Jennifer Reitman Gives a Voice to Diverse Women Through Dame Magazine

As we write this, we’re 55 days away from the 2020 Presidential election. And while we keep our TV’s tuned in to a steady stream of Beltway coverage of politics from the major news networks, we also crave journalism that approaches the subject from a different perspective. That’s why we were thrilled when we learned about Jennifer Reitman’s Dame magazine.

Dame provides critical context around the political, cultural and societal issues of our time. Independent women-owned and women-edited Dame breaks through conventional narratives to deliver the insight readers need to understand today's complex cultural landscape.

In this week’s episode of The Passionistas Project Podcast, we talked to Dame’s founder and publisher about the current state of media, covering the Biden-Trump showdown and why it’s important to her to elevate diverse voices.

Here's an excerpt from our interview with Jennifer Reitman.

Passionistas: What's the one thing you're most passionate about?

Jennifer: It's clearly about driving equality in the media landscape. We live in a world where women are just over 51% of the population, but we own only 11% of all media. And this is coupled with holding only 37% of all media and journalism jobs. And I always say that that when you look at those statistics, what that tells us is that the stories that are being told the framing of the news is an, is an incomplete picture because those voices aren't equally reflected.

Passionistas: How do you make sure those voices are reflected through the magazine?

Jennifer: First and foremost, of course, is that we're a hundred percent women edited. And our stories themselves, the news we cover is bylined, I would say 99.9, 9% by women. Occasionally we'll publish a story by a man, but nearly everything is bylined by women. And that, that matters. And it matters because the language we use, the framing, the context and the analysis, when you're looking to create equality in media, you have to have that reflected in the stories and in the coverage.

Passionistas: Talk a little bit about the current state of media and how it's changed and some of the challenges that you're facing.

Jennifer: Is this the part of the interview where I start to cry? Well, the current and the, you know, the current state of our union, as we say, the current state of, of, of media is dire it's frankly dire, but it's not, it's not as a result of, of this administration necessarily. That's been amplified with his enemy of the people language. My beloved industry has been suffering for a very long, long time. And so I worry tremendously about it because there are lots of sayings about journalism, right? The first drafted history, but really you don't have democracy without a free and fair press. And while on the business side of things, there's been a erosion for years and years in terms of what works from a business model and how to survive financially, what brings me great, great concern is the erosion in trust of, of the institution of press today.

And so on the business side, I think you'll see things, you know, things will change and models will pivot and tech, new technologies will come out and, and those who survive, and those who don't. But so I'm a little less concerned about that and tremendously concerned around how do we, as an industry, how do we encourage people and get them to understand the role of, of our business in their daily lives? And this is particularly important at the local level. Dame is obviously not a local news outlet. Many of our stories are pegged to local news issues, but, but we don't, we're not a beat outlet and say, you know, Bennis, California, we are the guard rails in so many ways. You know, we, we are the ones who, who, it's not about the big stories that you read in the New York times or Washington post, as important as those are.