Sandra Day O’Connor, Megyn Kelly, Viola Davis: Broadsheet October 24

October 24, 2018, 9:08 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor reveals a dementia diagnosis, women have replaced half of the men who lost their powerful jobs as a result of sexual misconduct, and we wonder: Is it possible to survive in corporate America without using the exclamation point? Have a wonderful Wednesday.


 Get to the point. It’s only Wednesday, but already this week’s Broadsheets have covered women who’ve miscarried because of their work, the astronomical cost of childcare, and the damaging effects of being the only woman in the room at your job. So, I hope you’ll indulge me while I take a little break to focus on something a bit lighter: the exclamation point!

In this clever Wall Street Journal piece, Nikki Waller explores the power of the punctuation with a bit of what we in the biz call stunt journalism—she tried going without it for a month. The result, in Waller’s words: “It was not a complete success!”

She worried about coming off as cold or unfriendly as her emails and texts lost their tall, skinny markers of enthusiasm. And while anyone who’s received a note signed with a “thanks.” can probably relate, Waller concludes that the exclamation point has special significance for working women:

“Male bosses who write in blunt, terse prose aren’t noticed much. Plenty of management research has shown, though, that women bosses tread a thin line. Too few softeners like exclamation points, and they’re viewed as hard and unfeeling; too many, and they lack gravitas.”

Waller’s experiment did turn up a few bright spots of going without the friendly punctuation—such as being forced to actually praise people’s work in person, but she was more than ready to have the exclamation point back in her arsenal when the month came to an end.

What about you, Broadsheet readers? Do you rely on the exclamation point in your work communications—or is it banned from your repertoire? Are there other rhetorical tricks you use to seem friendly, yet serious? And how many !s is too many !!!s? Let me know at (I may use your response in a future Broadsheet!) WSJ


 The women who stepped in. Of the 201 powerful men ousted from their positions after sexual harassment and assault allegations over the past year, half have been replaced by women. This graphic visualizes how significant that change really is. New York Times

This legal climate. A group of 21 people, ages 11 to 22, are suing the Trump administration over its inaction on climate change, and they're being represented by Julia Olson. Olson, the architect of the case and its argument that failing to act on climate change violates young people's "constitutional rights to freedom from deprivation of life, liberty, and property," is set to deliver opening arguments in Federal District Court in Eugene, Ore. on Monday. New York Times

Day O'Connor's diagnosis. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor revealed on Tuesday that she is suffering from dementia. O'Connor, who is now 88 and was the first woman on the Supreme Court, will step back from public life.  Fortune

Halloween don't. October means Halloween segments on morning talk shows, and Megyn Kelly's did not go well. The NBC anchor said on Tuesday that blackface was "OK" when she was a kid "as long as you were dressing up as a character" and that she didn't understand why some costumes, like the Real Housewives of New York's Luann de Lesseps wearing blackface to dress as Diana Ross, were offensive. Kelly apologized late Tuesday. The Root

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: International Speedway Corporation has promoted Julie Giese to president of ISM Raceway. New York Public Radio has named Depelsha McGruder, formerly of MTV and BET Networks, as COO. Yasi Baiani, formerly of FitBit, is the new VP of product management for Halo Neuroscience.


 Winglets. The Wing, the women's co-working and social space, is adding childcare to its list of benefits. The Wing's Soho location in New York will be the first to add short-term babysitting services for moms working upstairs. Glamour

Surprise sale. 20th Century Fox Film chairman and CEO Stacey Snider is at the center of Fox's sale to Disney—though she will not stay with the company after the deal goes through. In an in-depth interview, Snider goes into detail about her experience with the sale, which she called a "perfect surprise."  Variety

Haspel heads over. CIA Director Gina Haspel is joining government leaders who are probing what happened to slain Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Haspel is reportedly traveling to Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been investigating and revealing information about Khasoggi's death. Washington Post

What McCaskill faces. Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, faces one of the toughest races in this year's midterm elections. This excellent profile covers her history and how it's influencing this fight. The New Yorker

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma HinchliffeShare it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


Mama Bear knows best: The enduring problem with children's picture books  Washington Post

Law & Order's Diane Neal explains exactly why she's running for Congress  Elle

I know the salaries of thousands of tech employees  Medium


The silence is just not acceptable any more. The old days of the '50s, of hiding your feelings and your desires and your dreams behind vacuum cleaners and perfectly applied lipstick and wax floors—hell, no!
Viola Davis

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