Washington Press Club Foundation


Earning a journalism badge in the Girl Scouts inspired Christy Bulkeley's earliest interests in a career as a reporter. Growing up in the small town of Abingdon, Illinois, Christy also had unusual role models in the "Argus girls," Mary Lou Stover and Gene Cunningham, who arrived in town to run the local Abingdon Argus. Christy spent many hours at the hometown weekly, learning the trade from setting type to writing local news columns featuring vacations and house guests.

Christy Bulkeley attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, School of Journalism, where she reported for the department's publication, the Columbia Missourian. Following graduation, she accepted a position with the Rochester, New York, Times-Union, a Gannett paper. She persevered in her first assignment as newsroom clerk for almost a year before securing a reporting position.

An interest in politics and government and a commitment to accurate and honest reporting gained Christy respect from the local community, as well as her colleagues. A Times-Union promotional ad noted: "From the airport to the zoo, Christy Bulkeley cares about everything county government does and reports it regularly." Believing that citizens have a right to know government officials' plans, and how budgets are developed and monies spent, she endeavored to learn as much as possible about the process and interpret it intelligibly to readers.

Hard work as a local reporter launched Christy's career with the Gannett newspaper chain. At the Times-Union, she moved to editorial writing and then headed the editorial department. After a decade in Rochester, she became editor, publisher, president of the Saratogian, a small Gannett daily in Saratoga Springs, New York. The new position involved Christy in every area of managing and running a newspaper, and also brought her attention as a one of the first women in such a managerial position.

Returning to her native Midwest, Christy assumed leadership as chief executive officer of the Danville, Illinois, Commercial-News from 1976 to 1984. During these years she also served as a vice president for Gannett's Central Newspaper Group. She concluded the newspaper phase of her career with Gannett with a brief return to the Saratogian, before moving to the Gannett Foundation for the next seven years. As a vice president of the Gannett Foundation (later the Freedom Forum), she administered its extensive grants program.

Christy Bulkeley further promoted and encouraged high standards in journalism through her active involvement in such professional organizations as Women in Communications, Inc., the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Newspaper Publishers Association, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors. She also served as a Pulitzer Prize nominating judge. A role model for women entering the journalism profession, she has shared her experiences and expertise through talks with students, lecturing, and participation on accreditation teams. At the same time, she has continued to pursue her own education through graduate studies at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Anne G. Ritchie
March 1994

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