Ten Percent of Media's Most Influential Women on CJR List Went to Wellesley

August 13, 2012

A Columbia Journalism Review list celebrating "40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years" includes four Wellesley alumnae: (clockwise in photo) Nora Ephron '62, Ellen Levine '64, Diane Sawyer '67, and Geneva Overholser '70. All four of these women have been recognized with Wellesley's Alumnae Achievement Award. Ephron and Levine worked together on The Wellesley News as students.

Nora Ephron began her career as a newspaper reporter for the New York Post. She wrote for such magazines as Esquire, New York Times Magazine, and New York Magazine. In 1975, a collection of her essays, entitled Crazy Salad, was published. She followed that with the widely acclaimed novel, Heartburn, which was made into a successful movie. She continued writing screenplays as well as essays, and was respected and celebrated in Hollywood as a screenwriter, producer, and director. She won the Alumnae Achievement Award in 2006. She died in 2012, remembered fondly by millions.

Ellen Jacobson Levine made publishing history in October 1994 when she became the first woman to be named Editor-In-Chief of Good Housekeeping since the magazine was founded in 1885. Before her appointment to the top post at the flagship publication of Hearst Magazines, she served as Editor-in-Chief of two other major women’s magazines: Redbook (1990-1994) and Women’s Day (1982-1990), and as Senior Editor of Cosmopolitan (1976-1982). While at Women’s Day, Ms. Levine was also Senior Vice President of Hachette Magazines, Inc.

Diane Sawyer, broadcast journalist, anchor, and editor, has received accolades for her investigative journalism, overseas reports, and poignant interviews with individuals ranging from Michael Jackson and Ellen DeGeneres to Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro to Bill and Hillary Clinton and Nancy Reagan.

Geneva Overholser joined the Des Moines Register in 1981 as an editorial writer. She was awarded the Neiman Fellowship in 1985 and was a member of the New York Times editorial board from 1986 to 1988, specializing in foreign affairs and security issues. In 1988, she returned to the Register as the editor, and she added coverage of so-called women’s issues. She later served as ombudsman and columnist for the Washington Post, and as a professor of journalism.

Columbia Journalism Review is published by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and, according to its mission, seeks to "encourage and stimulate excellence in journalism in the service of a free society, and act as a watchdog and a friend of the press in all its forms."

Beyond the List

In addition to these four recognized by CJR, Wellesley lays claim to a great deal of media space through its alumnae. Here's just a sampling of those in the field, and some of where they are or have been:

  • Shukri Abdi ’01, producer, Oxygen Network, NBC
  • Karen Grigsby Bates '73, reporter, NPR
  • Paula Butturini '73,  foreign correspondent, Chicago Tribune, UPI
  • Michelle Caruso-Cabrera '91, anchor, CNBC
  • Gail Russell Chaddock '72, politics editor, deputy Washington bureau chief, Christian Science Monitor
  • Sangita Chandra '94, TV producer, WCVB
  • Agnes Chang ’07, creative technologist, New York Times R&D Lab
  • Callie Crossley '73, talk show host, NPR
  • Kimberly Dozier '87, journalist, The Associated Press
  • Christine Haughney '95, reporter, New York Times
  • Clare Kim '09, anchor producer, MSNBC
  • Susanna Kim '04, reporter, New York Times, ABC News
  • Christianne Klein '00, anchor/correspondent at ABC News; president, Truth Fairy TV Media
  • Emi Kolawole '04, section editor, Washington Post
  • Heather Long '04, newspaper editor, Patriot-News
  • Melissa Ludtke '73, writer, ABC, Sports Illustrated; executive editor, Schuster Institute for
    Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University
  • Gracia Martore '73, CEO, Gannett
  • Sarah Mirza '02, associate producer, Foreign Desk at CBS News
  • Shannon Mulaire '03, morning anchor, WFXT-TV
  • Meaghan Norman '06, reporter/fill-in anchor, WIS-TV
  • Amita Parashar '06, producer, NPR
  • Carla Robbins '74, deputy editor, New York Times
  • Cokie Roberts '64, radio & TV correspondent, NPR
  • Desiree Rogers '81, CEO, Johnson Publishing Company
  • Lisa Rudolph '79, media consultant, NBC
  • Lynn Sherr '63, broadcaster and author, ABC
  • Patricia Shevlin '71, executive producer, CBS Evening News
  • Morgan Smith '07, reporter, Texas Tribune
  • Courtney Streett '09, assistant to executive producer, CBS Evening News
  • Martha Teichner '69, foreign correspondent, CBS
  • Jennifer Vanasco '94, editor-in-chief, 365gay.com; theater critic, Chicago Reader; blogger, Huffington Post
  • Linda Cosby Wertheimer '65, reporter/correspondent, NPR
  • C.S. Wyant '02, reporter, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal/ KMSP-TV

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