Student Name

Ellie Lynch


Research Project Title [should not be too long, suggest max 15 words]:


The way in which female war correspondents are portrayed in broadcast compared to male counterparts.




Research Question [Definitive focus: Identifies object of study to realise objectives]:


Does gender make a difference on the front line?




Research Aims and Objectives  [specific realistic goals/ends or intended outcomes & how to achieve them]:

–       Define the role of a war correspondent and analysis the role and which aspects a stereotyped female correspondent might struggle with more than the male counterpart.

–       Find out in the primarily male dominated journalistic field

–       Find the different ways females report compared to their male counterparts.

–       Does gender truly make a difference on the effectiveness of reporting conflict as to which gender you are?

–       Find out if safety is a catalyst in why there are so few female journalists.

–       Find out why there is a gap between women and war.

–       How can female correspondence become a more protagonist and more assertive in their pieces.







Context/Background & Rationale [link with society & similar work, past & current; why project is important now]:

–       Previously male dominated as female were unable to report on war as whole and were only allowed to report on certain aspects such as the human side of war.

–       Female journalists have covered war since the1900’s compared to male correspondence that seems to stem the length of journalism itself.

–       Project is important now as war is continuous and spans the length of time itself. There is no doubt that it will continue and that

–       One of the most dangerous yet important jobs in the entire world. Committee to protect journalists found that from 1992- present day, out of all journalists killed, 41% were covering a war.

–       There are different and new dangers for female journalists however with female war correspondents purposely being sought out in order to be sexually abused. Such journalists who have suffered this is Wilson Vega and Lara Logen. Charlotte Edgar quoted that when reporting on war she “was more afraid of being raped than shot.”

–       82 journalists listed as notable War Correspondents in Wikipedia, only 20 are women.

–       Men overwhelmingly fill the ranks of war reporters, even though most of the victims of war and conflict are women and children. Critics say this is why war coverage in most countries is still very much slanted towards macho aspects such as armies, weapons, explosions, body counts and territory gained and lost. – The news manual






Literature Review [theories to be employed in making sense of, or analysing, the chosen topic, citing theorists, most common theories in literature]:

–       Theorist- Carol Gilligan – Women tend to speak and think in a different way than men when confronted with ethical dilemmas.

–        “Global compassion” –meant to fit the characteristics of female correspondence role eg: Cohen, 2001

–       “The interest in the human side of war” – Mclaughlin 2002

–       Women in broadcast tend to be used  by networks in accord with the commercial logic of market-driven journalism, which sees an advantage in exploiting the attraction of a feminine figure ‘preferably pretty’ woman in a flak jacket to contrast with the background of an unfolding tragedy. –Chambers, Steiner and Flemming , 2004

–       The visibility of female reporters may well serve as a dramatic and emotional desensitiser/intensifier but also a pleasant distraction from the horror of the events themselves – Van Zoonen, 1998

–       Martha Gellhorn –The idea that her reporting and switching into first person means that the concentration is not on her own hysteria. The face of war

–       Human cost of war

–       Social construction of war and social destruction of war for woman’s angle story. During WW2– Maurine Beasley – No jobs for women

–       Cynthia Enloe- chief argument against using women in new ways is: women being a cost or distraction if they break out of traditional roles- No jobs for women

–       Weiel Awwad-  “It used to be that you were with an army, but now you are embedded with militants, terrorists, guerillas – people who are indirectly using journalism to get what they want.”

–       “It is important to note that men too are subjected to victimisation and violence, including sexualised violence.”  – Amani El Jack

–       Paying the Human Costs of War: American Public Opinion and Casualties in Military Conflicts

–        “Gender-sensitive reporters, who understand how gender relations play out, is more equipped to uncover the underlying roots of the armed conflict and helps find solutions culled from citizenry.” – Engendering peace journalism: Keeping communities whole

–       War/violence journalism vs Engendered peace/conflict journalism – Revisiting peace journalism– Cai Yiping

–       Peace Journalism – Jake Lynch

–       “The gender of individual reporters is not the determining factor. But critics say that only when more women are in positions of influence in reporting conflict will those human stories be consistently told, not only because women might report them more but also because women will drive the debate on what aspects of war and conflict should be reported beyond the guns, bombs and soldiers.” – The news manual

–       Journalists in Iraq – A Survey of Reporters on the Front Lines

–       Collecting data by in-depth interviewing by Rita Berry.

–        “Women are more refined in their speech, use less coarse and gross expressions, are uninventive, and were men forced to be restricted to women’s speech style would quickly be reduced to a state of boredom due to the nature of a women’s conversation.” – Language; its nature, development and origin – Otto Jesperson

–       “We don’t have the data to conclude which gender makes up the largest proportion of victims of sexual violence among civilians and military actors. As for the challenges of getting this information, many surveys only interview women.”- A competition of suffering: Male vs female rape –Tia Palermo





Methodology and Sources [Tools/techniques to be employed in the gathering and analysis of data; methods of accessing/acquiring data or evidence or information; sources of the data]:

–       Survey to female war correspondents- The survey would allow me to gather preliminary information to help me further understand and develop the debate of my question. In other research forms such as interviewing. From the evidence gathered from previous surveys, surveys would allow me to reach a wider spread of war correspondents such as those unavailable to do interviews, those still reporting conflict and those from different news outlets and different platforms. As long as open-ended questions are used, this would allow me to get a more thorough response compared to the usual yes/no surveys. The information collected from the survey could then be used in a variety of way to create other forms of data such as descriptive or qualitative.  Such as the Pew Research centre did in Journalists in Iraq – A Survey of Reporters on the Front Lines

–       Interviewing male/female war correspondents- I think this is the second most important  technique to use as it would allow me to gain an in depth understanding of the difference between the two genders from an individuals perspective and own experience. From this I’d be able to ask leading questions that I wouldn’t be able to achieve with doing a survey. The interviewing would directly take me to the issues I am trying to address.  This has been seen in Collecting data by in-depth interviewing by Rita Berry.









Ethical Implications (if any) [briefly indicate whether/how there is an ethical implication for the researcher in this work. What do you need to consider as a researcher?]:

-In some of the interviews I would wish to talk about whether the aspect of safety is to why there is a disparity between the amount of female war correspondents compared to male. I would ask them of their own experiences to gain accurate information. Obviously, this would have its own ethical implications as people may suffer from PTSD.

– Another ethical implication is people drawing from their own experience from war may also have PTSD.






Strengths/Weaknesses of the Project [briefly indicate any strengths or weaknesses of the project across all areas]:

–       A potential weakness of using the method of a survey for my project is that, although often valuable, the information has questionable validity because it is highly subjective and might not be representative of the journalists. However, to resolve this I would try to send the surveys out to a variety of different war correspondents, of different genders, ethnicity, religion to try and factor in all the different opinions and influences that stop the possibility of bias.

–       Another weakness occurs with survey only allowing restricted answers. This would be resolved with my second method that personal interviews are a way to get in-depth and comprehensive information. It would involve interviewing another person for personal or detailed information.

–       The main strength of the project is that there are now so many people working within the industry and so many scholarly articles and first-hand account novels that the information would be fairly easy to gain.