#1: What Constitutes Good Writing
A lot of the criticism that is part of Catgate 2011 is directed at Cat's writing. At the risk of repeating myself (which I am), I have spent my entire career finding and developing -- and loving finding and developing -- different writers' voices. I find nothing at all interesting about the many many derivative voices I read online (especially on sites targeting women) now.
For those of you who read Sassy, I can only say that 25 years ago, when I was launching that magazine, a writer named Christina Kelly, who was working at Footwear News at the time, sent me a letter that showed me that she had a truly unique voice. I hired her and she showed me new ways of expressing things with practically everything she wrote for Sassy from then on. She and I were criticized frequently about our writing styles (TIME magazine called it "pajama-party journalism"). I didn't care. I accept that we all have very different opinions on what constitutes good writing and editing, and I appreciate yours. Cat, to me, is a rare talent as a writer. I find her writing riveting and raw and not at all derivative, and I love that.
#2: We Are Not "Experts"
When the wonderful Amy Kellner was working with me on finding contributors for the site, she sent this out:
I was looking for someone to write about Health issues from a non-healthy perspective. I personally find it more interesting to read about someone trying/struggling to be healthy than someone who has it all together (plus there are plenty of those awesome experts out there already and I turn to them when I want sound Health advice). The title I gave Cat was "Health Critic." She does not give health "advice".
MOST IMPORTANT, #3: I'm Sorry
In terms of the factual inaccuracies in the post, specifically, I didn't consider that Cat's article could easily be taken as health advice by so many. If I had thought of it, I could have put in an editor's note after any inaccurate information. I could have recommended some reliable sources of birth control information, like Planned Parenthood.
We are going to take what we've learned from this experience and move forward, and try to do better in the future. I hope some of you will stick around to see how it works out.