The BlogHer '07 conference met in Chicago last weekend, bringing together 800 women of the 13,000 members of this vibrant online community. If you didn't hear about it, it's because the national media didn't bother to report it.
Jennifer Pozner, founder of Women in Media & News (WIMN), writes a scathing analysis of this oversight on the Women's Media Center blog, reporting that "only three Chicago newspapers covered the conference, as if this national assemblage of women writers and videographers were simply a local story. Not one national network or cable news broadcast deigned to mention it."
Pozner compares that silence to the media blitz surrounding the run-up to this weekend's YearlyKos conference: "In the month leading up to Kos's gathering this coming weekend, also in Chicago, the conference's perceived political power has been discussed in print and broadcast outlets from regional newspapers such as the Chattanooga Times Free Press and the Austin American Statesman to major dailies such as the The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle, and debated on MSNBC, ABC, Fox News, PBS and, for the satirically inclined, The Colbert Report on Comedy Central."
While a 2006 Pew report found that the blogging population is young, evenly split between women and men, and racially diverse, women still struggle to receive equal media coverage of their online activities. Pozner cites the recent YouTube/CNN Presidential candidate debate as a significant example, in which CNN chose to have 70 percent of the questions asked by men.
Women understand the power of online organizing and communication. Sometimes we do it differently than men. I, for one, believe that women understand the motto "the personal is political" in a very different way than men do. Unfortunately, the male-dominated media machine then feels free to overlook what women create in favor of more traditional, "serious" opinion writing.
On one hand, women are happy to create blogs and online networks that operate on our own terms, but it is essential that we continue to push for our voices to be equally weighed in the larger conversations that are so important for all of us to have right now.