She Said What?
Thirteen women newspaper columnists are included in this significant book: 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. All are nationally syndicated or nationally distributed newspaper columnists with the exception of Gilliam and Davis, chosen to represent the contributions of African American women columnists. Maria Braden profiles each columnist and then reprints representative columns to illustrate the points she highlights in her individual profiles.
In her introduction, Braden notes that writing a column has typically been one of the most desirable assignments in print journalism because of the fame, independence, and special relationship with readers that columnists enjoy. After offering an historical overview of women in journalism— including women columnists Fanny Fern, Dorothy Thompson, and Sylvia Porter—Braden observes that women syndicated columnists share certain attributes: taking risks, valuing independence, and walking the tightrope between consistency (a quality that binds readers to a column) and predictability (a quality that turns readers off). She concludes her introduction by observing that the range and variety of women’s columns underscore the diversity among their voices, echoing a description of Dorothy Thompson’s columns in the NEW YORK TIMES: “She...
(The entire section is 370 words.)
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