We've been taken to the woodshed. Rachel Sklar, of Huffington Post and Outside Voices fame, is disappointed in Public Eye for what she sees as an inexcusable lack of women participating in the blog. As Sklar notes in a post today, when she wrote for us in June, she chastised our blog for having only featured three women as Outside Voices since last October. I said she had a point and pledged to re-double our efforts in that area. Well, six weeks later, Sklar hasn't seen any progress, writing:
Now. I hate to harp, but I have been keeping an eye on the column, and note today that this is the SIXTH male-authored column since my entry on June 23, 2006. I have no quibble with Messrs. Powers, Fenton, Barnhart, McLaughlin, Josseloff and this week's Vaina, but come on. It can't be THAT hard to mix it up. We've got a lovely and robust and diverse profession, let's celebrate it, whee! And, profession, when Public Eye asks you to step on up and write that column, step on up and rock it like you mean it. I don't really know what that last sentence means but the phrase "rock it like you mean it" is never inappropriate. It is, however, inappropriate for a media-watching blog to have a column about media that is so uniformly homogeneous.As I noted in my previous response, the lack of women appearing on Public Eye is not a result of poor effort. We have reached out to many women (and men) in the six weeks since Sklar's piece ran (we've already contacted five women for next week alone). Some put us off until a later date, others said no-thanks and others have yet to respond to us. Hillary Profita, who is responsible for reaching out to and coordinating our Outside Voices is, obviously, a woman so don't go thinking Brian and I have blinders on when it comes to this issue.
In short Rachel (and the rest of you) – we're trying to get interesting and diverse voices to write about CBS News in specific and the media in general. We certainly don't mind having our feet kept to the fire and I hope all our readers will continue to point out our shortcomings. In the meantime, I'd like to use this opportunity to echo Rachel's plea: "When Public Eye asks you to step on up and write that column, step on up and rock it like you mean it." I'll take it one step further, asking women (and men) in the profession to contact us first. Just e-mail us, let us know what you'd like to weigh in on and we'll take it from there. C'mon ladies, we're waiting.