TheNew Yorker magazine is underrepresented by people of color in its bylines, staff archive editor Erin Overbey charges in a thread.
“Let’s talk about racism!” Overbey wrote. “Most white people at prestigious magazines don’t ever want to talk about race or diversity at all. Why? It's primarily because they’ve been allowed to exist in a world where their mastheads resemble member registries at Southern country clubs circa 1950.”
Specifically, Overbey alleged that for the last three decades, only 2.5% of movie reviews were written by women. In addition,
3.6% of book reviews were authored by Black writers. And in 15 years, fewer than 0.01% of print features and critical reviews were edited by a Black editor.
In fact, she later clarified her thread to read: “Hi all, responding to as many as I can, but there seems to be confusion about one of my data points. Below re gender & Profiles, you'll see that I compare 1925-1935 to 1990-2000 — not 1990-2020. For the record, there were more profiles by women pub'd in 2010-2020 than in 1925-1935.”
Overbey acknowledges The New Yorker website is more diverse. But the general allegations created a furor; media outlets ranging from NPR to New York covered the story.
She did not received any institutional response when interviewed by New York.
However, a New Yorker spokesperson emailed Publishers Daily: “We’ve worked hard for years to increase the number of underrepresented voices at The New Yorker, and we’ve made significant progress — among our writers, in senior editorial positions, and across the entire enterprise. Nearly 40% of new hires at Condé Nast are from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. While we don’t believe these tweets present a full or fair view of The New Yorker and its ongoing efforts, there is always more work to do, and we look forward to doing it.”
Plus, web editor Michael Luo responded: "We've more than doubled the size of the digital operation at the magazine since I came aboard in 2016, and the percentage of POC hires has been very, very high. It's worth looking at who we've brought aboard as editors, staff writers, and contributing writers over the last several years. It's an incredibly talented, diverse list. It's a top priority across the enterprise, and you see it reflected in department after department. (One obvious example: our fact-checking department, which has grown tremendously.)"