Meet Barbara Baird: Publisher/Editor, Women’s Outdoor News

Megan Plete Postol // January 29

Women’s Outdoor News is an independent website devoted to women in the outdoors. It provides news and resources tailored for women, written by women. It’s similar to Miss Pursuit in that fashion. And since we here at Miss Pursuit are about building other women up in the industry, we wanted to know more about the brain behind Women’s Outdoor News, Barbara Baird. So we conducted a question and answer session and found out she founded Women’s Outdoor News in 2008, and before that, worked as a newspaper and magazine editor. There’s a lot more to the story, so read on.

Getting to Know Barbara Baird, Publisher/Editor of Women’s Outdoor News 

What is your background?

I have a degree in English with a minor in writing. I worked as a managing editor at a small-town newspaper and wrote a column called “The Accidental Ozarkian,” which took me to lots of outdoor places and introduced me to skills such as gigging (fish and frogs) and whip cracking. I started a freelance writing career at that point, as well. I still write that column, but online at I’m working on my first book, which will feature water mills of the Missouri Ozarks.

What led you to the outdoors and to Women's Outdoor News?

I decided, back in 2008, to start a blog about shooting, hunting, fishing, and adventure — written by women and girls for women and girls. At that time, WordPress and blogging had just started, and I thought it would be a good way for women to network about the outdoors. I had been writing for male-dominated magazines, such as game and fish regional magazines, and I noticed that hardly any women were in the mastheads. Later, I noticed the same thing (and it holds true today) at the big pubs, such as “Field and Stream” and “Outdoor Life,” and of course, the NRA publications, of which if you look at their hunting and shooting issues, you wouldn’t even know that women comprise a big chunk of the market these days. In fact, I used to write for all of the aforementioned publications, but now, focus on what we’re doing at The WON.

How has Women's Outdoor News evolved?

We went from a passion with a mission to a small business that has more than 20 contractors, and three editors, along with me. We are routinely invited to national media events, work with some of the largest companies in the firearms industry, as well as the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and have been approached by National Geographic and CarbonTV to work with them lately on projects. We co-host the “Women of the Gun” event with the NSSF annually at SHOT Show.

What makes Women's Outdoor News special?

The team of women and girls who write, make videos, shoot photos, and share their lives with others is what makes it special. My daughter, Jackie Richardson, came on board as associate editor a few years ago really ramped up our design and look, and added weekly crafts and recipes to the mix. Michelle Cerino has been our managing editor for at least 7 years now and does a great job of keeping the schedule on time. Occasionally, we’ll contract with a male photographer or writer — as long as the topic is covering women and girls outdoors. In fact, my husband does a lot of my photography — both at The WON and for the book I’m writing. My son-in-law, Ian Richardson, also is an editor and comes to us with a background in English and the Infantry! He is producing reels and shorts surrounding a contract we have with the NSSF. 

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I think another thing that makes us special is our approach. We keep it warm and conversational. We might feature how to dry okra one day, and how to attach a red dot to a pistol the next day. We have a very special post coming up by firearms instructor and Walther pro-shooter Tatiana Whitlock that you won’t see very many places, and that is how to train to shoot with a baby on your hip (Note: dry fire only). Last year, she wrote about being pregnant and carrying concealed — and she broke it down into the three trimesters, and how that affects a pregnant woman’s body and concealed carry. It was fascinating and instructive, and frankly, something you don’t see much about anywhere else. We also have a teen writer working on an interview with a female turtle scientist from a series on National Geographic, and we interviewed the first female captain of a boat on “Wicked Tuna” last year, and are set to revisit her about her first season soon.

Is there a special experience in the outdoors you can share with our readers?

I just spent an afternoon fishing with my grandsons who are 4 and 6, working with them on casting, on a pond on our property here in the Ozarks. A few days before that, I guided a marketing manager from Stag Arms on a successful whitetail hunt here in the Ozarks. Next week I’ll be in Texas with Ruger, honing some rifle skills, and then,  I’ll be heading to Arkansas soon to duck hunt with  The Sisterhood of the Outdoors, and I’ll be bringing along a friend who has never duck hunted. I think it all rolls into one big happy feeling — all the little and really, normal, times. Every time I step outdoors to do something, it’s special, and it sure beats sitting in an office … unless I’m writing a story about it. Then, it’s OK to be at my desk.

What type of hunting/fishing/etc. do you do? 

I fly fish for rainbow trout, and love to get into the middle of a good crappie rodeo. I hunt for deer and turkeys in the Ozarks. I have hunted in England for ducks and hares (and done driven shooting for pheasants), out West, and in Texas. 

What is your favorite outdoor pursuit and why?

I have two: hunting and hiking. 

Do you have a favorite wild game to prepare?

Tonight, I made Kristy Crabtree’s elk enchilada meatballs! She has created some fabulous recipes. Another of my favorites is Panko-Crusted Salmon, which I made last night, using wild-caught salmon. 

Read It Now: Unveiling the History of Women Hunters

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About the Author

Megan Plete Postol