Friday, March 07, 2008

Join The Women’s Monitor Project

Following on the heels of the discussion of The Washington Post’s editorial judgment in selecting guest columns, this is a good time to reintroduce the National Women’s Editorial Forum’s “Women’s Monitor” project. We are currently looking at Opinion pages across the country to see how many feature women’s voices and how often.

We need your help to know who’s there and who’s not -- so we can begin to make change, one paper at a time. We’re looking for volunteers who don’t mind reading their own daily newspaper (or any one accessible on the web) and providing a report of the day of how many of the opinion columns (not unsigned editorials) are written by women.

For example, a sample report from the Los Angeles Times on March 7, 2008 shows the paper printed five columns, all by men. We’re looking for readers across the country to track their paper (or papers) and submit similar daily reports. (Looking at papers online is fine). The more reports, and the more consistent the data, the more we can take the numbers to the papers and demand they provide a forum for women’s voices. Women shouldn’t be regulated to the token voices, representing only one-fourth or less of the paper’s columnists….or less. As Katha Pollitt recently pointed out at the Washington Post the “current roster of op-ed columnists: 16 men, two women.”

That’s unacceptable and it’s time to get the data to show the editors they are excluding women’s voices from the debate.

Click here to apply for a password to the Monitor and afterwards you’ll be able to submit a report of your paper’s Opinion page breakdown.

If anyone has questions feel free to email us at nwef (at) mediaforum dot org.

We’re looking forward to hearing about how well papers across the country represent (or don’t) women’s voices.

---Rachel Joy Larris

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