First Look Media and the Usual Gender Gap

Another media outlet comes up short on women


I’d much rather sit here and write about the horrible reality of drones in the never ending global war on terror. I just read First Look Media’s first article in their The Intercept on the NSA’s use of metadata on targeted assassinations via the drone program. It’s a riveting and sad article and after you read this post, you should read it because Jeremy Schahil is a phenomenal journalist.

Because I’m a woman and I am used to expecting the media to more or less fail when it comes to hiring, promoting, or amplifying women, I glanced at the staff page after I read the article. I was secretly hoping it would be diverse. I had tweeted Glenn Greenwald a few months back with a few concerns and he responded “Many — we will be aggressively diverse.”

Yet, as of launch date, only 3 of the 12 staffers are women. How is 1/4 of the staff being women meet the criteria of being aggressively diverse?

But back to drones? The content is so important that it makes it hard to pause to think about the diversity of the staff. Yes, drones (and ending the drone war) are very important but considering it’s been a woman’s group in the the US driving much of the early opposition on drones, women have a lot to say on national security, tech, and all the whole gambit of issues that First Look Media seeks to cover.

For media having 3/4 men on staff means that radio and television outlets will end up reaching out more likely than not to the men involved in First Look Media to appear on shows. Since most producers ( see Sunday shows) aren't actively committed to diversity and fight passive patriarchy, they won’t go out of their way to find the 1/4 women in the outlet for segments. This ends up continuing the reality of women being underrepresented in the media across the globe.

It’s one thing for legacy media to have to play catch up on hiring women ( and I am not ignoring other diversity issues. Yes, the lack of people of color is problematic as well. I am focusing on gender on this instance but not as an exclusion.) there is no excuse for a start up, well funded media outlet to look more like, as President Obama would say, Mad Men than 2014 reality.

From journalists to technologists to editors to social media strategists, there are more than ample women to grow and develop the cutting edge journalism that First Look Media hopes to achieve. While we all laughed at Romney’s binders full of women, I’m sure the J schools across the country/world have binders full of talented women alums.

So, First Look Media, you have a second chance to do better by the women of the world. Hire more women today and the you can really live up to your long term mission “ to produce fearless, adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues”, because women’s voices are essential.