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Making headlines – why language matters when reporting violence against women – by Kirsty Strickland

Journalist Kirsty Strickland (@kirstystricklan) writes for NUJ Scotland about the importance of use of language in news headlines to raise awareness of violence against women and dispel common myths and misconceptions as part of the Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project.

In the aftermath of the harassment scandal sparked by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein a movement emerged which dominated the news agenda for the latter part of 2017.

One of the most powerful and influential elements of this news coverage was the clear link made between men abusing power and wider structural inequality. Inevitably, what followed was a predictable and misogynistic suggestion that women who spoke out may be lying or maliciously over-reacting to their experiences to gain fame or money. Broadly speaking though, the power dynamic of the individuals involved (and the imbalance between them) was discussed and analysed meaningfully across various media platforms.

For women, this wasn’t new information. We understand that violence against women is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality. But for media outlets to make this connection and dedicate time to discussing it properly was something new and refreshing.

It’s important to acknowledge though, that had the initial story not focused on the conduct of famous men it’s unlikely that the women speaking out about harassment and sexual abuse would have been given such a receptive audience. Continue reading

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#StopMediaSexism

Do you think there’s a problem of sexism in the media?  You can call it out here.

Have you been subjected to sexism or harassment in your job as a journalist?

You’ve maybe been told to present a story in a certain way, an inappropriate headline has been added, or your material has been edited changing the emphasis.
Continue reading


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NUJ sponsor best news article category in Write to End Violence Against Women Awards

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The NUJ is delighted to be sponsoring an award at this year’s Write to End Violence Against Women Awards.

The NUJ has been supporting the awards since their launch and this year, the fifth year, will be sponsoring the ‘Best Article – News’ category.

The union has been working to shine a light on the issue of women’s representation both by the media and in the media.

Violence against women is often in the news, especially now. It is on a spectrum ranging from victim blaming, locker room banter and sexist attitudes to violence, rape and murder.

Even apart from recent and current events, its prevalence in society makes it a ‘hot topic’ for reporters and its complex nature makes it an interesting issue for feature writers. However, the fact that violence against women is so complex can mean that even journalists with the best of intentions can misrepresent some of the issues and perpetuate myths that are harmful to women. Continue reading


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STUC women back NUJ campaign to stop media sexism

Delegates at the STUC women’s conference unanimously backed an NUJ motion to improve representation of women in the press and stop media sexism.

The motion calls on women and trade unionists to fight back and call out examples of poor treatment of women by the media and to press for responsible reporting standards demonstrating respect for women, eliminating objectification and sexualisation and focusing on their ideas, abilities and achievements rather than their appearance, personal life and how they dress.

The conference was held in Glenrothes, Fife from 30 to 31 October 2017.  Freelance journalist Claire Sawers of Edinburgh freelance branch moved the motion on behalf of the NUJ.

She said “We at the NUJ share the same frustrations as our sisters here. We find ourselves back, once again, talking about the various ways that our colleagues in the media continue to misrepresent women. Each of you will have examples, sometimes very recent ones, of ways that women are sexualised, blamed, humiliated and discriminated against.

“The problem doesn’t only apply to women being reported on in the media. It affects women employed in the media too. Continue reading


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News Blackout – Why Aren’t Black British Women Treated Fairly In the Media?

Layla-Roxanne Hill was invited by NUJ Scotland to write an article about women and the media as part of the Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project.  The aim of the project is to improve representation of women working in the media and how women are represented by the media.

She is a campaigner, writer and speaker with a focus on race, gender and the Black Scottish experience.  In addition, she sits on the STUC Black Workers’ Committee, the National Union of Journalists’ Black Members’ Council and Scottish Executive Council as Black Members’ Representative. She is also a co-founder of  @YonAfro, a collective of women of colour aiming to enhance representation, improve visibility and provide support of women of colour in Scotland.

 

Despite the work seemingly being done to address the (mis)representation of Black British women, we are still being treated unfairly throughout the media landscape. Our stories, experiences and issues are continuously being told through a white lens which often fails to provide an accurate representation, or lend its focus to race. Continue reading