Bob Sommer, who teaches public policy communications and is president of Observer Media, publisher of The New York Observer, and John R. Maycroft, a graduate student in public policy, (both at Rutgers University, or as I like to call it, the University of New Jersey) went through 366 op-eds written by academics in three major (or more accurately, 2 major and one not so major) newspapers, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Star Ledger. They find that (1) 90 to 95 percent of the op-eds agree with the editorial page stance on the issue, (2) most of the academics come from high-prestige universities, and (3) men wrote 78 percent of the op-eds in The Star-Ledger, 82 percent in The Times, and 97 percent in The Journal.
According to the New York Times article that discusses Sommer and Maycrott’s research, the authors find their latter discovery (men writing most of the op-eds) to be “the most astonishing.” I haven’t read their article, but I find it curious that they would say this is their most astonishing discovery. I’m assuming that most of the op-eds in the Wall Street Journal are economic or policy oriented. Therefore, as a baseline, they should see what percentage of academics in those fields are men. I haven’t looked at the latest numbers, but I think they are above 75 percent. Therefore, are 78 percent of the op-eds in The Star-Ledger, 82 percent in The Times, and 97 percent in The Journal such “astonishing” numbers?