Chat Replay: Can you Judge Wired Magazine by its Covers (and Coverage) of Women & Tech?

In an open letter to Wired this week, reader Cindy Royal criticized the magazine for featuring a cover image of a woman’s cleavage for a story about tissue regeneration.

The magazine has “the power to influence the ways that women envision their roles with technology,” she wrote, but instead it belittles the contributions women have made to the tech world.

Others have criticized the cover choice as well.

Royal’s letter prompted a response from Wired Editor Chris Anderson. There are “not enough high-profile women in the tech industry who are recognizable to sell a cover,” he wrote. “This problem goes beyond women: we have trouble putting ‘people’ on the cover.”

The controversy renews attention to an ongoing discussion about the lack of women in technology-related fields. Royal, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University, has studied this issue for years; Rachel Sklar, editor at large at Mediate, started a Tumblr blog, “Change the Ratio,” dedicated to increasing the number of women in technology.

On Friday at 1 p.m. ET, we’ll talk with Royal and Sklar about the Wired cover and what it says about women’s role in tech fields. Wired Senior Editor Nancy Miller, who edited the tissue regeneration article and chose the cover image, will also be with us to talk about the back-story.

We hope you’ll join us with your comments and questions. If you can’t make it to the chat, you can tweet your questions ahead of time using the hashtag #poynterchats.

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