Broadsheet started, as many things at Salon do, over e-mail. A member of the staff would pick up on a piece of news about women that was funny or horrifying or exciting but was not getting many column inches in the rest of the press. Sometimes those e-mails turned into stories, but often the item would be small enough that it wouldn’t merit its own feature at Salon, either. Still, the staff comments — hilarious, angry, shocked, pleased — would zing back and forth by e-mail chain. Without realizing it, we’d begun our own internal blog, with a circulation of about a dozen people, that paid attention to the newsworthy triumphs and travails of what we used to call the fairer sex.
So here we are, carving out a new niche in our ever-evolving publication. Our aim is to cast a spotlight on news that puts women in the center, because while we’ve come a long way, a quick scan of bylines and stories in most major newspapers will show you that women are still not always being seen — or read. Broadsheet will be taking the ladies seriously, whether that means tracking news about how our rights are holding up, how well we’re representing ourselves politically, or how the advertising world has decided to address us, what kinds of health advances are ahead of us — all the news of our (usually) two-steps-forward, one-step-back march to equality. Broadsheet is about contradictions — the fact that opinion and editorial pages are dominated by men, alongside the fact that the most powerful editorial section of all, that of the New York Times, is run by a woman, Gail Collins. That’s the Broadsheet paradox: We’ve got problems, we’ve got some power, we’ll talk about both.
We’ll also have celebrity dish and possibly fashion news. And jokes. Women are funny.
Why “Broadsheet”? For one thing, we like the word “broad,” which for us conjures up images of Rosalind Russell as Hildy Johnson, ferociously pounding out copy on deadline in “His Girl Friday,” her tailored suit wrinkle-free and sexy. But the term also applies to our content. The issues we’ll tackle are limitless, really, given the fact that our subject includes half the world’s population. Katie Holmes’ pregnancy, Harriet Miers’ Supreme Court nomination, the FDA’s stalling over Plan B — we’ve got something to say about all of it. Our goal is to be opinionated about topics that affect women, but also a filter by which we can look at the news from a (mostly) female point of view.
Which brings us to your inevitable question: What about men? Where do they fit in here? Broadsheet believes that any discussion of “women’s issues” must include men — hey, they still hold most of the power in the world, and, well, almost all of us live with them, work with them, love them. So expect plenty of editorial input from our male colleagues, especially Farhad Manjoo, who has been one of the biggest boosters of Broadsheet since the beginning. Men are crucial to any discussion and we want to bring them into the conversations we’ll be having every day. And if Salon’s history of spirited debate between readers and editors is any indication, we’re sure you guys will show up in our comments area too and tell us what you think.
Welcome, everyone, to this new corner of Salon.