The negotiation of meanings in the evening news: towards an understanding of gender disadvantages in the access to the public debate
This article discusses the importance of examining gender barriers in the deliberative processes of the public sphere. A participatory democracy is not feasible without the equal inclusion of women’s voices under similar conditions to their male peers. In the past, various studies have shown that are either rendered invisible or described according to stereotyped characteristics, which results in their ‘symbolic annihilation’. Arguing that television remains an important mass medium in the delivery of news to the general public, a qualitative study was conducted which aimed at understanding how gender meanings in the evening news are negotiated by television viewers. Within this context, a series of focus group discussions was organized in order to examine several gender perceptions of the news which contribute to the development of a critical perspective on media structures and content.