Category: women in journalism

Loretta Tofani (b. 1953) is a journalist who, in 1983, won the Pulitzer Prize for
Investigative Reporting. She received this honour for her series of articles
investigating gang rapes in a Maryland jail.

She
got a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California,
Berkeley, and went on to work for The Washington Post, where she wrote
her award-winning articles. The investigation led to a change in the prison’s
policy in order to prevent rape among prisoners. In 2007, she uncovered the plight
of millions of Chinese workers making products destined for the United States.

Marlene Sanders (1931-2015) was a news correspondent and anchor who worked for ABC and
CBS News. She was the first female anchor of an evening news broadcast on a
major network.

She
started working a low-level job in television in 1955, but progressed through
the ranks until she became the first woman to report on the Vietnam War from the
field, and later the first female vice president of ABC News. She produced
documentaries for CBS news, especially on women’s movements, and won three Emmys
for this work.

Helen Vlachos (1911-1995) was a Greek journalist who was
awarded the title of World Press Freedom Hero by the International Press Institute.
She is remembered for her anti-dictatorship activism.

She worked for Kathimerini,
a newspaper founded by her father, and was very critical of the government in
her regular column. After the coup of 1967, she chose to close down her
publications rather than hand them over to the military junta to use as
propaganda tools. She was placed under house arrest for her criticism of the
regime and escaped to London, where she was granted political asylum. Today, a
prize in her name is awarded to Greek journalists.

Ellen Willis (1941-2006) was an essayist, journalist and
critic known for her feminist activism that stretched over decades. A 2014
collection of her essays entitled The Essential Ellen Willis won the
National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

She was one of the
first popular music critics working for the New Yorker, as well as a
founder of the feminist group Redstockings in 1969, and wrote numerous essays
on feminism, abortion rights or identity politics, among others. One of these
essays was the origin of the term ‘pro-sex feminism’.

Doris
Fleeson
(1901-1970, pictured with Eleanor
Roosevelt) was an American journalist. She was the first woman to have a
nationally syndicated political column in the United States.

She studied economics at the University of
Kansas, after which she started working for the Pittsburg Sun. She was a war correspondent during World War II,
reporting from France and Italy. By 1960, her political column ran in around
100 newspapers.

Jane Jacobs
(1916-2006) was an American-Canadian author, journalist and activist. She
was particularly influential in urban studies, and her 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities argued
that urban renewal did not respect the needs of the citizens.

She fought to prevent so-called ‘slum clearances’ in Greenwich Village,
New York, where entire blocks would have been demolished and replaced with high
rises. Her influence is proven by her introduction of sociological concepts
such as “social capital” and “eyes on the street” in urban studies. A medal in
her name was established in 2007 for individuals who bring significant
contributions to urban design.

Jane Meade
Welch
(1854-1931)
was a journalist and historian active in the area of Buffalo, New York. She was
the first woman in the city to become a professional journalist and the first
American woman who lectured at Cambridge University.

She worked for the Buffalo Express and then for the Buffalo Courier, while also organising
history classes for women in her home. She ended up giving lectures at several
institutions around the US and beyond, including at Cornell and Cambridge. She
was the first American woman whose work was accepted by the British Association.

Aslı Erdoğan (b. 1967) is a
Turkish author, journalist and human rights activist. She was the recipient of
the Simone de Beauvoir Prize in 2018.

She studied physics and computer engineering and
worked for a period of time as a particle physicist for the European Organization
for Nuclear Research. Her novels were translated in several languages and won
international prizes. In 2016 she was arrested for being a contributor to the
newspaper Özgür Gündem (New Agenda).

Frances Marion (1888-1973) was one of the most
famous female screenwriters of the 20th century. She was the first
writer to win two Academy Awards.

Before starting work in the film industry, she
was an artist and journalist. She also served as a combat correspondent during
World War I, where she documented the efforts of women on the front lines.
Throughout her career she wrote more than 300 scripts and produced more than
130 films.

Mary Margaret McBride (1899-1976, pictured above with Eleanor Roosevelt) was an early radio host.
She was called “The First Lady of Radio”, and her daily audience was
between six and eight million listeners.

She started her women’s-advice show in 1934,
using the persona of “Martha Deane”, and aired daily until 1940. The
show was later picked up by networks such as CBS and NBC, and featured a large
number of famous guests. Along with her partner Stella Karn, she was a pioneer
not only in the world of broadcasting and media, but also for giving visibility
to lesbian and bisexual journalists.