Visual Representation and Stereotypes in News Media

56 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2021 Last revised: 27 May 2022

See all articles by Elliott Ash

Elliott Ash

ETH Zürich

Ruben Durante

Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA); Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Department of Economics and Business, Students

Maria Grebenschikova

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Center for Digital Technology and Management

Carlo Schwarz

Bocconi University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2021

Abstract

We propose and validate a new method to measure gender and ethnic stereotypes in news reports, using computer vision tools to assess the gender, race and ethnicity of individuals depicted in article images. Applying this approach to 700,000 web articles published in the New York Times and Fox News between 2000 and 2020, we find that males and whites are overrepresented relative to their population share, while women and Hispanics are underrepresented. Relating images to text, we find that news content perpetuates common stereotypes such as associating Blacks and Hispanics with low-skill jobs, crime, and poverty, and Asians with high-skill jobs and science. Analyzing news coverage of specific jobs, we show that racial stereotypes hold even after controlling for the actual share of a group in a given occupation. Finally, we document that group representation in the news is influenced by the gender and ethnic identity of authors and editors.

Keywords: Computer Vision, gender, media, race, Stereotypes, Text Analysis

JEL Classification: C45, J15, J16, L82, Z1

Suggested Citation

Ash, Elliott and Durante, Ruben and Grebenschikova, Maria and Schwarz, Carlo, Visual Representation and Stereotypes in News Media (October 2021). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP16624, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3960205

Elliott Ash (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Ruben Durante

Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) ( email )

P/ Lluis Companys 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Department of Economics and Business, Students ( email )

Barcelona
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://www.rubendurante.net

Maria Grebenschikova

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Center for Digital Technology and Management ( email )

Munich
Germany

Carlo Schwarz

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

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