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A typical media issue

We all have aspects of the media, or particular media traits, that annoy us or cause us to flirt with contempt towards the medium … and indeed those involved in the stories it runs.

One of my pet hates are pieces featuring some obscure university research team that has apparently spent years of man (or woman) hours and a ton of taxpayers’ money researching something that cannot possibly be of use to anyone or is similarly otherwise pointless or ridiculous.

Here’s an example – okay, perhaps not an absolute classic – that I spotted today on the website of The Independent newspaper. It’s about supposed inherent sexism in the media. Readers can see it for themselves here – THE INDEPENDENT

When I read this, my first an overriding reaction was to wonder why the researchers hadn’t bothered to ask themselves about that eternal male question – once featured in a Mel Gibson movie – ‘What Women Want’. also

Surely, before coming to the conclusions they did, might it not also have been helpful to do a little research into


What percentage of the readership of news websites is female?


Of those female visitors to news websites, what proportion of them read ‘hard’ news items (and for how long) and what proportion of them concentrate upon items upon each of sport and politics … and then each of art, entertainment and fashion (and again, for how long)?

My reasoning for asking why these questions were not also asked before they published their conclusions is that – from my personal experience – upon those occasions (if any) when women have time in their busy days to sit down, relax and have some ‘me’ time (and if that should involve reading something) they tend to opt for topics that in these PC-ridden times would be regarded as stereotypical ‘female’ fare … e.g. celebrity gossip, art, entertainment and fashion.

After all, the website of the Daily Mail – as I understand it, one of the most widely-read on the entire planet – positively thrives by publishing stories aimed squarely at female readers.

My point?

As I see it, for all its many and obvious faults which I don’t need to list here, the media has one overriding (and one might say capitalist) concern/purpose: to give the public whatever it wants.

I fail to understand why the researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Cardiff didn’t ‘get’ this.

(Actually, I can hazard a guess as to the answer. It’s almost certainly down to the thought processes of their ‘unworldly, right on politically-correct, sandal wearing, lentil-eating’ lecturers or tutors who devised or approved their project …)





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About Guy Danaway

Guy Danaway and his family live on the outskirts of Rugby. He is chairman of a small engineering company and has been a keen club cyclist for many years. He has edited Cycling Weekly since 1984 and is a regular contributor to the media on cycling issues. More Posts