A Tale of Three Women: Framing as a Patriarchal Practice in the News Coverage of Women in Distress
Women in situations of distress receive a disproportionate amount of news coverage. As survivors (or perpetrators) of crime, violence, or natural disasters, they are naturally “newsworthy”—a newsroom term for the subjective lens with which truthtellers define and select their news frames. These frames, which govern the identification and coverage of what is “newsworthy,” box women into specific, patriarchal roles. Women who do not fall within the traditional feminine archetypes are labeled as dissidents or insurgents, and are excluded, dismissed, rejected, or worse persecuted, until the news recasts them into more familiar molds. This is exemplified in the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s news coverage of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia and sentenced to death in 2010. An examination of the Inquirer’s coverage of the Veloso case unearthed the gender biases that are inherent in the subjective rules that govern the patterns of selection and depiction in mainstream newsrooms.
This paper attempts to open the discussion on the changing notion of news among Filipino broadcast audiences and the broadcast media gatekeepers through the use of user-generated content. Several versions of singular events are allowed to be told, thus subverting the news media’s monopoly of the telling of events. This paper looks at some of the web videos that made the jump from sites like YouTube and Facebook, and assesses their newsworthiness according to those set by the mass media. Are audiences and producers influencing a change in the criteria of newsworthiness? Through a rhetorical analysis, this paper proposes a switch to the “little narratives” often regarded as novelty by corporate media, and argues for the quotidian that exist as story fragments; the private lives of individuals contribute to the conceptualization of news from the others’ perspective.