On Twitter, a hashtag for female editors

Here’s another example of how Twitter and other forms of social media are boosting feminism: After Port magazine declared an all-male golden age of magazine publishing, it wasn’t long before a hashtag emerged to celebrate the work of female editors.

Amy Wallace,  editor at large of Los Angeles magazine, launched the effort yesterday, and it wasn’t long before it took off:


(Full disclosure: Tim Fernholz and I are old friends. He rocks.)

And here are mine:





A first-hand account from the ‘golden hour’

One of the many photos taken by Northeastern University journalism student Taylor Dobbs after the Boston Marathon bombing. Photo/Taylor Dobbs

I was home in New Hampshire on Monday, so when I heard about the Boston Marathon bombing I turned to Twitter to find out what was happening. One of the first things I noticed was a string of tweets from Taylor Dobbs, an undergraduate student I’ve gotten to know through Northeastern University’s journalism program.

Taylor lives fairly close to the marathon course, and he sprinted out the door when he heard the explosions. In the hours that followed, he became a textbook example of how a modern journalist should behave in the hours after a disaster. He got close, but not close enough to jeopardize his safety or block emergency response teams. He shared only what he saw or was able to confirm. No rumors, no speculation. He thrived in what Mark Little calls the “golden hour” — “the time it takes social media to create either an empowering truth or an unstoppable lie.” With photos and 140-character dispatches, Taylor told the truth of the chaos around him.

I wasn’t the only one who noticed his good work. The BBC interviewed him several times Monday afternoon and, by Tuesday, he’d agreed to produce a piece for Medium — a new digital publication led by one of the founders of Blogger. You can see it here. (More photos are available on Taylor’s blog.)

Taylor calls this style of story a “photo/essay” — a term I hope will catch on.  The idea is simple: large photos, a few tight sentences and white space. Think of it as a more elegant, more serious and more structured version of those “15 faces your cat makes” features on BuzzFeed. It’s the perfect use of the web really, one that capitalizes on its visual strengths while remaining clean, tight and readable.

It’s not unusual for major news events to bring new storytelling tools to the forefront.  If they’re used with the same care and professionalism Taylor applied to his photo/essay, I think that’s a good thing for the evolution of journalism.

Some of my favorite #edgyheadlines

I’m utterly obsessed with a new Twitter hashtag designed to show the stupid things headlines say about women. The tag — #edgyheadlines — got started last week after feminist author Kate Harding poked fun at a New York Times story that asked, “Do women have what it takes to lead?”


Other Twitter users have suggested dozens of #edgyheadlines over the last few days.Here are a few of my favorites:


TIME’s list of top Twitter users is basically a boys’ club

On Twitter, science and politics are topics best left to men. At least that’s the message TIME is sending with its list of “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2013.” The annual roundup of top tweeters is overwhelmingly male, with women dominating just four of the 14 categories.

Female Twitter users are especially scarce in areas of the list devoted to science and politics, but they outnumber men when it comes to traditionally “pink” topics like fashion and food. The genders were evenly represented in a category devoted to activists. In all, the list included 71 men and 46 women, plus a couple dozen institutional accounts.* Here’s a full breakdown:


Does all this really matter? Probably not, but inclusion on a list like this creates buzz and a certain amount of pop-culture legitimacy. The fact that vast swaths of TIME’s selection are so male heavy is weird, especially when you consider that 60 percent of Twitter users are female.

TIME editors admit the list is “not comprehensive” and invite Twitter users to weigh in with their own favorites using the hashtag #Twitter140. But I can’t help wondering if they could have pushed a little harder to highlight women who meet the criteria of standing “out for their humor, knowledge and personality.”

There’s no dearth of smart women offering pithy political tweets. This crew, for instance, or any of the fine journalists suggested by Carrie Dann of NBC News:

As for science, I’ll bet this spunky social media user has some ideas.

(*A note on my methodology: I broke TIME’s list into three categories: male, female and other. The first two groups are self explanatory. I applied the “other” label to non-gendered accounts, most of which represented institutions. Careful readers will notice that 141 accounts appear on the graphs. That’s because one of TIME’s picks included two names, one male and one female.)

Women are still in the minority at the NYT

Journalist John Surico attended a talk yesterday by New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson. While she spoke, he tapped out a few tweets. One, about the gender breakdown in the newsroom, caught my eye:

(The Times has, however, increased the number of op-ad pieces written by women in recent years.)

Here’s more on the difference between the number of women in the classroom and in the newsroom.

More resources from Twitter

Since leaving my staff job at the Concord Monitor last summer, I’ve struggled with how to reshape my use of Twitter. At the paper — where I helped maintain a couple of political blogs — it was easy: All presidential primary. All the time.

Launching this blog has forced me to reconsider who I follow and to organize my connections into lists — including this one focused on women and journalism. Some feeds, like @GenderReport and @womensmediacntr, deal directly with the topics addressed by this blog. Other accounts, like the one maintained by Ms. Magazine and this one from Bitch Media, deal with broader cultural questions of gender.

I’ve also included some smart, insightful writers like Soraya Chemaly who, according to her bio, says “feministy things about gender absurdities in media, religion, pop culture & politics. Out loud.” Other pithy tweets come from media critic Jennifer L. Pozner and author Jessica Valenti.

The most useful feed, though, belongs to the Journalism and Women Symposium. Many tweets are focused on the group’s activities, but there’s also a fair bit of pertinent industry information.