The Death of a Ladyblog.

Salon has closed its woman-focused site Broadsheet, which is probably one of the longest-running news blogs targeting women; it was started in 2005. Salon editor-in-chief, Kerry Lauerman, writes:

For much of the last year, Broadsheet has been a one-woman show performed by Tracy Clark-Flory. She's done a terrific job, but it's time for her to move on to focus her attention on stories that she's most interested in -- analyses and reporting on sex, love and relationships -- and stop running Broadsheet. 

We fully intend to integrate Broadsheet's best, shrewdest writers and commentary in the other sections in Salon, and to a large extent have already started to do that. We've featured pop culture coverage from Broadsheet stars Lynn Harris and Amy Benfer in our arts section; Kate Harding appeared in the War Room blog. You can continue to follow Tracy’s great work (Twitter). And we expect to aggressively follow many of the issues Broadsheet championed -- and urge those interested to follow their topic pages. Feminism, sure, but also Sex, Gender, and the ever-raging Body Wars. If you feel we're not covering an issue you feel passionate about, let us know. We’re bidding adieu to Broadsheet, but we're determined to keep its legacy alive in all of our coverage moving forward.

On one hand, I'm happy to hear this news. TAP's Ann Friedman, Phoebe Connelly, and I have all talked about the problems with woman-centered blogs. The first complaint is that creating a female writing ghetto means that the coverage by and about women doesn't make it onto the main site. (Salon and The Awl, however, have been better than expected about this.) A secondary concern is that writers on woman-centered blogs often must stick to covering topics like pop culture, and thus spend a lot more time reacting to news and than reporting. Clark-Flory wanted to move away from Broadsheet to report, and it's awesome that she has that opportunity.

But -- and you may call me a hypocrite if you'd like -- I don't like that Broadsheet was closed. There's not enough serious discussion of women's issues elsewhere on Salon -- mostly, women still write pop-culture pieces -- so it was a pretty invaluable source of real talk on sex and health. I'm not sure what Salon's financial situation is, and I'm sympathetic to tight resources, but Broadsheet was a pretty popular blog. Closing it completely seems like an odd choice to me. In this economy, it can't be difficult to find any number of qualified writers willing to work for cheap, or even for free, for a publication like Salon.

-- Shani O. Hilton

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