News & Politics

Updated: “Washington Post’s” She the People Blog Sheds Authors

The blog for women writers has reduced its pool of contributors from 25 to four.

She the People, the
Washington Post’s blog for women writers, has been shedding authors. Launched in January 2012 with
25 voices, it now features four.

It’s not quite “Me the People,” but it’s getting closer. This is sad news. When the
blog was roaring along with a chorus of women writers—from Athens to Kansas City,
London to Dallas—it was often newsy, amusing, and provocative.

Melinda Henneberger, who created the blog and still writes for and curates it, said in an e-mail: “Our
budget hasn’t been cut; we shifted to more content from fewer contributors. We’ll see what happens, but instead of having a long list of theoretical contributors, I opted for truth in advertising and a core group of constant contributors.”

Before March 17 the blog featured dispatches from more than a dozen writers. Now
it seems to be down to four: former
New York Times reporter Henneberger, from Cambridge, where she’s a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School;

Vanessa Williams, a longtime
Post reporter and editor;
Mary C. Curtis, a veteran journalist from Charlotte; and
Diana Reese, a freelance writer in Kansas City.

Gone is
Peg Tyre, author of books on education, who had some choice words for Sheryl Sandberg and
her bestseller
Lean In, about how women can be more successful.

“If you want to change things for young ambitious women,” Tyre wrote on March 9,
“here’s a little advice from me: Forget trying to organize little consciousness-raising
groups around the country for already stressed-out women. Instead, lobby your bosses
to get another woman on your Facebook board, then make a public announcement that
from now on, Facebook will only do business with companies in which 40 percent—even
30 percent—of their executive team is female.”

Out the door is Atlanta-based writer
Patricia Murphy, who advised Taylor Swift, “the spindly, blonde country songstress,” to “lighten
up” for calling Tina Fey and Amy Pohler “sexist” for joking about her love life during
the Golden Globes.

The last story from
Anthee Carassava, writing from Athens, was a delightful piece about desperate and depressed Greeks
going to “laughing clubs” to relieve the pressure from the country’s crippling depression.

Among the departed writers:
Delia Lloyd, a correspondent based in London;
Michelle Bernard, founder and president of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy;

Suzi Parker, an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist; and two veteran Washington-based
Annie Groer and
Bonnie Goldstein.

Writing for She the People was a labor of love, not cash. Contributors received about
$100 a piece.

I suspect the move to “fewer contributors,” as Henneberger said, was dictated by
metrics more than by money. And the blog still delivers pungent commentary from the
female perspective. Still, it’s a loss to see so many robust voices gone silent at
Washington Post.

UPDATE 3:10 PM: “This change had nothing to do with metrics or money,” said Vince Bzdek, the national digital political and editor of the She the People blog. “This was an editorial choice to emphasize fewer voices more often.”