cover story

The divine sisterhood

All hail 40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years
July 12, 2012

Jill Abramson
First woman to be executive editor of The New York Times

Christiane Amanpour
CNN’s fearless, globe-trotting war correspondent

Tina Brown
Author and editor who rescued Vanity Fair, updated The New Yorker, and became the first woman on top at Newsweek

Betsy Carter
Visionary and mentorly founder of New York Woman magazine

Connie Chung
First Asian-American prime-time news anchor

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Gail Collins
First woman named editorial-page editor of The New York Times

Katie Couric
First woman to solo-anchor a prime-time network news broadcast

Christine Craft
A 40-something TV news anchor who sued for age discrimination (she was demoted in 1981 after a focus group said she was “too old, too unattractive and wouldn’t defer to men”)

Anthea Disney
The Rupert whisperer, who blazed trails across all platforms of the Murdoch media empire

Nora Ephron
The most successful Hollywood director New York journalism ever produced (yes, she did time at the New York Post, Newsweek, and Esquire)

Arianna Huffington
Author and networker extraordinaire whose viral blog network upended the industry

Charlayne Hunter-Gault
Heroine of school desegregation who joined what was then known as The MacNeil/Lehrer Report in 1978. She later left PBS to report from South Africa for NPR and CNN.

Molly Ivins
Trenchant columnist who stood taller in her cowboy boots than most men

Dorothy Kalins
Launcher of magazines (Saveur, Garden Design) and peerless spotter of young talent

Geraldine Laybourne
Longtime TV executive and cofounder of Oxygen, where she instituted a crossgenerational Mentor’s Walk for women in various fields

Frances Lear
Creator of her groundbreaking eponymous magazine “for women of a certain age”

Ellen Levine
Longtime editorial boss at Hearst Magazines, who has shepherded dozens of magazines and launched hundreds of careers

Carol Loomis
Exemplary financial journalist at Fortune, where she’s worked since 1954

Susan Lyne
Now in online commerce, but a supreme role model and mentor as founder of Premiere and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

Rebecca MacKinnon
Co-founder of the Global Voices online community and former Beijing bureau chief for CNN; now a wise voice on global Internet policy

Sonia Nazario
Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times journalist (“Enrique’s Journey”)

Martha Nelson
Founding editor of InStyle, now a heartbeat away from running the almighty edit side of Time Inc.

Asra Q. Nomani
Muslim feminist author who spent 15 influential years at The Wall Street Journal

Peggy Orenstein
New York Times Magazine writer who has brought feminist and motherhood issues into the 21st century

Geneva Overholser
Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of the Des Moines Register, now a journalism educator and all-around role model

Lynn Povich and the other women who sued Newsweek for sex discrimination

Anna Quindlen
Newspaperwoman turned novelist and essayist who makes everyday life lyrical

Maria Elena Salinas
Iconic anchor of Univision news programs

Diane Sawyer
First female correspondent on 60 Minutes now anchoring ABC News

Liz Smith
The grande dame of showbiz news, dogged campaigner for literacy, and mentor to many

Lesley Stahl
Trailblazer in Washington coverage who has become a standard bearer for 60 Minutes

Susan Stamberg
The original voice of NPR’s “All Things Considered”

Gloria Steinem and the Ms. crew, who (among other things) changed the way the world addresses women

Martha Stewart
Embodiment of the human multimedia brand

Kara Swisher
Co-founder of All Things D, who crashed the frat party of tech coverage

Betsy Wade and the women who sued The New York Times for sex discrimination

Barbara Walters
TV news pioneer with many firsts to her credit

Ruth Whitney
Who in 31 years as editor of Glamour mentored talents such as Cindi Leive and Charla Krupp

Oprah Winfrey
Queen of all media

Susan Zirinsky
The first woman to produce a prime-time network news show, for CBS

The Editors are the staffers of the Columbia Journalism Review.