As reported in this space yesterday, the syndication unit of the Washington Post carefully combed through the controversial sexual-assault column by George Will. “Let’s say we had a lot of discussion about it with George and he knew what he wanted to say,” Alan Shearer, CEO and editorial director of Washington Post News Media Services, told the Erik Wemple Blog.
Were there any women in the group that reviewed Will’s piece? “On that day, there were three males, if that is important to you,” Shearer told us after a followup inquiry on the editing lineup.
It is indeed important. Women are the predominant victims of rape and sexual assault; therefore, they may have some insight on the editing of a column on sexual assault. A study by the Women’s Media Center showed that women staffers at newspapers are outnumbered.
At the time that Will submitted his column to the Washington Post syndication group, he had 476 clients, a group that has since dropped to 475 with the cancellation of Will’s work by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Following its editing by the syndication group, the Will column went out to the various outlets that run his work, including The Washington Post. When it came here to the opinions section of The Post, it was copy-edited by two men and proofed by at least two women, according to Editorial copy chief Scott Butterworth.