Writing for Teh Laydeez

During the election, everyone laughed when Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin what newspapers she got her news from, and got a stammering "Um...I don't know...whatever's handed to me?" in response. The general line of reasoning was, if she can't even credit what sources she learns of the news from, how can we believe she has any idea whatsoever what she's talking about? Even if one accepts that she doesn't *have* to read the papers, that she gets briefed by her staffers on events relevant to her duties, it certainly showcases a major gap between her and "average" Americans - a deadly image for the folksy, down-home persona she tried to project.

And yet, among the younger demographic, fewer and fewer of us would have an answer to the question of "What newspaper do you read?" It's not that we're uninformed - I subscribe to 60 blogs, at least a third of which are news-oriented or focused on timely and topical postings - but newspapers? Who reads those anymore?

Not women, according to a report from the International Newspaper Marketing Association. Women are a steeply declining readership for traditional newspapers, and zomg, the poor ol' boys at the top of the editorial heap just can't figure out why!

According to the report, newspaper studies have shown "that women respond most strongly to news that is intensely local, has an accessible graphic presentation, is solutions-oriented (this is especially important in foreign and political reporting, women say) and is told in a storytelling style, rather than a "just the facts, ma'am" approach." Really? I'm sorry, my ladybits didn't inform me that they prefer "intensely local" (as opposed to what? half-assedly local?) news to national and international news. Who knew my cunt had a reading preference?

Dear World: Stop regarding women as a "special interest group." We make up 51% of the damn population. If anything, men should be the "special interest group." Specifically, newspaper-people: Stop shoving stories of women being dismembered and stuffed in freezers, lost in poker games, kidnapped for refusing a marriage proposal, and beaten into the "Odd News" section. There is nothing odd about these things. Let women's voices be heard. 78-97% (depending on the paper) of op-eds are written by men. Actually use the word "rape" appropriately, instead of constantly talking about men "having sex with" unconscious women. Do these things, start showing that you think women are really people too, and your readership among women might come out of its freefall. No focus group necessary.

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