End of list.
Following are brief biographies of twenty-one of the women interviewed as part of the
WPCF Oral History Project "Women in Journalism."

Each listing includes the number of pages of each interview. The note "VIDEO" indicates that one session of that interview is also available on videotape for viewing at the National Press Club Library in Washington, DC, Columbia University Oral History Research Office in New York City, and at California State University at Sacramento. If an interview is marked "CLOSED," it is has been sealed by the interviewee and is unavailable until the specified date.

Click on a name to access the full-text interview.
(If a name does not appear in a different color, it is not yet available on-line.)
Click on a photo to view a page of one or more photographs.
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Photo Fran Harris. (1909 - ) Ms. Harris began her career in radio in 1931 in Detroit and became the first woman newscaster in Michigan in 1943. In addition to reading the news, Harris also had her own radio talk show. Three years later she became the first woman on television in Michigan. She wrote and broadcast until 1974 when she retired to take an active role in her family's business. In 1971 she was elected president of Theta Sigma Phi, which during her term became Women in Communications, Inc. [139 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Deborah Howell. (1941 - ) Early in her career Ms. Howell had both radio-television and newspaper reporting experience. After reporting for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, she went to the Minneapolis Star. There she did political reporting until she married Nick Coleman, then state senate minority leader (later majority leader). She took over the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch in 1979 and in ten years produced a Pulitzer Prize-winning paper. At the time of her interviews, Howell was Washington bureau chief of Newhouse News Service. [75 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Charlayne Hunter-Gault. (1942 - ) Ms. Hunter-Gault was the first black woman to integrate the University of Georgia. After college she was hired as editorial assistant at the New Yorker, and in 1968 she joined NBC's affiliate in Washington, WRC-TV, as investigative reporter and anchorwoman. In 1969 she was hired as reporter at the New York Times where she was made Harlem bureau chief. Ten years later she joined the "MacNeil/Lehrer Report" as a substitute anchor. In 1983 when the show expanded to an hour and was renamed the "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour," she became the national correspondent, a position she held at the time of her interviews. [70 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Kathryn Johnson. (1928 - ) As a young reporter for the AP in Atlanta, Ms. Johnson was assigned to cover the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. at the beginning of the civil rights movement. She subsequently traveled with the Freedom Riders, sat beside Charlayne Hunter when the University of Georgia was integrated, and had open access to the King household in the days between his assassination and funeral. She covered the court martial of Lt. William Calley, focused public attention on the anguish of POW wives during the Vietnam War, and had exclusive interviews with returning POWs. From the AP she moved to U. S. News & World Report and also moved to Washington, DC to cover Carter's presidency. At the time of her interviews, Johnson worked for CNN, Atlanta. [146 pages] Not available on-line.

Photo Dorothy Jurney. (1909 - ) Ms. Jurney's long career in journalism began in the 1920s as an employee for her father's newspaper, the Michigan City News. She has also worked as assistant city editor and acting city editor of the Washington News, assistant women's editor of the Miami News, women's editor of the Miami Herald, women's editor and assistant managing editor of the Detroit Free Press, and assistant managing editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. She retired in 1975. As a mentor with strong influence on a generation of women's page editors, she set a high standard for reporting substantive news for women. [135 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Tonnie Katz. (1945 - ) Ms. Katz has been a reporter for the Quincy [MA] Patriot Ledger and the Boston Globe. She has been metro editor of the Boston Herald, on the editorial staff of Sunday/Projects of Newsday in New York, and has worked in Britain and Austria. Katz was managing editor of Hearst's Baltimore News America when that paper folded. Subsequently, Gannett hired her as managing editor of the San Bernadino Sun. She says she had no history of discrimination but has benefitted from an open climate. During the course of her interviews, Katz was promoted to managing editor of the Orange County [CA] Register, enabling her to better promote innovative journalism such as the "newsroom without walls." [132 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Iris Kelso. (1926 - ) A southern journalist, Ms. Kelso has covered state and local politics since beginning her first job at the Hattiesburg (MS) American in 1948. Three years later she moved to a job at the New Orleans States and became a political reporter there in 1954. She also wrote for an alternative paper in the sixties, was reporter and commentator for television station WDSU-TV, authored a series of stories about her family, and wrote a column for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. [105 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Helen Kirkpatrick Milbank. (1909 - ) Ms. Kirkpatrick began her career as a foreign correspondent in 1939. During World War II she came to know almost every major figure in the European theatre including Generals Eisenhower and De Gaulle and Prime Ministers Chamberlain and Churchill. She traveled everywhere, sometimes under extremely dangerous conditions, and was trusted as a political correspondent with excellent sources. She was much respected for her acumen in understanding political and military strategies, her ability to write extremely well, and the integrity with which she translated what she learned into reporting for the Chicago Daily News Foreign Service. [118 pages]

Photo Mary Ellen Leary. (1913 - ) After earning a master's degree in English literature from Stanford University, Ms. Leary began her journalism career at the San Francisco News in 1937. She was among the first women political reporters west of the Mississippi River, and in 1944 moved from San Francisco to cover state politics in Sacramento. In 1946 Leary became one of the first two women to be selected as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. Leary began reporting for the Economist of London in 1967, a job she continued at the time of her interviews. [97 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Deborah Leff. (1951 - ) After two years of study at Princeton, Ms. Leff took a semester off to work with the National Women's Political Caucus. She wrote her Princeton honors thesis on attitudes held by major broadcasters towards women. Unable to find a job in journalism after graduation, she attended the University of Chicago law school. Later, leaving a job in the Ford administration, she went to learn the ropes of TV production with WJLA-TV in Washington. After winning prizes in both Washington and Chicago, she was hired by "ABC Nightline" as a producer and later became foreign affairs producer in London. She reported from Israel, Bangladesh, Japan, the Philippines, the Soviet Union, and Europe before being reassigned to New York. Until June 1992, Leff was senior producer of "ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings." At the time of her interviews, Leff was the president of the Joyce Foundation in Chicago. [63 pages] Not available on-line.

Photo Frances Lewine. (1921 - ) Ms. Lewine began her journalism career in 1943 at the Plainfield [NJ] Courier-News, but soon after began working for the Associated Press in Newark, NJ. She transferred to Washington in 1956 and in 1965 became the AP's first full-time woman White House correspondent. Lewine was a named plaintiff in the mid-70s discrimination suit against the AP, and she battled for women's equal access to the news, especially through desegregation of the National Press Club and the Gridiron Club. In 1981 she joined Cable News Network as assignment editor and field producer, the position she held at the time of her interviews. [100 pages; CLOSED until September 26, 2001; VIDEO] Not available on-line.

Photo Flora Lewis. (1922 - ) In the final days of World War II, Ms. Lewis went to London for the Associated Press. After the war she became a stringer in Poland, where her husband, Sydney Gruson of the New York Times, had been assigned. In 1958 she became a full-time correspondent for the Washington Post and was syndicated in 1967. In 1972 Lewis was hired as chief of the Paris bureau of the New York Times and received the additional title of European diplomatic correspondent in 1976. In 1980 she began the prestigious assignment of writing the Times' foreign affairs column. At the time of her interviews, Lewis was giving up her regular column but continued to write occasional Op-Ed pieces for the New York Times from Paris. [80 pages]

Photo Mónica Lozano. (1956 - ) Ms. Lozano began her journalism career as a writer for La Opinión, the Spanish-language paper her grandfather founded in 1926, now the largest of its kind in the country. She was named Associate Publisher of the paper in 1989 and Editor in 1991. Her father, Ignacio Lozano, is the editor-in-chief of La Opinión and her brother, José Lozano, is the publisher. Lozano has won numerous awards for the publication of stories dealing with AIDS, pre-natal care, and immigration issues, and was listed in the Top 100 Influential Hispanics in 1992. She serves as vice president both for the California Hispanic Publisher's Association and for Lozano Communications. As editor, the position she held at the time of her interviews, Lozano hopes to expand La Opinión to national circulation. [79 pages]

Photo Melissa Ludtke. (1951 - ) Ms. Ludtke is the former Sports Illustrated reporter who, after the 1977 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, won for women equal access to players for vital post-game interviews. Soon after winning the lawsuit, she switched to reporting social issues for Time magazine, concentrating on topics involving children and families. She had a Nieman Fellowship for the academic year 1991-92 and was continuing work on a book at the time of her interviews. [91 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Sarah McClendon. (1910 - ) Ms. McClendon began her career in Texas, working for the Tyler paper from 1931-38. She later joined the WACs and relocated to Washington, DC, where she established McClendon News Service in 1947. She has been a fixture for decades at presidential press conferences, covering every president since Roosevelt. An unabashed advocacy journalist for the poor and powerless, she has been a writer for various newspapers as well as a broadcast journalist. McClendon was continuing her Washington coverage at the time of her interviews. [108 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Mary McGrory. (1918 - ) Ms. McGrory began her career with the Boston Herald after World War II and moved to the Washington Star in 1947 as book review editor. Her break came when she was sent to Capitol Hill to cover the Army-McCarthy hearings. Her columns, first syndicated in 1960 by the Washington Star, won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1975. When the Star folded in the early 1980s, McGrory became a syndicated Washington Post columnist, the position she held at the time of her interviews. She appears frequently as a commentator on weekend news programs. [75 pages] Not available on-line.

Photo Edythe Meserand. (1908 - 1997) Ms. Meserand's career began in 1926 at NBC in New York. In 1931 she went to WGBS and broadcast for the Hearst Station WIWS. In 1935, with David Driscoll, Meserand organized one of the earliest broadcast newsrooms, WOR, the flagship of Mutual Network. After leaving WOR in 1977, she ran her own public relations business. Meserand retired in 1985 and was living near Albany, NY at the time of her interviews. This interview supplements an earlier oral history interview done for the Library of Broadcast Pioneers, Washington, DC. [51 pages]

Photo Gladys Montgomery Singer. (1896 - 1992) Ms. Montgomery's first job in journalism was at the Washington office of Babson's Reports, a financial publication. She was almost fired from the position when her boss discovered the office had hired a woman. Not only did she convince him to keep her on, she eventually became head of the bureau. Montgomery went on to become Washington editor of Electronics and co-editor of Nucleonics, both McGraw-Hill publications. Montgomery was also a past president of the Women's National Press Club, the forerunner of the WPCF. [85 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Aline Mosby. (1922 - ) Notable as one of the few women to make her mark as a foreign correspondent, Ms. Mosby spent her entire journalism career with UPI. After beginning at posts in Seattle and Los Angeles, in 1959 she became the first American woman correspondent posted in Moscow. During the next two decades, Mosby would find herself in Moscow, New York, Vienna and Paris. In 1979 she was among the first group of American journalists to visit China. She then returned to work in Paris where she is now spending her retirement. [147 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Charlotte Moulton. (1913 - ) Covering the U. S. Supreme Court for almost thirty years for the UP, Ms. Moulton was known for her clear, accurate, even-handed reporting. She was responsible for covering some of the most important and difficult decisions of this century, including civil rights legislation, criminal law, and reapportionment. [141 pages; VIDEO]

Photo Frances Murphy. (1922 - ) Ms. Murphy has divided her career between active journalism and teaching. She has worked on several papers in the Afro-American chain—papers founded by her grandfather, John H. Murphy, Sr. Murphy has also taught journalism in Washington, Baltimore, and Buffalo. She feels the black press is still needed to tell stories with viewpoints that the mainstream press may miss. At the time of her interviews, Murphy was publisher of the Washington Afro-American. [170 pages; VIDEO]

Start of list.

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Last updated: October 31, 1998