and the Concentration
of Media Ownership
Carolyn M. Byerly
Recent critiques of the concentration of media ownership have considered the phenomenon largely through a gender-neutral lens, making it difficult to see how women and women's interests figure into the situation. This chapter has three goals, the first two being to problematize media concentration with respect to gender, and to pose a critical feminist theoretical framework for examining women's relationship to both media concentration and to the journalism profession, which operates within the larger context of media structures and events. The third goal is to explore feminist responses to the concentration of ownership in both academic and non-academic settings. The chapter thus aims to fulfill the terms of feminist scholarship by revealing the nature of gendered relations in a specific setting, as well as to suggest strategies for change that will advance women's social standing.
Mainstream—commercial—news has been the locus of feminist interest for nearly two centuries, owing to the recognized ability of news to circulate information and ideas on current issues to a mass public and to establish agendas for debate and public policy. However, large commercial news companies today are more or less inseparable from entertainment, educational and other media enterprises, which since the mid 1980s have merged into six huge multinational corporations—AOL Time Warner, Disney, Viacom, News Corporation, Bertelsmann, and Vivendi, the first three of which are headquartered in the United States. These corporations own the majority of newspapers; network and cable television and radio stations;