Sexing Up And Hollowing Out



Some of the results of a survey of Irish journalists by Dublin City University’s Kevin Rafter and Stephen Dunne 

Professor of political communication at Dublin City University, Kevin Rafter and Stephen Dunne have carried out research on Irish journalists as part of the Worlds of Journalism study.

Prof Rafter, in The Irish Times, writes:

We find two fundamental changes in the age profile of Irish journalists based on a detailed survey questionnaire. First, journalists are relatively young. The overwhelming majority (68 per cent) are in the 25-44 age category. The comparable figure in 1997 was 55 per cent.

Second, we find a ‘”hollowing out” of mid-career journalists – the percentage aged between 45 and 54 is 20 per cent today (33 per cent in 1997). These results are confirmed by numerous examples of experienced reporters who have left journalism for careers elsewhere.

… A young staff can be a positive with energy brought to story generation and an ability to relate news to contemporary life. But there are also negatives.

Given the pivotal role played by the media in “educating and informing” the public about societal issues, there must be concern about the ability of younger journalists to offer serious editorial context when reporting and contextualising major news stories.


Prof Rafter adds:

Our survey indicates that 62 per cent of Irish journalists are men while 38 per cent are women. This male domination is further emphasised when we examine the seniority of positions held. A near consistent two-to-one male/female ratio is reported at every level of responsibility.

Nor is Irish journalism immune to gender salary disparities. Our findings show that the average post-tax monthly salary for a female journalist is between €2,001 and €2,500.

Their male counterparts report on average post-tax monthly salary levels of between €2,500 and €3,000. It would seem that the principle of “equal pay for equal work” is not evident in Irish journalism.

Journalists are getting younger but loss of experience brings problems (Irish Times)

Pic: Kevin Rafter

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29 thoughts on “Sexing Up And Hollowing Out

  1. The Real Jane

    *A near consistent two-to-one male/female ratio is reported at every level of responsibility.*
    *It would seem that the principle of “equal pay for equal work” is not evident in Irish journalism.*

    Well, having read these reports repeatedly over many years about various industries, allow me to preempt the main argument. These facts do not prove that there’s any discrimination, they just prove that women are, on balance, a bit rubbish and nobody should mention anything to do with anything related to discrimination because it’s the best man for the job and if women can’t compete it’s their own fault. Also, stop having babies and keep having them but don’t leave it too late.

  2. Eoin

    ‘Educating and informing’? Yeah right. Journalism is dying here. The stunning levels of bias and propaganda are there for all to see. If it was not for the likes of Broadsheet……

      1. Kieran NYC


        “Yeah but Broadsheet bias is ok because the LAMESTREAM MEDIA are right-wing government facists…”

        But 86% are centre/left…

  3. Tony

    Its funny how people expect the media to have higher standards that other sectors. All they do is sell eyeballs to the highest bidder. And they know the best way to do that is sex, celebrity, diet, crime, outrage and Una Mulally clickbait. They are privately owned so to expect them to have standards is kind of laughable. Unless of course they are publicly owned where we expect them to have unattainable standards.

    1. Andy

      It’s not fair to single het out.
      There are tons of equally crap male journalists out there.

      More accurately, “to expect them to have high standards when you don’t pay for their product is laughable”.

  4. Tony

    Liberal pinko commie SJW cult groupthink trigger warning- 86% of journalists are centre left-

  5. DubLoony

    How many of them are freelancers with insecure jobs, casual work arrangements that don’t suit any older people with responsibilities?

    There is no real investigative journalism in this country in print media and we’re the poorer for it.

  6. Clampers Outside!

    Broad sweep stats ‘mean’ nothing….. people buy newspapers for particular journalists, that is, some journos bring in more money than others, and that keeps the paper afloat.

    When the authors of the study are able to show who is and is not so much, pulling in the readers (ie money) then they can talk about pay differences. But without that info, this is just top of the line stuff.

    So, does the study take account of the papers’ earnings and the popularity of the personalities?
    Then doesn’t that mean the info is not complete and conclusions drawn are not solid…?

    I believe it does.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      Further to the above, I would add the following:

      How many men or women write for the magazines? If one writes for a weekly magazine, as opposed to every day in the paper, there’ll be different pay – what’s the M/F division between those writing weekly and those writing daily (daily being equal to more work)?

      Magazines / Supplements: If you write for a supplement, which pulls in a 1/3* less readers than the main paper, wouldn’t that writer get paid a third less if all other things being equal? – what is the M/F divide between supplements/magazines and those writing for the main body of the paper?

      *1/3 less – Source: JNRS 2015 – three examples
      Sunday Times readers 340k. Culture (biggest supplement) 221k readers
      Sunday World readers 648k; SW Magazine 435k readers
      Sunday Independent 842k, LIFE magazine 541k readers

      My point…. the study only looks at top line and makes no effort to look at the detail. IMO the conclusions drawn are far too simplistic.

  7. The Lady Vanishes

    What I’d be interested to see is a chart showing which journalists are related to other journalists and people with connections in journalism, politics etc. A far greater bar to progress than gender in this profession.

    1. rotide

      A far greater bar to progress than gender in every profession since the dawn of time.

      Fixed that for you.

      Funny how noone ever complains about nepotism in the tiling or carpentry business.,

    1. Deluded

      hi – you mentioned climate change earlier, can’t find your comment now, was it deleted?

      1. Deluded

        …found it – posted some random links but they’ll be moderated for a while.
        … I came across an article earlier on the mechanisms of ozone depletion and that got me thinking about it.
        CFCs were a big thing in my day but because the hole in the ozone layer is now over the Antarctic it has largely been forgotten though the damage continues.
        This climate-change thing feels exactly like those arguments we used to have about tobacco, asbestos and leaded petrol.
        Bizarrely, to my mind, the public focus is instead on vaccines and fluoride.

          1. rory

            Not to mention the 100 of millions of euro (I’ve read some articles that say into the billions) that Ireland will be fined for not reducing carbon emissions to levels agreed upon in the Paris climate change conference.

  8. Bill Lehane

    Any reason why the young bracket is 19 years and the old, sorry mid career bracket is only 9 years? Reads like b*****s to me quite honestly, surprising given pedigree of people behind it.

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