Men still dominate in lit mags, but women are experimenting with longform online

Literary journalism will have a digital future. Exhibit A: Snow Fall. Exhibit B: The Atavist.  Amazon and BuzzFeed are also becoming major outlets for in-depth narratives.

But what kind of role will women play in telling the longform stories of tomorrow?

When it comes to traditional literary magazines, men still dominate, according to a recent survey by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Harper’s Magazine, for example, published 141 stories by men last year and just 42 by women. At the New Yorker it was 613 pieces by men and 242 by women.

It’s far too soon to take a scientific look at the gender breakdown of digital longform efforts, but women have been among those experimenting on new platforms. Seven of the stories recently posted on The Atavist were at least partially produced by women, and women wrote about a dozen of the Kindle Singles listed under the “reporting” category.

Still a minority, but a start.

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2 thoughts on “Men still dominate in lit mags, but women are experimenting with longform online

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi Meg,
    Thanks for linking from Facebook! I wonder if anyone has studied the same issue as it relates to TV? I love print and multi-media and whatever else newspapers are becoming almost as much as you, but TV is still perhaps more “mass media” than they are, and therefore, examples like CBS Sunday Morning hit a wider audience with their glaring lack of ladies… And to top it off, really this week was gratuitous, ladies only in the kitchen, or as a sexual object. Argh.

  2. megheckman says:

    Thanks for being the first comment on my blog, Sarah… and for bringing up such a good question. I’ve seen some studies about the gender breakdown of TV journalists, but nothing about how that plays out on certain shows. I’m going to do some research, though, and put together a post just for you.

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