Welcome to Technology for Publishing’s roundup of news highlighting women’s roles, contributions, and achievements in the evolving media business. This latest installment covers a look at why there’s a lack of women running media companies, Adobe’s effort to help women succeed, an award for “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross, Greta Van Susteren’s next move, and more.


  • A step backward? As a recent Advertising Age article points out, fewer women hold top executive positions at leading media companies than in the past. In fact, publishers once headed by women—including Time Inc., The New York Times, Pearson, NPR, Fairchild Publications, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and others—are all now led by male CEOs. (Included in the “old guard,” pictured clockwise from top left, are Arianna Huffington, Cathie Black, Ann Moore, Laura Lang, Janet Robinson, and Martha Stewart.) And those companies are just a few in a long list of others, including even female-focused digital pubs like Bustle, Refinery29, PopSugar, and PureWow. Why aren’t there more women CEOs in the publishing world? Some say the gender imbalance itself is the problem: “The more women CEOs there are, the more women CEOs there will be,” notes former NPR CEO Vivian Schiller in the report. “It’s about bringing up the next generation, and modeling what a female executive is and what a female CEO looks like.” Others, including Martha Stewart, say it could also be simply a matter of coincidence and timing, pointing to the many women who have filled CEO roles in the past. Whatever the cause, increasing overall diversity is becoming a priority across the media industry. Says Melissa Bell, the new publisher of Vox, “You can’t just have all women CEOs and that will solve all the problems in the world. [But] we are all the sum of our experiences, and I think there are experiences that women go through that are particular to one gender or another, and having more CEOs who are women would allow that diversity to surface in business decisions and hiring decisions and the approach.”
  • Power of connecting Adobe held its first Adobe & Women Leadership Summit, a company gathering that brought together some 500 employees, mainly female, to “connect, develop, and inspire.” As with similar efforts at other media and tech companies, the new forum is aimed at closing the gender gap and increasing diversity by helping women build successful careers at Adobe. Speakers included the company’s CEO, board members, business and technical executives, author Brene Brown, Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant, and comedian Samantha Bee. “Seeing that our executives are taking the time to be present and have this conversation is very meaningful,” says software development manager Julia Knecht of the summit. “It shows that they acknowledge that this is a priority to them.” Launched as an experiment, the event was met with an enthusiastic response (1,100 employees applied to attend), with a focus on three goals: to reflect on progress, to develop a stronger community, and to commit to doing more, according to an Adobe blog post.
  • Top honor Last month, “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross was awarded the National Humanities Medal for her “artful probing of the human experience,” according to the citation. “Her patient, persistent questioning in thousands of interviews over four decades has pushed public figures to reveal personal motivations behind extraordinary lives—revealing simple truths that affirm our common humanity.” The public radio veteran received the medal at a White House ceremony along with fellow honorees, including Morgan Freeman, Mel Brooks, and author and former Inquirer contributor James McBride, a post on Philly.com says.
  • Seriously social Greta Van Susteren, previously a legal analyst and commentator at CNN and most recently the host of her own show, “On the Record,” at Fox News, is mulling over her future after contract negotiations fell through following the ouster of Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes. Van Susteren is in no hurry to set anything in stone, however. In a Q&A with Politico, she says she wants to return to TV but right now is happy interacting with her million-plus social media followers. “It’s fascinating how you can reach so many people. And because I’ve built up this audience over so many years, they are migrating to my Facebook page,” she says in the post. “I think it’s really just a community, sort of like a neighborhood block.” In terms of doing another TV show, Van Susteren says she’s open to all offers: “I had many great journalism colleagues at the Fox News Channel. I had the same at CNN, and if something comes my way, I will grab it. If it doesn’t, I’ll figure something else out. It’s a big world.”

Hiring news roundup

  • Kibi Anderson was appointed head of digital strategy and business development at Bloomberg Media, Previously, she was senior manager of strategy and business operations for ABC News Digital.
  • Andrea Barbalich joined Rodale’s Prevention magazine as executive editor, having previously worked at Kiwi Magazine, Bauer Media Group, and Reader’s Digest.
  • Marnie Braverman was named associate publisher at Meredith’s Women’s Health. Prior to her appointment, she was associate publisher of marketing at Condé Nast’s Brides and served as vice president of marketing at Time Inc.’s Health.
  • Laura Brown joined Time Inc. as editor in chief of InStyle. Brown most recently served as Harper Bazaar’s executive editor, special projects.
  • Beth Buehler was promoted to chief operating officer at Rodale, where she most recently served as senior vice president of digital.
  • Joanna Coles was appointed chief content officer at Hearst Magazines. Coles served as editor in chief of Cosmopolitan and editorial director of Seventeen.
  • Christine Demetres Giordano joined Women’s Health as art director. She had been deputy art director at Allure and design director at CosmoGirl.
  • Kim Guthrie was appointed president of Cox Media Group, succeeding 38-year veteran Bill Hoffman. Guthrie had served as executive vice president of national ad platforms and president of Cox Reps.
  • Lindsay Nickens is now national digital sales director at Women’s Health, previously serving in sales roles at Self, The Atlantic, Wired, and Bloomberg.
  • Michele Promaulayko, former editor in chief of Women’s Health and Yahoo Health, was named EIC of Cosmopolitan, replacing Joanna Coles. Promaulayko served as executive editor of Cosmopolitan from 2000 to 2008.
  • Stephanie Davis Smith was named editorial director at Modern Luxury. Most recently she was editor in chief of Connect Meetings and had been EIC of The Atlantan prior to that.
  • Terri Smith is now chief marketing officer at TheStreet. She had served as group associate publisher of marketing at Meredith.
  • Michelle Stacey was named to the newly created features director position at Women’s Health. She previously held positions at Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Shape, and Martha Stewart Living.
  • Carey Witmer is now executive vice president and group publisher of Meredith’s food group, which includes Allrecipes, Rachael Ray Every Day and EatingWell. Prior to her promotion, Witmer served as EVP and president of Meredith’s parents network.
  • Jen Wong was promoted to chief operating officer at Time Inc. Wong was the media company’s president of digital and previously served as chief business officer at PopSugar.

Let us know in the comments if there are any other recent stories or career moves you’d like us to include in our next Women in Media roundup.

Photo: Advertising Age

Technology for Publishing’s Women in Media blog highlights the news and achievements of female leaders and role models in the publishing and media industry. Look for our in-depth profiles and interviews of top women to watch. Is there someone you’d like to nominate for an upcoming Q&A? Drop us a note!

Posted by: Monica Sambataro

Monica Sambataro is a contributing editor and copyeditor for Technology for Publishing. Her publishing background includes work for leading technology- and business-related magazines and websites.