2 – Demographics in the Print Media

Photo statistics taken from Florida Times Union Papers from September 26th to October 3rd.

Front pages photographs numbers and percentages

  • 66 white males  47%
  • 29 white females  20%
  • 6 Hispanic males  4%
  • 4 hispanic women 3%
  • 14 black males 10%
  • 9 black women 6%
  • 3 arab men 2%
  • 2 arab women 1%
  • 3 asian males 2%
  • 3 asian females 2%
  • 139 total pictures

 

Statistics are based on percentages of the total US population from 2008

 

 

Front Pages: Purple

Metro: Blue

Races

White Americans make up 75% of the US population, meaning white women make up 37.5% and white men take up 37.5%.  White men are over-represented on the front pages as they are shown in 47% of photographs, quite higher than the actual percentage of the population that they make up.  White women are massively underrepresented on the front pages of the Times Union where they only make up 20% of photographed peoples.  Overall, white people are underrepresented because they only take up 67%, 8% less than the percentage of the population which they take up.  This underrepresentation is due to the lack of photographed white women.

African Americans make up 12% of the US population, meaning that black men represent 6% and women the other 6%.  According to my data, black males are just slightly over-represented as they are seen in 10% of front-page photographs.  Black females are accurately represented as they are seen in 6% of photographs.  Overall, African Americans are slightly overrepresented

Hispanics make up 15% of the US population, making them the largest minority in the nation.  This means that hispanic men make up 7-8% nationally and hispanic women make up 7-8% of the national population.  I found that both of these groups are horrifically underrepresented by the Time Union’s front page, where hispanic men and women combined only make up 7% of photographs (4% and 3% respectively).  Most of the pictured hispanics were US politicians or foreigners who are not even US citizens.  Overall, hispanics are underrepresented.

Gender

While the front pages aren’t especially racially biased, I do believe that they are gender biased.  While women make up 50% of the national population (and the world population) they are seen in only 32% of photographs proving that they are more significantly under-represented than any racial group.  The most under-represented group is white women.

Metro photographs numbers and percentages

– 69 white males 51%

– 28 White women 21%

– 2 hispanic males 1%

– 3 hispanic women 2%

– 20 black males 15%

– 12 black women 9%

– 1 asian woman 1%

– 0 asian males 0%

– 135 total

Race

While the front pages tend to overrepresent White and African American males, the statistics I chose to compare the Metro section photographs to real-life demographics are very different.  I found the 2008 demographics of Jacksonville from http://www.coj.net which is the Official City of Jacksonville website.

According to the city of Jacksonville, White people make up 62% of Jacksonville’s population, meaning 31% of the city consists of white males and 31% consists of white females.  White males are considerably over-represented as they are seen on 51% of all metro-pages photographs, the gap is hard to ignore, as they are the most over-represented in the Times Union’s metro section.  White females are seen on 21% of all Metro-section photographs, showing that they are as significantly under-represented in the local (metro) pages as they are in the national (front) pages.  Overall, White people are over-represented despite the fact that white females are the most under-represented of all groups in the metro section.

As of 2008, African Americans make up 30% of Jacksonville’s population making them the largest minority in the city.  Spit between genders, they make up 15% each.  Black males are represented in 15% of the photographed persons in the metro section, leading me to believe that they are quite accurately represented.  Despite this, photos of black females are significantly less common, showing that they are under-represented by around 6%.  Overall, African Americans are under-represented in the metro pages.

Hispanics make up 6% of Jacksonville’s population which shows that the nation average of hispanics is much higher than the Jacksonville percentage of hispanics.  Nonetheless, the Times Union metro pages still under-represent this group as they are hardly ever seen in photographs.  Both hispanic males and hispanic females are under-represented as their photographs combined make up only 3% on the metro pages (1% and 2% respectively).  Overall, hispanics are under-represented.

Gender

The metro pages follow the same gender bias that the front pages follow.  Women make up 50% of the city’s population but are seen in just 33% of pictures in the metro section.    Much like the front pages, the most under-represented group of the metro pages are white women.

Analysis of depiction

White men are most commonly portrayed as police officers, politicians, and as criminals.  A possible reason for the overwhelming portrayal of white men as criminals comes in part to week-long coverage of pill mills in Florida.  Pill mills are physicians offices which charge patients for prescriptions of painkillers, these offices are frequented by addicts, and most pain killer addicts are lower middle class white males and females.

White women are most commonly portrayed as politicians, victims of crimes, and in medical stories.  They are also shown in stories relating to crime.  Women are often victims of crime and they generate more sympathy when shown as victims than men do.

Black males are most commonly portrayed as criminals and politicians.  Many black politicians are newsworthy (the president is black and many florida candidates for state positions are as well).  Black males also account for a disproportionate amount of crime nationwide.  Although they are a minority, black males are more likely to commit drug felonies, violent crimes, and murders than members of any other group.  These types of crimes are among the most covered in the media therefore it is understandable that their pictures often appear in stories about crime.

Black women most commonly appear as victims of crime, victims of disasters, family members of criminals or family members of victims of crime.  There is a lot of crime in the black community, both nationally and locally.  Much of this crime is directed at members of the same group.  Black women, often mothers and sisters of victims are shown crying in the courtroom, rousing much sympathy.  These women are not commonly portrayed as criminals, but they can be mothers of criminals or victims themselves.

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