Report highlights The Australian’s transgender coverage was 90% negative

transgender The Australian

A report looking into mainstream media’s coverage on people who are transgender has highlighted that The Australian newspaper and other News Corp owned publications feature stories about transgender people much more often than their rivals.

The study also highlights that reports in The Australian newspaper between April and October 2019 were framed transgender people and issues negatively 90 per cent of the time.

The study authored by Joshua Badge and Alexandra García was published online at Sydney Corpus Lab. The virtual lab connects computer-based linguists across the country who study the specific field of text based language.

Following criticism of The Australian in 2019  researchers analysed the reports that had been published in The Australian and found that of a sample of 53 articles published between April and October 2019, over 90 per cent of the articles framed transgender people and issues negatively.

When the researchers expanded their study to include the ten most widely read news outlets in Australia they found of all the articles published that covered transgender people or issues more than half came from only three newspapers. An analysis of 1319 articles published more than half were found in The Australian (333), The Herald Sun (226) and The Daily Telegraph (149), which are all subsidiaries of News Corp Australia.

The researchers question if non-mandatory reporting guidelines introduced by the Australian Press Council are having any effect on how transgender people are represented in the mainstream media. The guidelines were introduced in November 2019.

The report notes that the number of articles did decrease by 37% in 2020, though this may have been caused by a shift in priority to the Covid-19 pandemic and related topics rather than the advisory guidelines.  Only two newspapers, The West Australian and the Courier Mail, published a slightly higher number of articles in 2020.

The study also highlights that transgender women are featured in the reports at a far higher rate that transgender men. References to transgender women appeared more than four times more often than transgender women.

OUTinPerth asked The Australian if they were concerned about the reports findings, but there was no response. Back in 2019 Helen Trinka, the then Managing Editor of The Australian, told OUTinPerth that there reports were all “objective, factual and accurate,” while editor John Lehmann told the ABC’s Media Watch that “The Australian seeks at all times to provide balance and obtain diverse views.”

OIP Staff


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