Why are newspaper opinion columnists so consistently baffled by the politics, technologies, and social mores of the 21st century? We’ve crunched some data, and we think we’ve figured out the answer: They’re old as hell.
We examined age and gender breakdowns of the regular opinion columnists at the country’s three most prestigious opinion sections—those of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal—as well as the opinion stables from four of the largest press syndicates—The Creators Syndicate, Universal Press, King Features, and Tribune Media, which provide column material for many of the country’s smaller papers. (For now, we left off regular columnists for other sections of the papers.)
Of the 143 columnists we looked at, a scant 38 were women. Just as bad was the age distribution: Average and median ages on the whole hover around 60. Tribune Media Services had the oldest columnists: average and median ages are both around 64. The businessy Wall Street Journal, whose average columnist is a sprightly 56 years old (median 54), is the most youthful—although that’s still older than the paper’s average 48-year-old reader.
Only one woman under 35, Alexandra Petri at the Washington Post.
Talented designer and illustrator Beci Orpin speaks at the very first CreativeMornings/Melbourne event for 2013. Talking about what happiness is for her, Beci titled her talk: “Happiness is…” From bikes to cats with some tips and advice along the way, Beci delivers an excellent talk on the meaning of happiness for her and how you can find some, too.
Beci is a designer-illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. She has been working freelance for over 10 years and her clients include Universal Music, Visa, Fosters and Mercedes Benz. In addition to freelance work, Beci also exhibits her work frequently and runs children’s clothing label Tiny Mammoth. When she is not working, Beci likes riding her bike, gardening and hanging out with her two sons, Tyke and Ari, and partner Raph.