Journalists & Their Work

Katharine Graham, Legendary Publisher at The Washington Post

Katharine Graham (June 16, 1917 – July 17, 2001) is best remembered for her role as publisher and CEO of The Washington Post. She oversaw the newspaper’s involvement in the Pentagon Papers controversy and its investigation of the Watergate scandal that led to President Nixon’s resignation in late 1974.

Born in New York City, Katharine Meyer was one of five children raised in a family of great wealth. Her father, Eugene Meyer, was a multimillionaire and businessman who was  Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve from 1930 – 1933. Her mother, Agnes Ernst Meyer, was a politically active educator. Read More→

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Ida B. Wells, Fearless Journalist and Crusader for Justice

Ida B. Wells (1862 – 1931), also known as Ida B. Wells-Barnett, was a fearless journalist and crusader in the early civil rights movement. She was a feminist, editor, sociologist, and one of the founders of the NAACP.

She was best known for spearheading a national antilynching campaign, through which she worked tirelessly to end the uniquely American practice of the public mob murders of African-Americans. Wells’s reputation continues to grow, even decades after her death.

Journalism awards have been established in her name, scholarships are endowed in her honor, and there’s  a museum celebrating her legacy in her hometown in Mississippi. Read More→

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“Ladies of the Black Press” — Five Inspiring Midcentury Journalists

Black women journalists whose careers were in full force in mid-twentieth century America came to be known as the “Ladies of the Black Press.”

Here are five of these inspiring women — Alice Dunnigan, Ethel Payne, Daisy Bates, Evelyn Cunningham, and Marvel Jackson Cooke. They worked in various capacities of journalism in this era, including reporting, editing, broadcasting, and publishing.

Since its first seed was planted in the 1820s, the American Black Press has promoted social justice and equality. The women journalists of the mid-twentieth century that will be highlighted here stood on the shoulders of two powerful trailblazers — Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Read More→

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The Stunt Girls — 3 Fearless American Pioneers of Investigative Journalism

When you think of undercover reporting, what comes to mind? I have to admit that the image that came to my mind was some guy in a trench coat, wearing a fedora. That is, until I learned about the group of late nineteenth and early twentieth century reporters referred to as “stunt girls.”

These intrepid young women, following in the footsteps of Nelly Bly, pioneered the practice of underground investigative reporting in journalism.

Good journalism has always been about presenting the human story behind events large and small. It’s also about holding the powerful accountable for their actions, a cornerstone of democracy (at least in theory). Women have always had the desire, talent, and ability to participate in these endeavors. Read More→

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4 Fearless American Female Newspaper Publishers of the 1800s

For a small number of American female journalist-reformers of the 1800s, starting their own newspapers became a matter of necessity. Refused the opportunity to report on matters of importance by male-dominated mainstream newspapers, they took matters into their own hands.

Launching their own newspapers became platforms for raising awareness of the justice issues they fought for.

Anne Newport Royall, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, and Jovita Idár are no longer familiar names; Ida B. Wells (pictured above right) might be better known to those interested in African-American history. But all deserve to be better known and deserve a place of honor as publisher-reformers in an era when women’s voices were more often silenced than heard. Read More→

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