Remnant "Family": the role of women in the media discourse on families

Research Associate, Jennifer Tank
2014 ESSACHESS. Journal for Communication Studies   unpublished
How does gender affect discourse processes, particularly regarding the coverage of family issues? In order to explore this question, we focus on media representations of women in their roles as mothers on the one hand and journalists on the other and we compare the reporting of male and female journalists covering families. We refer to gender theory to examine processes of gender construction by different actors in the media and we draw on journalism theory to explain different reporting styles
more » ... and strategies by male and female authors regarding discourse strategies, framing, and gender-stereotyping. Our methodological approaches include quantitative and qualitative content analyses and 14 semi-structured interviews with journalists, family researchers, and lobbyists. The sample includes coverage of families in general and that of large families in particular in German print media in the years 2011 and 2012, for a total of 1,100 texts. One of the key findings, not surprisingly, is that most of the journalists reporting on families are female. Similar to male journalists, however, they focus on the traditional family type despite the fact that various alternative forms of family life are now a social reality.