15 November 2018: This week the Financial Times announced the launch of ‘She said He said’, a newsroom bot designed to provide information about the diversity of sources within FT stories.
The initiative is the latest step in the FT’s efforts to attract more women readers. It is based on research showing a positive correlation between stories including quotes of women and higher rates of engagement with female readers.
'She said He said' uses pronouns and first names to determine whether a source is male or a female. It follows the recently launched JanetBot project which tracks the number of women featured in images on the home page, and Project XX: an effort to promote specific content to attract women readers.
As a next step, the FT is developing a related initiative with the aim of raising awareness by integrating prompts into the CMS to remind editors to think about sourcing at the commissioning stage. The tool would highlight any gender imbalance prior to publication.
This year the proportion of female opinion writers in the FT has increased from 20% to 30% as a result of opinion editor Brooke Masters’ efforts to increase diversity among columnists. The section tracks not just gender diversity but ethnicity and geographical location of contributors.
“Thanks to 'She said He said,' we now have much more information about the diversity of voices in the FT, building on our wider efforts to increase female readership,” said FT deputy editor Roula Khalaf.
“Looking more widely at diversity beyond gender among our columnists will help us increase the presence of minority voices in western countries and local voices in the rest of the world,” she continued.
About the Financial Times
The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The FT marks 130 years in 2018 with a record paying readership of more than 940,000, three-quarters of which are digital subscriptions. It is part of Nikkei Inc., which provides a broad range of information, news and services for the global business community.