Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Nation Stats

We're currently up to the February 12, 2007 issue as we track the gender representation in the leading political weekly and, as happens week after week, it's not pretty.

Editorials & Comment
"Showing Bush The Way"
John Nichols' "Pushing The Iraq Debate"
David Cole's "Hiding the Ball"
Christopher Hayes' "Only Words"
Walter Mosely's "The Sounds of Silence"
Robert Grossman's "Isolated.

Five pieces created to writers and all five are males.
5 males, 0 women

Calvin Trillin's "After Tuning In to the Sunday Talk Shows . . ."
AlterPunk's "Kristolizing the (Neconservative) Moment"

Two columns, both by males. (Trillin's is poetry which we are counting at the request of our readers.)
2 males, 0 women

Bob Moser's "The Way Down South"
Elizabeth Holtzman's "Impeachment: The Case In Favor"
Dumb Ass' "Impeachment: The Case Against"
2 males, 1 woman

As noted, Dumb Ass is all knowing. Dumb Ass is also male. Three article. Two males, one female. On page 20 of the magazine, Elizabeth Holtzman becomes the first writer to grab a credit in this issue. Not only does she become the first on page 20, she also becomes the last.

Carl Bromley's "Sacred Garden"
Duncan Swift's "House of Meetings"
Terry Eagleton's "Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy"
Stuart Klawans' "China Blue"
4 males, 0 women

Four critiques offered. Four critical voices. How many females do you see? Zero. Four males.
In fact, this may be a low point for the magazine that rarely leaves the gender ghetto with only one female getting a byline for the entire edition. How is that possible? The year is still 2007, right?

Total score: 15 men, 1 woman

Year to Date Stats: 68 males; 15 females.

We're still left with 4 males for every woman. (4.53 males for every 1 female, for those who would prefer more precise figures.)

Is that acceptable to you? Obviously, it's not judging by the e-mails. C.I. pitched this two ways: (a) an easy, short feature -- the type Dona's always asking for; and (b) something that needed to be tracked. We were all on board with "easy, short feature." We appreciated the second aspect. We're aware that the second aspect is outraging many who can't believe that a left magazine would have such a poor track record of providing female writers. (Even more so when you realize that one woman is the editor and publisher of the magazine.)

As we continue this popular feature, the e-mails pour in. It's been noted that in the critics section, the subjects are predominately male. If we'd been tracking that all along, we'd keep a count. We've tracked bylines by gender. We'll continue to do that. There are a number of readers who wish we'd also track Iraq coverage. We may do that. We think if we could find the time, we'd be able to go back and do that. If we're able to do so, look for it in the next "The Nation Stats" feature.

Another request suggests that each time we do this feature, we provide links to all past features. The Nation is a "weekly" (double issues -- or "double issues" -- call that into question) and while it would be easy to do that now, it would take up a lot of space to do that each time a new issue comes out.

What we will do is provide a link to the previous stats (starting with this feature). And this time, we will also provide links to all previous stats.

The lack of women being featured in the magazine was brought to C.I.'s attention by a group of women late in 2006. For a column at Polly's Brew, C.I. went back and compiled the stats for that year. What we had discussed was following 2007's issues each time they arrived in the mailbox. Ava and C.I. were in charge of the December 24, 2006 edition and that was the first week that a 2007 issue had arrived (January 1, 2007 issue). They immediately started up "The Nation Stats." "The Nation Stats" ran again in our December 31st edition (covering the magazine's January 8, 2007 issue -- a "double issue"). January 21st, we covered the January 22nd issue in "The Nation Stats." Last week, "The Nation Stats" covered two issues since two arrived the same day for three of us participating in this feature. To date, there were four prior features covering five issues (one of which was a "double issue").

Switching to Beta on Blogger/Blogspot screwed up our archives (as many e-mails have pointed out). So the above is provided this feature. We don't intend to list it each time so note it now. (C.I. adds, check the math and e-mail if you find a mistake.)
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