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[DSC Europe 22] Equality alert in newsrooms: Providing transparency about the visibility of gender in newspapers - Dominic Hercog

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[DSC Europe 22] Equality alert in newsrooms: Providing transparency about the visibility of gender in newspapers - Dominic Hercog

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With its quality journalism the TX Group seeks to support a free and democratic society in which people can form their own opinions and are able to make informed choices. As Switzerland's strongest editorial network, we are aware of the power of speech which includes reproducing gender schemas. Such gender schemas can occur (even without any bad intent) if, for example, the majority of politicians who are interviewed for news articles are men even though that men and women are nearly equally represented in the parliament. In this talk I will mainly focus on a service which we kicked off a few years ago and got high attention in the newsrooms in the recent year: The Equality Alert. With this report our team provides transparency for journalists and the newsrooms in our company regarding gender-visibility in their media coverage. I will: (1) highlight the importance of such text analytics; (2) show how we have implemented the idea and delivered a now widely used report; and, (3) present how such a report can accelerate change by providing transparency.

With its quality journalism the TX Group seeks to support a free and democratic society in which people can form their own opinions and are able to make informed choices. As Switzerland's strongest editorial network, we are aware of the power of speech which includes reproducing gender schemas. Such gender schemas can occur (even without any bad intent) if, for example, the majority of politicians who are interviewed for news articles are men even though that men and women are nearly equally represented in the parliament. In this talk I will mainly focus on a service which we kicked off a few years ago and got high attention in the newsrooms in the recent year: The Equality Alert. With this report our team provides transparency for journalists and the newsrooms in our company regarding gender-visibility in their media coverage. I will: (1) highlight the importance of such text analytics; (2) show how we have implemented the idea and delivered a now widely used report; and, (3) present how such a report can accelerate change by providing transparency.

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[DSC Europe 22] Equality alert in newsrooms: Providing transparency about the visibility of gender in newspapers - Dominic Hercog

  1. 1. Equality alert in newsrooms: Providing transparency about the visibility of gender in newspapers DSC Europe 2022 Dr. Dominic Herzog Chief Data Scientist TX Group AG / TX Services dominic.herzog@tx.group
  2. 2. Why should we care about gender visibility Draw (imaginize) a scientist…
  3. 3. Why should we care about gender visibility DALL·E: Group of 5 female and male doctors with different skin color, van gogh style dark gray background
  4. 4. Why should we care about gender visibility girl's drawings of scientists depicted female scientists occur … … more often in later decades ➢ women's representation in science has risen substantially in the United States ➢ mass media increasingly depict female scientists Miller DI, Nolla KM, Eagly AH, Uttal DH. The Development of Children's Gender-Science Stereotypes: A Meta-analysis of 5 Decades of U.S. Draw-A-Scientist Studies. Child Dev. 2018 Nov;89(6):1943-1955. doi: 10.1111/cdev.13039. Epub 2018 Mar 20. PMID: 29557555. … less often among older girls. ➢ results may reflect that children observe more male than female scientists in their environments
  5. 5. Pla TX Group and why we care about (gender) visibility TX Group Portfolio Tamedia paid media 20 Minuten commuter media Goldbach advertising Ventures marketplaces, job market, …
  6. 6. Why TX cares Guidelines, principles and vision Quality assurance and social responsibility are two of the issues we focus on to ensure we can always live up to our journalistic responsibility. In 2021 - following an open letter from 78 women journalists - a focus was placed on diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities. Including gender balance in the workforce and also in media coverage. Business Reasons Young females are underrepresented in the (target) audience while having above-average shopping cart values. (internal) data shows that women are more attracted to content that thematizes or shows them. Papers about gender bias in models Google News 300-dimensional word2vec embedding
  7. 7. Why do we care Readers DALL·E: a park with 20 peoples reading newspapers in zurich or looking at their smartphone, comic style dark gray background DALL·E: 10 journalists in a newsroom sitting at a round table with a TV screen which shows pie charts in the background, comic style on dark gray background DALL·E: multiple newspaper articles and smartphones with news article on the screen, comic style on dark gray background Newsrooms Journalists Articles What we do: ❏ Quantitative insights ❏ Backup / neglect gut feelings ❏ Reveal (unconscious) biases in our product ❏ Reality check and providing new tools to align product with guidelines, visions & business opportunities What is a no-go: ❏ Qualitative judgement of a single article => journalistic freedom within TX guidelines ❏ Change / “Debias” content
  8. 8. Visibility I: Report Equality Alert Daily analysis and report on women's visibility in Tamedia publications ❏ Itʼs used and monitored in the newsrooms (among other aspects) ❏ Potential to optimize how we report in order to integrate it better into daily work
  9. 9. Defining “Gender” for this presentation Gender visibility in articles ➢ Identify names in articles ➢ Guess gender (female | male) based on the personʼs first name Gender of the reader ➢ Hard facts from registration ➢ If not available then predicting gender based on reading behavior (using reading behavior of users with hard facts) Gender of the author ➢ Guess gender (female | male) based on the authorʼs first name ! Using binary female-male annotation and analyses is based on availability of the data. ! This approach is not neglecting of the gender ʻdiversʼ nor should it imply that all persons in the binary groups female-male are acting the same.
  10. 10. Visibility I: Report Equality Alert Daily analysis & report of women's visibility in Tamedia publications (& 20min) ❏ The visibility is quite noisy on a daily basis and fluctuates between 15% and 30% in 2021-2022 Visibility of women in articles 50% 10% 30% 40% 20%
  11. 11. Visibility II: Visibility of women in our publications | Over time ❏ Visibility of women in articles has increased from 17% to 24% since 2014; no additional effect since 2021 ❏ Visibility of women in articles written internally [black] coincides with the Visibility of women in articles written by the agency SDA [green]. Visibility: Measured by the people named gender_author & share_female: Binary gender mapping based on first name gender_author: Gender of the author of the article (for articles written internally) or name of the news agency Visibility of women in articles 30% 10% 20% 25% 15% Do our initiatives show the desired impact and trend?
  12. 12. Visibility III: Visibility of women in our publications | Over time & split by gender of the autor ❏ Persistent difference in the breakdown by gender of the author ❏ If an article was written by a woman in 2022, 33% of the names mentioned in the text are female. If an article was written by a man in 2022, 24% of the names mentioned in the text are female. Visibility: Measured by the people named gender_author & share_female: Binary gender mapping based on first name gender_author: Gender of the author of the article (for articles written internally) or name of the news agency Does the gender of the author matters regarding the visibility of women? Visibility of women in articles 35% 15% 25% 30% 20%
  13. 13. Visibility III: Visibility of women in our publications | Over time & split by gender of the autor Yes, but… this might depend on the section… Section: Switzerland Section: Sonntagszeitung
  14. 14. Visibility III: Visibility of women in our publications | Over time & split by gender of the autor Yes, but… I mean the other sections… Section: Foreign Affairs Section: Culture
  15. 15. Visibility III: Visibility of women in our publications | Over time & split by gender of the autor Yes, but… I mean the other sections… Section: Sports Section: Sports - Soccer
  16. 16. Visibility III: Visibility of women in our publications | Over time & split by gender of the autor Yes, but… this is news-paper dependent… 20min: German-Speaking Region 20min: French-Speaking Region
  17. 17. Visibility III: Visibility of women in our publications | Over time & split by gender of the autor ❏ The insights are persistent over sections as well as across newspapers ❏ The only exception is the section about foreign affairs
  18. 18. Visibility IV: Testing the hypothesis that articles about women are more attractive to female readers ❏ 24.9% of women… ❏ 20.9% of men… ... read articles which mainly name women. ❏ Articles that mainly mention women [men] reach a female readership share of 43.3% [37.8%] 80% 0% 40% 60% 20% 80% 0% 40% 60% 20% 100% Percentage of articles read 100% gender_reader: Gender of the reader dominant_gender_article: Dominant gender in the article, measured by the persons named
  19. 19. Visibility V: Text Corpus analysis & (fe)male annotated words A ➡ B is like Y ➡ Z: Examples from our own text corpus Man (Mann) ➡ King (König) is like Woman (Frau) ➡ Queen (Königin) Man (Mann) ➡ Programmer (Programmierer) is like Woman (Frau) ➡ Influence (Influencerin) Man (Mann) ➡ Farmer (Bauer) is like Woman (Frau) ➡ Farmer (Bäuerin) Man (Mann) ➡ Doctor (Arzt) is like Woman (Frau) ➡ Doctor (Ärztin) Word2Vec based on 342ʼ500 internally written articles, published in tagesanzeiger (print/online) since 2012
  20. 20. Visibility V: Text Corpus analysis & (fe)male annotated words Male - Female annotated words Word2Vec based on 342ʼ500 internally written articles, published in tagesanzeiger (print/online) since 2012 gender-vector: [('Frau', 'Mann'), ('Tochter', 'Sohn'), ('Mädchen', 'Junge')] Dominic’s annotation guess based on his “socialization-learned” Stereotypes: Female annotated Male annotated woman handbag lady hair wipe silly clean slight repair handcraft educated household ambitious backpack gentleman workplace man
  21. 21. Wrap up ➢ Qualitative: Journalists are the experts on identifying topics and writing the article ➢ ➢ Quantitative: Data Scientists are experts to analyze the text corpus and articles ➢ Visibility of women increased in the past 10 years from 17% to 24% but did not further increase since 2021 ➢ There is a substantial and persistent gap in the visibility provided between female and male authors. Overall but also across newspapers and (sub-)sections female journalists provide more visibility to females. ➢ Gender stereotypes which are present in society are to some extent reproduced in our own text corpus. ➢ This is work in progress & partnering with newsroom is key ➢ ➢ The Equality Alert focused so far on gender. However, the approaches shown can be applied to other dimensions (of potential discrimination) such as origin, age, skin color or income
  22. 22. Change through data Data and Data Science tools can reveal hidden patterns and make biases visible Visibility leads to awareness Awareness invites to reflect the status quo based on our values & vision Our values & vision can guide us towards needed change Change through data - to the good of all of us! dominic.herzog@tx.group
  23. 23. dominic.herzog@tx.group

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