A photographic exhibition of women who work in traditionally male-dominated professions is taking place in Dublin to mark International Women’s Day today. The photographs depict fire-fighters, industrial abseilers and pilots but it wasn’t that long ago that journalism was also seen as a man’s job.
By Erin Fox and Martha Kearns
So today, we doff our ‘press hats’ to eight of the inspiring and courageous female journalists who blazed a trail for the women, like some of us working at StoryLab, who came after them.
Clare Hollingworth (1911 – 2017)
Just three days into her career as a journalist, Clare Hollingworth landed not only the biggest scoop of her career – but some would say the biggest journalism scoop ever – when she was the first to report the outbreak of the second world war. Her dispatch from the German-Polish border in 1939 was the start of an extraordinary career.
Sascha Pfeiffer (1971 –
Best known for her work on the award-winning Spotlight team with the Boston Globe, Pfeiffer earned a Pulitzer Prize for public service. She was the only female journalist on the team, which investigated clerical abuse scandals covered up by the Catholic church in Boston. Her character was played by Rachel McAdams in the 2016 Oscar-winning movie, Spotlight.
Kate Adie (1945 –
One of Kate Adie’s most memorable moments was during the Iranian Embassy siege in London in 1980. First on the scene as the Special Air Service stormed the embassy, the BBC interrupted coverage of the World Snooker Championships to allow Adie report live and unscripted to one of the largest news audiences ever while crouched behind a car door. All the more amazing that Adie — who became chief news correspondent for BBC and was well known for reporting from war zones around the world —started off at BBC in 1968 as a studio technician in local radio.
Christiane Amanpour (1958 –
Having covered many of the world’s most dangerous conflicts for CNN, it was her sustained coverage of the various Balkan wars in the 1990s that helped make Amanpour the internationally recognised award-winning correspondent she is today. The Iranian-British journalist initially faced resistance from being put on the air due to her accent and dark hair, she is now Chief International Correspondent for CNN and hosts a night interview programme.
Veronica Guerin (1958 – 1996)
Veronica Guerin, a fearless, award-winning journalist for the Sunday Independent, was murdered in June 1996. Just a year before that, she had won the Freedom of Press Award for her work exposing Dublin’s drug and gang culture. Her determination, even when her life was in danger, made her one of Ireland’s best-known journalists.
Nellie Bly (1864 – 1922)
Considered by many to be the pioneer of investigative journalism, the American journalist was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days and an expose in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within. She wrote for several newspapers on many issues such as the plight of the poor, immigrants, corruption and women in America.
Orla Guerin (1966 –
Having kick-started her career in journalism in Irish newspapers, Orla Guerin worked as a newscaster, presenter and foreign correspondent for RTE News before joining the BBC in 1995 where her roles have included Middle East Correspondent. Her work with RTE included reporting the fall of the Berlin Wall and she has been awarded several honorary degrees as well as a British MBE for broadcasting in 2005.
Martha Gellhorn (1908 – 1998)
Gellhorn was a distinguished war correspondent who is considered one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century. She covered every war that occurred across the world during her 60-year career. Her life as an intrepid correspondent began when she met Ernest Hemingway, whom she was married to from 1940 – 1945 – travelling with him to Madrid to cover the Spanish Civil War. The Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism was established in her honour in 1999.
Featured image of Clare Hollingworth.