Women in Publishing - MMR Autism Scandal - Phil Ochs Documentary

Too Few Women in Publishing - In our First Hour, where are the women?

Pick up nearly any quality magazine, read the list of contributors and you will notice a dearth of women writers. Most of the articles will be written by men.

Even though half the population is female and most major magazines have a substantial female presence on staff, the lack of bylines is startling.

Why is this the case?

We've assembled a panel of Canadian and American magazine editors to come up with some answers.

Read more about hour one here

MMR Autism Scandal - In our Second Hour, Brian Deer and the importance of investigative journalism.

Deer is the man who broke one of the most important medical stories of the decade and exposed a massive fraud.

He is the reporter who challenged the assertions by British doctor Andrew Wakefield that autism in very young children could be linked to early vaccination.

It took a long time and a lot of effort but the British medical journal The Lancet finally admitted that Wakefield's work had been a fraud.

Brian Deer was here in Hour Two to talk about the case and about the future of investigative journalism in an era when newsroom budgets everywhere are being cut to the bone.

Read more about hour two here

Phil Ochs Documentary - Our Third Hour this morning is all about the towering talent and tragic life of Phil Ochs.

His protest songs became the anthems of the 60s upheaval in civil rights, poverty and an immoral war

He was gifted, funny, abrasive, a raging ego-maniac and a victim of severe mental illness.

He committed suicide more than 30 years ago at the age of 35 but a new documentary about his life and work brings him alive again. Michael will talk to the director.

Read more about hour three here

Elsewhere in the program: Stranger Than Fiction, a look at cheesy legislation, and a barrelful of your mail on pain and the Egyptian revolution.



Hour 1

Michael's Essay

In this week's essay, Michael challenges the government on two of its recent "cheesy" decisions.

Too Few Women in Publishing

When Anne Hays opened her first New Yorker of 2011 she was dismayed to see that there were almost no women's bylines in the issue.

She's a subscriber and it wasn't the first time she'd noticed a gender imbalance in who was writing for the magazine. She was annoyed enough to send a letter, vowing to return every copy she was sent until the magazine publishes at least five women per issue

In addition to putting a hard copy into the mail, Ms Hays posted the letter on Facebook where it caught the attention of the publishing world.

It also caught the attention of Cate Marvin, a poet and the founder and co-director of VIDA, Women in Literary Arts. She teaches poetry writing at Columbia University's MFA Program and she is an associate professor in creative writing in the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. They were both in our New York studio.

Ms Hansen and Ms Marvin may be outsiders, but they are not the first to notice a tilt toward testosterone when it comes to bylines.

Clara Jeffrey is the co-editor of Mother Jones magazine. She was in San Francisco

And Ann Friedman in the KXBT studios in Austin Texas. She's a contributing editor of The American Prospect and one of the editors of Feministing.com ... and the author of The Byline Gender Gap. And in our Toronto studio was John Macfarlane, Editor & Co-Publisher of The Walrus, and by Gail Cohen, Editorial Director of Canadian Lawyer and Law Times Media.


Hour 2

MMR Autism Scandal

The story of Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his fraudulent research is a cautionary tale for medical professionals, for parents and for journalists.

In 1998, the Lancet - a British journal of medicine - published a paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and 12 others. The Lancet was and remains one of the world's pre-eminent scientific publications. The paper it published claimed that the reseacrhers had found a link between the onset of autism and the Measles Mumps and Rubella vaccine - known as the MMR - that's given routinely to young children.

The paper caused a panic and inspired countless parents around the world to keep their kids unvaccinated - and it wasn't just the MMR. Many of those parents refused to allow their children to receive any type of vaccine.

Their fears were spread by word-of-mouth, organized campaigns and high-profile celebrities.

But after investigating Wakefield's claims, award-winning British journalist Brian Deer came to a different, but maybe equally disturbing conclusion; the Lancet report was a fraud.

Mr. Deer, who writes for the Sunday Times of London, began working on the story in 2003 - but it took seven years for the Lancet to withdraw the original paper. Earlier this year, the British Medical Journal went even further. In a series of three articles written by Brian Deer, the journal denouced both the researchers and the research and accused the Lancet of attempting to cover up the fraud.

Brian Deer is in Canada this week and he joined Michael in our Toronto studio.

Mail: Pain

A couple of weeks ago, we brought you a segment about pain.

Sunday Edition producer Peter Kavanagh has lived with the excruciating sort for his entire life, and he spoke eloquently about that experience. And Michael spoke with Dr. Michael Cousins from Sydney, Australia. He is a pioneer...some would say the inventor... of the field of pain management.

Here's some of the mail we received in response to that story.

Disc Pack

Last Sunday, the Grammy award in the Best New Artist category was not won by teenage heartthrob and commercial juggernaut Justin Bieber, but by a relatively unknown jazz singer and bass player named Esperanza Spalding. With all due respect to our younger listeners, we're going to have to back up the Grammy folks on this one.

Here is Esperanza Spalding with a song from her CD "Chamber Music Society". Its lyrics are based on a poem by William Blake - "Little Fly"

Esperanza Spalding was this year's Grammy winner for Best New Artist. And deservedly so.Though the Grammys don't always get it right.

The great singer Mel Torme won two Grammys in a row in the 1980s for recordings he made with British pianist George Shearing. But Shearing was not nominated either time, an oversight for which Torme blasted the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.

George Shearing died this week. He was 91.

George Shearing was a piano virtuoso and one of the most erudite musicians of his generation. The Shearing Style was hard to describe, you just knew it when you heard it. And it became a benchmark for generations of musicians.

Here is George Shearing with "My Favourite Things".

Valentine's Day Revolution

They called it the Valentine's Day Revolution. Or the counter conference. Thirty years ago this week - a spirited and angry group of Canadian women converged on Ottawa - and changed history.

It was a time when a new constitution and the still evolving Charter of Rights and Freedoms were hot topics.

Lloyd Axworthy, the Minister responsible for the Status of Women in the Trudeau government had just abruptly cancelled a conference - on women and the constitution - that he had originally agreed to host. Doris Anderson, Chair of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, resigned in protest. She thought - and Axworthy hoped - that would be the end of the story. Far from it.

Women in Toronto gathered to discuss Anderson's resignation. They decided to go to Ottawa to register their protest and to hold a constitutional conference of their own. In a matter of days - long before the internet or social media - their numbers grew, and grew, and grew again. They sought out ever-larger meeting rooms, to accommodate everyone who joined their ranks.

More than 1300 women from across the country descended on Parliament Hill for that conference. Their actions ensured that the rights and freedoms in the proposed Charter of Rights would be guaranteed equally to women as well as to men.

Here is a montage of voices and sounds from the women's counter conference, taken from a new documentary film called Constitute. The tape opens with the voice of Doris Anderson. You'll hear Flora McDonald, Mary Eberts, Pauline Jewitt, Michele Landsberg, Linda Palmer Nye and others.

You can watch Constitute here.


Hour 3

Phil Ochs Documentary

Phil Ochs was a life force in the movement for social change that swept through the 1960's.

His songs took head-on the problems plaguing America - racial injustice, political corruption, an immoral war. For many, Phil Ochs was the grittier, more cerebral counterpoint to Bob Dylan, though he never achieved Dylan's popular success.

The suicide of Phil Ochs in April 1976 was a shock, but not a surprise to those who knew him. His decline into despair and mental breakdown had begun years before.

The brilliant and tortured soul of Phil Ochs is the subject of a new documentary by producer/director Kenneth Bowser. It's called ""Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune". Kenneth Bowser was in our New York studio.

Mail: Egypt

Many of you wrote in response to Michael's conversation with Professor Robert Springborg about the role of Egypt's military in the profound changes taking place in that country.

He's a professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey California. And he's an expert on the Egyptian military. Michael asked him if he could think of a time when the military in any country had willingly handed over power to a civilian government. He mentioned Turkey...so that's one. But the Sunday Edition audience could think of plenty, and several ran straight to their computers.

Stranger Than Fiction #7

He dreamed of being a rock star, she claimed to be a lingerie model. Truth or mirage?

In this week's installment of Stranger Than Fiction - Part 7 of our series - Adam Gollner explores the memory of a chance encounter over the phone ...and demonstrates the maxim "be careful what you wish for."

Adam Gollner is the author of The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Obsession, Commerce and Adventure.

Here is his true story, "A Casual Encounter."

Comments are closed.