7 Inspiring Female Journalists in History

Journalism is vital to our nation and democracy. We need to know what’s going on, why, and how it impacts us. I might be a bit biased because I am a journalism major, but journalists have essential jobs in our society. Journalism wasn’t always an easy field for women to get into. It started out as a male-dominated world, but women couldn’t be stopped. Throughout history, there have been numerous women that have contributed enormously to the field. They faced many odds and struggles, and should be remembered. So Collegiettes, here are some amazing female journalists to aspire to be like— not only equipped with talented writing skills, but also passion, intelligence, bravery, and determination. Note: these certainly aren't all the momentous female journalist in history, just a few!

1. Ida B. Wells (1862 – 1931) 

Wells was a civil rights activist who was the editor and co-owner of Free Speech and Headlight newspaper. She wrote about the lynching of three black men in 1892 and the racial injustices of this period. She bravely led an anti-lynching crusade and became one of only two African-American women to join the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909, striving for African-American justice. She was also one of the first female investigative journalists.

2. Dorothy Thompsons (1893 – 1961)

Thompsons lived in Germany and reported on Hitler and the rise of Nazism in World War II. Her reporting led to her expulsion from Germany. She also had a widely read newspaper column for women called “The Ladies’ Home Journal” for 24 years and was a female voice in radio news in the 1930s. Time magazine called her the “second most influential woman in America” (after Eleanor Roosevelt) in 1939.

3. Nellie Bly (1864 – 1922)

Bly was known for her investigative journalism. She actually immersed herself in her work because of her dedication; for instace, to shed light on the conditions of the facilities on Blackwell’s Island in New York City, she checked herself into the asylum. She also sailed around the world attempting to break the record of “Around the World in Eighty Days.”

4. Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964)

Carson aided in the contemporary environmental movement. She wrote the novel "Silent Spring," which highlighted the catastrophic dangers of chemical pesticides like DDT on the environment.

5. Marguerite Higgins (1920 – 1966)

Higgins was one of the first American war correspondents for World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. She helped gain equal access for females in war correspondents on warfronts. Many did not believe that Higgins could report on the wars because of her gender, and she showed them wrong. Higgins won the Pulitzer Prize in 1951 for Foreign Correspondence—the first woman to do so.

6. Katharine Graham (1917 – 2001)

Graham was America’s first female Fortune 500 CEO. Graham impacted the journalistic and business world immensely by helping The Washington Post become nationally prominent in the 20th century as its publisher. Graham also wrote a memoir called “Personal History” that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998.

7. Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906)

Anthony was a women's suffrage activist and abolitionist. Along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she produced a weekly newspaper, The Revolution, that lobbied for women’s rights in 1868. Anthony was monumental in the first women's suffrage movement.  

All these women contributed to the world of journalism in a crucial way. They showed that gender and race don’t impact intelligence and hardwork, during time periods where inequality was ever-present. They demonstrated that women can accomplish anything men can. Thanks to their determination, passion, and hardwork, they strove for greatness and landed on it. 

Sources: 1234, 567, 8