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Feminist Consciousness and the Production of a Contemporary Women's Section
Unformatted Document Text:  Tracking number: ICA-12-11416 21 production of Savvy, is full of contradictions. Features editor Bergin was among those to express discomfort with Savvy. She said: “I’ve not been closely involved with it from the start. At the start, because I wasn’t a big fan of it and I had a hard time buying into it, and now it runs fine.” While Bergin never explicitly says so, our discussion lead me to believe she has never fully supported the idea of Savvy. Bergin’s comments were relatively mild compared with current copy editor Judy Ettenhofer who worked as assistant city editor when Savvy first appeared. She said she and other women in the newsroom were uncomfortable with the idea and asked management to hold focus groups before moving forward. The current editor-in-chief recalls “the research was really supportive of this idea of doing something, having a special section for women.” Conversely, Ettenhofer said, “I was struck with the number of women who thought they would be offended.” As a woman in the newsroom, she said, “My concern was it would be too fluffy and I didn’t want to be a party to ‘let’s write about hair, make-up and fashion’.” Ettenhofer believes Savvy is “Hit or miss. We do some really good things but also we don’t go deep enough. The stories are not as deep and substantive as I’d like to see.” She remembers the original Savvy editor wanting to have a more “substantive section but struggling with resources.” As for what Mertz ultimately thinks about maintaining a women’s section, most telling may be what she said when, without prompting, she interrupted her work to explain: “I haven’t decided if I like the women’s section. I go back and forth. I’m afraid everyone will just dump stuff into that section … but because it is my job, I do it.” Publisher Frink, when asked if Savvy brings in more women readers, said he honestly does not know. Further, he explained, “I’m not even sure it’s correct.”

Authors: Harp, Dustin.
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Tracking number: ICA-12-11416
21
production of Savvy, is full of contradictions. Features editor Bergin was among those to
express discomfort with Savvy. She said: “I’ve not been closely involved with it from the
start. At the start, because I wasn’t a big fan of it and I had a hard time buying into it, and
now it runs fine.” While Bergin never explicitly says so, our discussion lead me to
believe she has never fully supported the idea of Savvy. Bergin’s comments were
relatively mild compared with current copy editor Judy Ettenhofer who worked as
assistant city editor when Savvy first appeared. She said she and other women in the
newsroom were uncomfortable with the idea and asked management to hold focus groups
before moving forward. The current editor-in-chief recalls “the research was really
supportive of this idea of doing something, having a special section for women.”
Conversely, Ettenhofer said, “I was struck with the number of women who thought they
would be offended.” As a woman in the newsroom, she said, “My concern was it would
be too fluffy and I didn’t want to be a party to ‘let’s write about hair, make-up and
fashion’.” Ettenhofer believes Savvy is “Hit or miss. We do some really good things but
also we don’t go deep enough. The stories are not as deep and substantive as I’d like to
see.” She remembers the original Savvy editor wanting to have a more “substantive
section but struggling with resources.” As for what Mertz ultimately thinks about
maintaining a women’s section, most telling may be what she said when, without
prompting, she interrupted her work to explain: “I haven’t decided if I like the women’s
section. I go back and forth. I’m afraid everyone will just dump stuff into that section …
but because it is my job, I do it.” Publisher Frink, when asked if Savvy brings in more
women readers, said he honestly does not know. Further, he explained, “I’m not even
sure it’s correct.”


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