The use of females as sources of information in SABC newscasts

18 Nov 2016

Using content analysis, this article examines the habit of using sources in television news with specific reference to one of South Africa?s major English channels, SABC 31. A total of 21 news bulletins were analysed to determine the way in which news is presented through male and female sources as authority within which reality is perceived. After the content analysis, I attempt to understand what is at stake and in doing so I situate this article on transformative feminist perspective, which inculcates both theory and praxis. In the first instance, the content analysis reveals that whilst both males and females were used as sources or authority of information in the channel?s news broadcasts, males in general were the preferred sources and that they were more likely to be used on stories and roles that are traditionally deemed as typically masculine, while women were used on those that are traditionally perceived as feminine. The latter category of stories was scarcely covered compared to the former, further confirming the research assumption that it is largely the views of men that are represented in the news since more males than females are more likely to be used as sources of information. Furthermore, I posit that the preponderance of male sources and the authoritative tenor that the media ascribes to them together with the correlating paucity of female as sources of news contribute to the production and the perpetuation of gender stereotyping and imbalances in society. Ultimately, I find that the application of transformative feminist approach leads not only to an insightful understanding of the news media as a ?rendition of society?s patriarchal practice? (Ross, 2004), but also serves as a useful strategy to containing the problem.