Brilliant Bylines: A Biographical Anthology of Notable Newspaperwomen in America

Brilliant Bylines: A Biographical Anthology of Notable Newspaperwomen in America

Brilliant Bylines: A Biographical Anthology of Notable Newspaperwomen in America

Brilliant Bylines: A Biographical Anthology of Notable Newspaperwomen in America

Excerpt

When I was a high school student in the 1950s, writing about weddings and engagements for my hometown newspaper In St. Petersburg, Florida, I dreamed of being another Marguerite Higgins, then the war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. Her front-page bylines from Korea showed my generation of newspaperwomen that a journalistic life existed beyond the lace and tulle of the society pages.

Twenty years after Maggie Higgins graduated from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, I received my degree from the same school and, like her, went to work on the Herald Tribune. I met her only once, when she visited the newsroom on home leave. I expressed my admiration for her accomplishments; she was curtly gracious and departed. For a role model to turn instantly into a mentor was, I realized, an adolescent fantasy. But idols of our youth are ever with us. After I became a professor of journalism at my alma mater, I would often refer to Marguerite Higgins' life and career. Few students knew her name. Her relative obscurity and that of other women journalists, both past and present, was one of the main reasons I decided to write Brilliant Bylines.

But rather than write another version of what can already be found on the library shelves--a collection of profiles or a historical narrative of women in journalism--I decided on a biographical anthology that would examine the lives and careers of selected newspaperwomen and include samples of their journalism as well. The anthology section is not intended to be read as "women's journalism," for I do not believe that a truly distinct and separate female journalistic tradition has developed in the United States. To be sure, gender influenced the writing of some stories, notably those on women's issues. But there are few stories herein--or published at any time in a news-

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