Yesterday, when FishbowlNY covered the 2012 National Magazine Award finalists, we expected the typical backlash against the major publishing houses and our fine city. While there was some of that, many people took the ASME to task for the noticeable lack of women writers.

As Ann Friedman — the Executive Editor of GOOD noted, “Women hold their own or dominate in servicey categories (public interest, personal service) and fiction. They are not represented at all in the categories of reporting, feature writing, profile writing, essays and criticism, columns and commentary.” Alyssa Rosenberg, writing for Think Progress, added that the “women’s” category ends up hurting female writers:

The division in General Excellence creates an incentive for women’s magazines to genuinely specialize their coverage across the board, while men’s magazines have incentives to commission features and criticism that compete with publications like the New Yorker and The Atlantic.

Sid Holt, the ASME’s Chief Executive, brushed off the criticism. He wrote to Poynter and said it was all “Kind of silly,” went through the selection process and cited past nominations as proof that there is no bias:

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