New Media’s Lack of Diversity

In “New Media—but Familiar Lack of Diversity” (Fairs EXTRA! June 2012), Janine Jackson writes that women and people of color are still marginalized online.

“Traditional outlets, of course, did not and do not report ‘for everyone,’ but demonstrably exclude and marginalize many people and perspectives, particularly the less politically and economically powerful. Progressive critics and activists, seeing corporate journalism’s ‘crisis’ as an opportunity, hoped that newly emerging outlets would avoid repeating those myopic patterns, forging not just new pay structures, but a new definition of news as something more than what powerful people say and do.”

It seems New Media have failed women miserably.

The Op-Ed Report features on its homepage an interactive count how many women are represented each given month at various new and old media outlets. At last count (May 22-28), 69% of posts in the Huffington Post were written by men and 31% by women. Salon had an even larger gap: 79% of its stories were written by men and only 21% by women.

The Op-Ed Project published a survey in May that states that women tend to write a lot of stories on ‘pink topics’ — food, fashion, family and furniture. Among the new media organizations surveyed, 34 percent of the stories women wrote were on pink topics.

But to be fair, many women writers tend to pitch their editors pink stories that they think other women want to read and they don’t submit enough op-eds on heavier topics. A classic Catch 22 that only we can resolve.

Ladies, get your pens out, err, polish your keyboards and get to work.

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Tekla Szymanski

Tekla is a New-York based independent content strategist and front-end web developer, a multilingual journalist, writer and editor (both offline and online).

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