The past year has been a boon for women in media. Major outlets from AOL and Newsweek to the New York Times tapped women as their newest editorial chiefs, turnover at major TV networks resulted in new leading ladies, and one glass-shattering Brit upped her global profile.
Has traditional media embraced its feminine side? The top 10 newswomen on this year’s recently released Forbes list of the world’s most powerful women together reach an audience of over half a billion people each month, and place women at the center of the conversation.
Debuting on the power list this year, Jill Abramson will officially begin as the first female executive editor of the New York Times on Sept. 6. It is an inflection point for the 160-year-old newspaper, and she will need to steer the Gray Lady and its 1200-person newsroom into the future. All eyes are on the March-installed pay wall to NYTimes.com.
“It’s a big challenge,” Abramson told Forbes of the digital transition. “We just launched a subscription plan for our digital subscribers, and the numbers are very encouraging; our traffic is still really robust. When you have a quality product that people want, they’re willing to pay.”
Also charting the course of news in the wilds of the Web, media mavens Arianna Huffington and Tina Brown recently made their moves. A former Forbes cover girl, in February Huffington sold her six-year-old website The Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million, inserting herself as president and editor-in-chief of the new AOL Huffington Post Media Group and creating a combined reach of 270 million unique monthly readers.
Likewise, last November Brown orchestrated a joint merger of her three-year-old news site The Daily Beast with 78-year-old magazine Newsweek, becoming editor-in-chief of both. The former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor says she hopes the move will create “an energized, nimble, 21st-century news organization, which combines the digital heat of The Daily Beast with the depth of Newsweek.”