Heather Mallick is a Canadian columnist-broad with an axe to grind against Roger Hodge, the new editor of Harper's. Heather's problem with Roger is that Harper's doesn't publish enough lady writers. (Their 2006 numbers: "118 male bylines, only 17 female"). Heather feels angry about this, and has also been upset by the way in which Hodge has responded to her complaints: "You don't read Harper's because of the sex or race or the regional background or ethnicity of the contributors." Fortunately for Heather, she can take some joy in the fact that the mag doesn't move a lot of copies.
Then the PR person at Harper's helpfully e-mails me its circulation figures, which are astounding and sad. This supposedly influential magazine sells 231,000 copies (including to a substantial group of Canadian readers) in a nation of 300 million people. It reaches only .076% of the U.S. population.
Wow, looking at those numbers, we feel better about women writers not getting published in Harper's too. But how are they doing elsewhere? We looked at one of the country's most influential publications, People magazine (2006 circulation of near 4 million). We took a recent random issue—January 22: "Angelina & Brad: More Kids? 'Of Course'"—and counted the bylined pieces. Guess what we found? While men accounted for a mere eight bylines, some of which were additional "reporting by" credits, women had a staggering 19 names in the book. So you see, Heather? Nothing to worry your pretty little head about.