I just wanted to report that Wired editor Chris Anderson followed through with his invitation to me to participate in a brainstorming session about putting a woman on the cover of the magazine. Yesterday, I joined a conference call that included Anderson and several other members of the Wired staff including Thomas Goetz, Nancy Miller (the one who participated on the Poynter chat) and Sarah Fallon. Much of the conversation was off-the-record, and rightly so, as the purpose was to generate ideas without judgment or commitment. It was an interesting exercise and some good ideas were proposed. Anderson started out by describing the elements of a good cover, how it should represent an idea, is not necessarily a person and that a good cover can make quite a difference in terms of newsstand sales. After that, he opened the floor for ideas, graciously inviting me to go first. There was a good discussion for each, and while the conference call format was not necessarily easy in which to jump in, I feel it was a productive session. What was difficult was to resist the urge to spew a laundry list of women worthy of coverage without the appropriate angle with which to cover them. The goal was not to identify women who would simply be interesting profiles (of which there are many), it was to find women with an ability to represent a broader issue or theme.
For me, it was a beneficial exercise in understanding the inner workings of a publication like Wired. I am very appreciative for the opportunity and feel that this shows Wired’s sincere interest in resolving the issue of gender representation on their covers and within the pages of the magazine. I hope to have the opportunity to communicate with them again.
I still haven’t decided whether or not to renew my subscription and to continue discussing Wired with my students. At this point, Wired has done everything I could have hoped to engage the issue, so my inclination is to give them a second chance. I will probably wait until the next issue to see how it is addressed in the editor’s notes.
What do you think?