Who writes for the New York Times? Andrew Briggs decided to find out after a friend told him about The Count, an annual report of male and female byline imbalances in major print publications each year, published by the nonprofit VIDA.
“[The Count] is a yearlong, longitudinal study,” Briggs says. “But what does that look like day to day? What does it look like hour to hour?”
Briggs, a recent graduate of Northwestern University, decided to build WhoWritesFor, a system that combs the New York Times homepage every five minutes to analyze the gender breakdown of male and female writers featured on the site daily. From the site’s archives, it’s not hard to see who’s ahead (Male bylines are in blue; female bylines are in red):
The New York Times received criticism in June after the release of a University of Nevada analysis of more than 350 front-page Times stories found men were quoted up to six times as much as women.
Briggs, a computer science and English double-major, was inspired by a hybrid data science and journalism class he took at Northwestern, which he liked so much, he took it twice. Briggs says he’s considering customizing WhoWriteFor’s current code to scan bylines of other publications such as The Atlantic or the Wall Street Journal.
Every year, Fast Company names its 100 Most Creative People, highlighting the global leaders in tech, design, media, music, movies, marketing, television, sports, and more. Briggs, and other thought leaders, will be considered for 2014’s list.