She Said What?: Interviews with Women Newspaper Columnists

She Said What?: Interviews with Women Newspaper Columnists

by Maria Braden
     
 

No longer relegated to reporting on society happenings or household hints, women columnists have over the past twenty years surged across the boundary separating the "women's" or "lifestyle" sections and into the formerly male bastions of the editorial, financial, medical, and "op-ed" pages. Where men previously controlled the nation's new organizations, were the

Overview

No longer relegated to reporting on society happenings or household hints, women columnists have over the past twenty years surged across the boundary separating the "women's" or "lifestyle" sections and into the formerly male bastions of the editorial, financial, medical, and "op-ed" pages. Where men previously controlled the nation's new organizations, were the chief opinion givers, and defined what is newsworthy, many women newspaper columnists are now nationally syndicated and tackle the same subjects as their male counterparts, bringing with them distinctive styles and viewpoints.

Through these frank and lively interviews, Maria Braden explores the lives and work of columnists Erma Bombeck, Jane Brody, Mona Charen, Merlene Davis, Georgie Anne Geyer, Dorothy Gilliam, Ellen Goodman, Molly Ivins, Mary McGrory, Judith ("Miss Manners") Martin, Joyce Maynard, Anna Quindlen, and Jane Bryant Quinn. Pofiles describe how these writers got started, where they get the nerve to tell the world what they think, how they generate ideas for columns, and what it's like to create under the pressure of deadlines. Representative columns illustrate their distinctive voices, and an introductory essay provides a historical overview of women in journalism, including pioneering women columnists Fanny Fern, Dorothy Thompson, and Sylvia Porter.

Braden finds that today's women columnists frequently raise issues or use examples unique to their gender. Because they are likely to have a direct personal connection to current social issues such as abortion, child care, or sexual harassment, they are able to provide fresh perspectives on these provocative topics. In doing so, they are helping to define what is worthy of attention in the '90s and to shape public response.

A unique addition to the literature on women in journalism, this book will interest general readers as well as students of journalism, literature, American studies, and women's studies. Aspiring writers will find here role models and practical guidance.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a book which should appeal to journalists and to those involved with women's studies, Braden, who teaches journalism at the Univ. of Kentucky, assembles interviews with 13 newspaper women and includes reprints of their work. First offering a sketchy history of women in journalism--which slights Dorothy Thompson--Braden interviews pioneers Mary McGrory of the Washington Post and syndicated columnist Erma Bombeck, then goes on to Chicago Daily News foreign correspondent Georgie Anne Geyer, Boston Globe associate editor Ellen Goodman, syndicated conservative political columnist Mona Charon, Judith Martin (Miss Manners) and others. Two black women are included: Dorothy Gilliam of the Washington Post and Marlene Davis of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald Leader . Perhaps typical of their field, these women are brisk and pointed in their observations, eschewing rhetoric about their difficulties as women journalists. The collection proves to be as informative as it is lively. (May)
Library Journal
``Despite the differences between women columnists,'' writes Braden, ``one fact stands out: women's voices often contrast significantly with those of men.'' As proof, she profiles 13 diverse ``women's voices,'' most nationally syndicated or distributed. Interviewed are Mary McGrory, Erma Bombeck, Jane Bryant Quinn, Georgie Anne Geyer, Ellen Goodman, Jane Brody, Dorothy Gilliam, Judith Martin (Miss Manners), Mona Charen, Joyce Maynard, Merlene Davis, Anna Quindlen, and Molly Ivins. Each chapter contains a well-crafted background essay with emphasis on the columnist's writing style and voice, and three examples of her work. Braden also includes an historical essay on women and column writing (from Fanny Fern to Eleanor Roosevelt). Mary McGrory's motto is ``I've got to write it, you don't have to read it.'' But this is well worth reading and an important contribution to journalism, history, and women's studies collections.-- Jo Cates, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, Ill.
Booknews
Interviewer Braden (journalism, U. of Kentucky) explores the lives and work of columnists Erma Bombeck, Jane Brody, Mona Charen, Merlene Davis, Georgie Anne Geyer, Dorothy Gilliam, Ellen Goodman, Molly Ivins, Mary McGrory, Judith ("Miss Manners") Martin, Joyce Maynard, Anna Quindlen, and Jane Bryant Quinn. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Mary Ellen Sullivan
Female columnists are finally being heard. From the wry observations of housefrau Erma Bombeck to the literate, literary Joyce Maynard to the liberal consciousness of Ellen Goodman to the personal/political approach of Anna Quinlan, these women have attacked the issues of the day and brought powerful points of view to the public notice. Easily identifiable with a female audience, their voices are finally reaching men, too, and as a result, changing the way Americans think about the core issues they grapple with daily. Braden, a journalism teacher, opens her book with a chapter on the history and influence of female columnists. She follows with excerpts from columns by 13 of the better well known columnists as well as interviews with them in which they discuss their life and work. The interviews round out their personalities and offer the reader insight into the process of creating a column.
From the Publisher
"This is a wonderful, inspiring book about courageous women columnists who dare to speak out. They always tell it like it is, and our country is better for it." — Helen Thomas, UPI White House Bureau Chief

"These women are brisk and pointed in their observations, eschewing rhetoric about their difficulties as women journalists. The collection proves to be as informative as it is lively." — Publishers Weekly

"Whether a reader is looking for inspiring role models or new research, this interview collection is an entertaining look at changes in journalism." — Gloria Steinem

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813118192
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
04/28/1993
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.68(h) x 0.81(d)

Meet the Author

Maria Braden was a professor of journalism at the University of Kentucky and the author of Women Politicians and the Media and coauthor of Getting the Message Across: Writing for the Mass Media.

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