Women’s Enews Staff Shares Its Gifts From Readers

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Gift tag: To Women's Enews From a Fan

(WOMENSENEWS)–During this season, when so many gifts are exchanged, the editors of Women’s Enews wanted to share some of the gifts we have received via email.

One of our early presents came from well-known Los Angeles Times Associate Editor Narda Zacchino. She wrote way back in July, only a month after our launch:

“You are doing a terrific job of reporting news that is important and relevant to everyone, especially women.”

Another similar gift (but we can never have too many) came from journalist Jamie Tobias Nealy who wrote us in November: “Count me as a fan. It’s great to start my morning with a dose of women’s news.”

Nealy is features editor of the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., and she sent the note after deciding to reprint Caryl Rivers’ essay skewering journalists for their cruelty toward Katherine Harris (see http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=356&context=archive).

When the same commentary was posted on the MSNBC site, we received this note from reader Ken Fisher, a multimedia consultant from Madison, Wis.:

“Bravo! I’m a 45-year-old, ugly as sin male, with a 25-year-old mate and a 6-year-old daughter. My mate is bright, competent, intuitive and beautiful (with beauty the least important of her many qualities, and the only one she didn’t earn). I don’t want either of them to be judged by their appearance, when they are ever so much more than that.

“I found your article to be perhaps the best op-ed I’ve read in months. I doubt the media will take it to heart, but one can hope; after all, if the media quits pandering to the double standard, the public may follow.”

Of course, some editors, such as Karyn Collins, editor of the On the Run section of the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, convey their good wishes by frequently republishing Women’s Enews articles, complete with our Web address.

Journalists wonder if the stories we write and edit have an impact. We usually never know. However, Women’s Enews correspondent Cynthia Cooper discovered at a recent court hearing on a national settlement that, because of her reporting, women’s health advocates filed more than 20 objections to the funds going to anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers that advocates claim mislead women (see http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=305&context=archive and http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=373&context=archive). They were unsuccessful, but they were heard.

And after Marie Tessier’s dispatch from Maine describing how the women in political office made a concerted effort to recruit other women to join them (see http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=320&context=archive), Sharon Hoshida, program director of the University of Santa Barbara Women’s Center, wrote:

“I just wanted to let you know that I’ve forwarded this article to all the board members of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee. It is our goal during each off-election year to sponsor a Campaign Skills Workshop, to groom women candidates for all levels of elected office, including service on city and county commissions. This concerted effort in the state of Maine is quite impressive and serves to motivate our group.”

We also received a thank-you note from a candidate for office in Vermont after our story by Patti Reid on the backlash against gay civil unions. She was glad someone had noticed.

And you can imagine our thrill when we read this from Nani Buntarian, after Daniel Woolls’ dispatch from Spain about the debate there to publish the names of wife beaters:

“I’m circulating the story below in the Perempuan maillist, the Indonesian women’s movement mail list.”

Other e-mail lists that distributed Women’s Enews include Women Leaders Online, Jewish Women Leaders Online and AntiRacismNet, all readers we are delighted to reach.

We have also received fan mail from a staffer at the well-known women’s Web site, iVillage.com. She posted Women’s Enews coverage there during this fall’s political campaigns as well as this past summer’s Beijing+Five conference at the United Nations–the ultimate praise (see http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=140&context=archive and http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=241&context=archive).

We have received criticism as well, even for being gender-biased. Reading stinging comments such as the ones below from Erica Fletcher of Brooklyn, N.Y., are hurtful at first, but then we stop and realize we have a reader who cares a great deal about helping us get it right.

“Today’s article, Sexual Assault Clinic Offers Extraordinary Care was rife with sexism.” (See http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=369&context=archive.)

Fletcher went on to provide us with a point-by-point critique, especially the mentions in the piece of the clinic’s staff weeping.

“What’s with the crying?” Fletcher asked. “Many women in this story are crying a lot, especially this ‘internationally recognized expert’ Dr. Astrid Heger, who admits to crying over the phone to weasel donations out of men. How many stories have you read in the news recently about male doctors crying to get their way? It’s just plain old-fashioned sexist to structure an entire story around the emotionalism of the female protagonist.”

Another reader thought our discussion of the black women’s vote on behalf of the Democrats made light of the importance of the black women’s political power. We wrote her back, thanking her for taking the time to push us along on this difficult terrain. (See http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=364&context=archive.)

Of course, the greatest gift of all is the opportunity to distribute Women’s Enews writers whose journalism each and every day evokes such passion and caring, and who are willing to work so hard with the editorial staff to publish excellent news stories about women.

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