I am currently in the midst of preparing a comprehensive communication research project as part of my capstone course in the MACOMM program. My project focuses on the impact of media framing…particularly on female CEOs. I chose to use Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer as an example of this communication phenomenon, as she is a public figure I have been fascinated with over the past 18 months and one of the latest leaders to tackle the “women can/can’t have it all” conversation.
Below is a link to my project proposal and an abstract from that proposal. Currently, I’m tackling the textual analysis portion of my project, taking a hard look at the media coverage of Mayer during the four media episodes I outline in my proposal. At the end of this process, I will have a completed thesis paper and research project on a topic I’m passionate about and will be excited to share with all of you!
When Marissa Mayer became the CEO of global Internet corporation Yahoo in July 2012, popular press portrayed her as a successful young executive who was also pregnant with her first child. Several subsequent major media episodes, including coverage of Mayer’s maternity leave, the decision to revoke Yahoo’s work-from-home policy, and a photo shoot in Vogue, revealed the use of gendered language and a “motherhood” lens to describe Mayer rather than focusing on her abilities as a leader or her background in the industry. Would similar language be applied if Mayer had been male, single, or child-less? How might the use of gendered language, over time, impact public opinion about Mayer’s decisions? Though news media reporters and editors are stretched to do more with less, the media still play a powerful role in influencing public opinion, culture, and an understanding of the world. During a time when large American companies are naming more female CEOs, it is important and interesting to note whether the news media coverage about these female leaders differs from the media coverage of their male counterparts. Through a textual analysis of traditional and digital media framing of Mayer, this study will seek to explore and analyze the potential implications of media coverage of female CEOs.