For another heartening example, take a look at The New Republic, which has undergone quite a few shakeups. While the venerable publication lost a great number of its white, male contributors, who departed in a memorable huff when the publication was bought by Facebook’s Chris Hughes (who is now selling the publication to Win McCormack), the diversity on staff has absolutely skyrocketed, true to predictions.
Notes VIDA: “Last year we reported that The New Republic made good on its promise to change, with slight improvement in most categories. In 2015, we observed a dramatic increase, as women’s share of the pie increased to 45 percent, up 18 percentage points from 2014’s 27 percent.”
On the other hand, VIDA highlights the Paris Review as an example of a publication where progress can precede backsliding. Their byline count went from near parity a few years back back to majority-male this year:
Finally, The New York Times Book Review appears to be the shining paragon of steady change. When VIDA began counting, a lot of female writers (including Jennifer Weiner, most prominently, as well as this writer) were particularly miffed at the Paper of Record’s approach to reviewing books by women, with reviews by women. A few years after the kvetching commenced, the Times hired a woman, Pamela Paul, to helm the section. The change began immediately.
Looking at the numbers as counted by VIDA, the progress is slow and steady, something we’ve seen reflected in the year-end tally of “best books,” as well as the overall byline count:
The steady leveling of the playing field at so many of these publications after six years of counting is encouraging because it shows what a direct appeal can accomplish. Unlike movie studios and even publishing houses, the staffs at literary and political magazines are leaner and can respond to critique more quickly and nimbly, setting an example for other industries to follow.