‘Shark Week’ Lacks Diversity, Overrepresents Men Named Mike, Scientists Say

Lisa Whitenack loved sharks as a kid. She spent rainy days leafing through a guide to sharks in Reader’s Digest. Every summer, she would watch “Shark Week,” Discovery’s annual TV event that spotlights the ocean predator with seven days of dedicated programming.

But when the scientists appeared on her TV screen, she rarely saw any women she could look up to.

{snip} Whitenack, now a biology professor at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., found her way into shark research anyway. When the pandemic lockdowns came in 2020, she saw an opportunity to study the source of her old misconceptions. Was “Shark Week” feeding audiences the wrong messages about sharks — and who studies them?

Whitenack led a team of researchers to examine hundreds of “Shark Week” episodes that aired...

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Dec 7th 2022
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