The Chicago Tribune’s public editor analyzed 30 days worth of opinion columns and found the commentary section fairly balanced when it comes to politics and topics.

But there was one consistent omission: women.

“There are only two among the 12 regular writers (Kathleen Parker and Georgie Anne Geyer) and
eight among the contributors in that 30-day time period,” writes Timothy J. McNulty.

He also noted that some readers who believe the Tribune has a liberal bent cite Molly Ivins as proof — despite the fact she died in January.

“What made Ivins reviled among many conservatives and an almost iconic figure
among liberals was not just her critical views about fellow Texan George W. Bush and other politicians, but also the way she wrote with such a strong individual voice and self-deprecating humor,” adds

Just a reminder: Earlier this year we pointed to a NYT story about the op-ed writing courses Catherine Orenstein teaches through the Woodhull Institute. One-day classes are scheduled in October in both New York and San Francisco …

And speaking of Ivins …

Friends and writers gathered in New York earlier this month to celebrate her “passions” and “prescience.” Charles Kaiser writes in the New York Observer:

Maya Angelou recalled how startled she was when she first met Molly and realized she was six feet tall.

“I knew she was white,” said Ms. Angelou. “I didn’t know she was so much white!” Nevertheless, Molly immediately dubbed the two of them “twins separated at birth.”

Ms. Angelou said there was only one source of frustration: every time she tried to introduce anyone to the magnificent Molly Ivins, she discovered that they were already old friends.

New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin remembered columns that could make you “laugh out loud”: “if a certain Congressman’s IQ dropped any further he’d have to be watered twice a day,” or the one about the Texas gubernatorial candidate who was “so afraid of getting AIDS while visiting San Francisco that when he was in the shower he wore shower caps on her feet.”

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  • Cynthia Samuels September 18, 2007 at 10:54 am

    I’m hoping that all the new advocacy groups like WAM!, the Women’s Media Center, the CCMC outreach and SheSource will combine to help this change over time. I also believe that a steady barrage of oped submissions, accompanied by phone calls when there are relationships to leverage, will continue to raise the numbers. No matter how frustrating we need to keep trying in the OpEd departments to increase visibility and bring more of us onto the ed boards. Yay Christine for keeping this issue alive here.