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The Financial Times

To redress the gender imbalance, the Financial Times have developed a bot that analyses their journalists’ work and alerts them if they quote too many men.

Izzy Ashton

Assistant Editor of BITE

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Newspapers, and consequently the journalism that fills its pages, have traditionally been formed from a predominantly male gaze. The overwhelming majority of editors have been men, not to mention the principal foreign correspondents, whilst it is men who are more frequently cited in pieces as experts.

To redress this balance, the Financial Times have developed a bot that analyses their journalists’ work and alerts them if they quote too many men. The bot scans articles looking at both pronouns and first names to determine whether the source is male or female. Editors of each section will be notified if their journalists are not quoting or featuring enough women in their pieces.

The development of the bot comes off the back of research which revealed that only 21% of people quoted in the Financial Times are women. This automated tool is part of a wider push from the paper to become more inclusive, by featuring more images of women, as well as their expertise alongside opinion writers from more diverse backgrounds.

Having traditionally been seen as talking about male-dominated industries, the paper now wants to attract a larger female readership and is therefore looking to better represent them on its pages.

Renée Kaplan, the Financial Times’ Head of Audience Engagement (the paper’s first-ever) revealed how they asked a focus group, if the FT were a person, what would they look like? She revealed that “they all said they pictured a man. We realised that if that was the perception of the brand or the product in general, then naturally women didn’t feel represented.”

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