Good morning Broadsheet readers. Meredith Whitney’s hedge fund may be in trouble, Sony has hired the real-life Olivia Pope handle its hacking scandal and President Obama made gender history in his last press conference of 2014. I’m Anne VanderMey, filling in for the vacationing Caroline Fairchild. Please e-mail me tips or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org and find me on Twitter here. Have a great Monday.
• Taking questions. President Obama made history during his year-end press conference on Friday by answering questions only from women (most of whom work for print publications). It was particularly remarkable given that the White House press is dominated by men, most of whom work in TV. He spoke about North Korea and the economy—ignoring one male reporter who shouted, “Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Reese Witherspoon’s comeback. The actress appeared on 60 Minutes to talk about her career and her new production company, which makes movies featuring “interesting and complicated women in leading roles.” Witherspoon’s production credits this year include the buzzy Gone Girl and Wild, in which she also stars. “I think it’s time that we start seeing women for how complex they really are,” she said. “I want to see those movies.”
• Hedge fund woes. Meredith Whitney, the high-profile former Wall Street analyst who called the financial crisis, is now facing trouble at her hedge fund, according to Bloomberg News. The fund is down 11% in 2014, two executives recently left and Whitney’s biggest investor is asking for its money back.
• YouTube ascendant. Led by CEO Susan Wojcicki, Google’s game-changing video service YouTube now churns out more hit programming than any Hollywood studio, reaching an incredible one billion people a day. Now Wojcicki needs to get that clout to translate into ad dollars and make sure the channel isn’t itself disrupted by new competitors.
• Olivia Pope is on it. Sony has hired crisis manager Judy Smith, the real-life model for Scandal protagonist Olivia Pope, to advise the company during its hacking crisis. Smith gave Fortune’s Pattie Sellers her best crisis-management tips last month.
The Hollywood Reporter
• Click to shop. Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz spoke exclusively with Fortune about launching a sweeping reorg that merged its brick-and-mortar buying teams with their e-commerce counterparts.
• Girls coding. Black women today account for just 3% of the U.S. tech workforce, and only 14.5% of computer science majors are women. Organizations like Black Girls Code are trying to get young women of color interested in coding.
• Learning from the Sony pay gap. Are there times when it’s okay for a man to earn more than a woman with the same title? Sure—but not often. Managers should apply logic and analytical rigor when deciding who gets the big checks. “There needs to be an entire set of questions and checks to make sure it’s actually correct,” says the American Bar Association’s Michele Mayes.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• More trouble for American Apparel. Days after hiring its first female CEO, the embattled purveyor of tight-fitting nylon clothing may be facing a takeover bid backed by its controversial (and recently-fired) CEO Dov Charney.
• Founder to CEO. Why don’t women lead the companies they’ve founded? Reasons range from funding disparities to lack of formal agreements to the confidence gap.
• Hacking diversity. Hiring a diverse staff has a multiplier effect, says Shani O. Hilton, executive editor for news at BuzzFeed. “The more diversity that you get in your office, the easier it is to get more diversity,” Hilton says. “You say, ‘Hey, I’m looking for this position to be filled.’ Then their networks open up to you in a way that is really great.”
ON MY RADAR
Why it’s harder for women to say ‘no’ to extra work
The C.I.A.’s unidentified queen of torture
The New Yorker
Ranking universities based on sexual assaults could be problematic
Australia doubles the number of women in its cabinet (to two)
British Defense Secretary hopes to open up combat roles for women by 2016
|(The Internet) is a place where women get harassed more than ever before — but then it’s also a place where I could have this woman, Brianna Wu, write a story about her GamerGate harassment and then create a lot of awareness about the issue. Over all I would say good, but certainly a lot of bad in the getting there.|