TIME Magazine Mystery Gift: More Women Columnists?

This week we got our reminder notice to resubscribe to TIME magazine, even though I ordered a one-year subscription last September. I’m sure they will bombard me with useless reminders until until then.

TIME magazine is a whole lot different from the TIME I remember years ago. It’s younger, hipper, leaner and has shorter words. And shorter stories. And shorter paragraphs. Shorter words and more photos, graphs and illustrations. Joel Stein writes the Awesome Column in the back of the mag, but I need not mention his name since he already has a million followers on Twitter, so you probably already know who he is. Can all of it be reduced to Twitter Feed? I guess so, for the ADHD society we live in. Lacking much depth, its a quick breakfast table sort of read, and I like it, except for one thing.

This reminder comes with a special offer that makes me, well, scoff.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but women make up roughly 50% of the people around here. Yet my unscientific measure of my TIME magazines show 99% of the columnists in a given issue are men. (Read that again, please.)

Not that there’s a problem with men. Men are good writers. They have interesting things to say. Most men, in general, are good at something. But are you watching the demographics, Donald? Women are making the purchasing decisions at home. Women also work “outside” the home.

But somehow, your magazine — which proposes to “value and support education” — might want to include the voices of more diverse bylines from – I don’t know- let’s just call them women. And it can be done without turning it into a “women’s magazine.”

On official stationery, Publisher Donald Fries writes from the Time Life Building in Rockefeller Center. Am I interested in a “Mystery Gift” and 92% off the cover price. What is this, a box of cracker jacks? What is this Mystery Gift be? A toaster? If my husband writes the check, does he get the same gift?

If I join now, I also get free access to the TIME archive: 80 years of material since 1923. And the free weekly email newsletter. Really? Wow. Thanks Donald, but I already have a TIME app — and its pretty slow to load — so I’ll pass.

I used to love TIME. Liberal-leaning, respectable journalism at one time has decended into decoder-ring land. You are making your job ten times harder than you need to. Please, keep the toaster. Devote more TIME and SPACE to intelligent women’s voices. On staff.

And fire your marketing guys.

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