US & Canada

The Atlantic editor's 'sexist' interview criticised

Editor in Chief of The Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg attends the Ellie Awards 2018 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Editor-in-Chief of The Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg attends the Ellie Awards 2018

The editor of US magazine The Atlantic is being criticised after suggesting that only "almost exclusively white male" journalists write in-depth articles.

Jeffrey Goldberg made the comments in an interview with Nieman Lab about The Atlantic's diversity policies.

Numerous female journalists on social media have since accused Mr Goldberg of racism and sexism.

He has apologised on Twitter for his comments.

He said he'd intended to highlight a lack of diversity in the industry.

The Atlantic, which was founded in 1857, increased the percentage of women in management from 17% in 2016 to 63% currently.

When asked by Nieman Lab about areas in which the outlet had not made progress in diversifying its staff, Mr Goldberg explained that the magazine has a "problem" with cover features.

"It's really, really hard to write a 10,000-word cover story. There are not a lot of journalists in America who can do it.

"The journalists in America who do it are almost exclusively white males," he said.

The comments were swiftly condemned on Twitter.

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"This is toxic, racist and sexist," wrote the director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Kristen Clarke.

One former journalist at The Atlantic claimed that she left the magazine after being denied the opportunity to write a feature.

Several journalists pointed out that the comments were inaccurate and highlighted that many women journalists write long-form features.

Magazine editor Lisa Goldman tweeted a list of female feature writers, claiming that Mr Goldberg's comments were an "insult".

British journalist Libby Watson suggested his comments were patronising.

She tweeted a section of the interview in which Mr Goldberg explained that The Atlantic tries to recognise potential and help women to write 10,000-word stories, with mixed results.

"This part is key to understanding what Goldberg meant. He has tried to help some silly young women get to the most Important Journalism of doing 10,000-word cover stories - but a lot of the time they just couldn't do it," Ms Watson wrote.

Mr Goldberg initially responded to criticism by explaining that he had been misquoted and that he had requested a correction to the piece.

The article's author Laura Hazard Owen replied that he had not been misquoted and that she had not been contacted regarding a correction.

However she tweeted she believes his comments were being misconstrued on social media.

"I enjoyed talking with Jeff and think that The Atlantic is doing an admirable job of hiring women. This is why I did the piece. It sucks if a stray comment distracts from what the team there is accomplishing," Ms Owen wrote.