Ten Women Major Magazines Should Be Commissioning

Mac McClelland is a female reporter, who is more than capable of doing the same work as her male counterparts.

In keeping with our conversation on Tuesday about the pathetically small number of pieces by women published in major American magazines, I thought I’d move beyond frustration to solutions. If it’s so hard for editors (and as many readers pointed out, who’s commissioning and editing is critically important to who gets commissioned and published) to find female writers who have the chops to get major magazine assignments, I’ll offer up 10. These are just a few of the wildly talented women out there that major magazines would benefit from publishing on a regular basis, and their subscribers would benefit from reading. And you don’t need to stick them in a lady-issues slot, either:

1. Mac McClelland: I said it last year, and I’ll say it again. Someone should send Mother Jones’ awesome investigative reporter out on the road with a dude movie star to send back awesome—and non-flirtatious—reports from the road. That, or ship her off to a war zone. Either way, McClelland would turn in an account that’s deeply reportered and wildly entertaining to read.

2. Irin Carmon: The Salon reporter’s turned in everything from ferocious reports on the wide array of measures conservative lawmakers have been pushing to limit women’s access to reproductive health care to seminal essays on the enduring cultural legacy of Dirty Dancing. And she’s proven she can do everything from Jezebel-style blogging to substantial reporting, which is all editors who need to fill the front of the book, the back of the book, and the feature well should need to know.

3. Amanda Hess and Tracy Clark-Flory: Periodically, a major magazine will decide it wants to get a little edgy and profile a porn star or a porn entrepreneur. Sometimes, they’ll even assign a woman to do it, like when Vanessa Grigoriadis hung out with Sasha Grey at the beginning of her transition from pornography to mainstream movies for a Rolling Stone profile. But she’s not the only woman who can write these kinds of pieces. Magazines who want to get erudite about the adult industry should consider Hess and Clark-Flory, both of whom cover porn as a core part of their beats.

4. Willa Paskin: Okay, she already shows up in the pages of New York Magazine, so it’s not like Paskin’s a stranger to the national magazine circuit. But more publications should be putting her gimlet eye for pop culture and ability to break down why a show or movie works—or just as often, doesn’t—on a large scale. Maybe a weekend in Los Angeles with the Sisters Deschanel? Just sayin’.

5. Charlie Jane Anders: The only writer on this list who could write for the fiction section of your magazine as well as turn in reviews, the managing editor of io9 should be your go-to gal for all things science and science fiction. And because she runs the San Francisco-based Writers With Drinks series, she could probably hook you up with a whole other range of talented writers to fill your pages.

6. Dana Goldstein: Judaism. Education policy. Great book reviews like this one. Goldstein came up in the Washington, DC journalism community that values deep dives and expertise in subject material, honed her skills as a Daily Beast editor, and now is working on an education policy book and churning out essays. New York Review of Books—snap this one up.

7. Sarah Jaffe: This Alternet editor polishes and writes some of the great labor journalism America’s major publications have, with a few minor exceptions, largely abandoned. She was one of the first people to seriously cover the Occupy movement on the ground. And she also knows a whole bunch about comics. Your nerd readers and your economic policy readers will thank you.

8. Kate Sheppard: Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time, so why not hire a reporter deeply versed in the politics of our approach to it? Oh, and while you’re at it, you might want to take a look at Mother Jones, the place that currently employes both Sheppard and McClelland and see what you can do to find and develop outstanding female reporters as well as Editor in Chief Clara Jeffrey has.

9. Kashmir Hill: Want your magazine content to flourish on the web? Hill has an incredible eye for what details make a story pop, and she’s great at framing technology stories in particular. As personal tech and all the privacy issues that come with it become increasingly important, magazines could differentiate themselves from the dude-heavy tech writer crew by hiring Hill.