The Pioneering Crimson Women at the New York Times

With the appointment of Jill Abramson '76 as executive editor, we take a look back at pathbreaking Harvard student journalists who helped change the nation's premier newspaper.

With the appointment of Jill Abramson '76 as executive editor of the New York Times—the first time a woman has held that senior post—it is timely to revisit "Women of the Times: Radcliffe Rampant at The New York Times," Harvard Magazine's September-October 1995 feature on pioneering women journalists, written by long-time contributor Nardi Reeder Campion. The article recounts the early-1960s exclusion of women from the main floor National Press Club, where critical briefings were held, and changes in the profession since then. Among the reporters covered in the article are Alessandra Stanley '77, who now reviews television for the Times; retired Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse '68 (a member of the Board of Overseers); Susan Chira '80, now foreign editor; and early editors Soma Golden Behr '61 and Linda McVeigh Mathews '67, J.D. '72 (the first female managing editor of the Crimson).

Campion concluded her account this way:

Ignoring a Times dictum—Never use the future tense—I predict a woman will some day become managing editor of The New York Times. And I'm betting big she will be a Harvard-Radcliffe alumna.

The Times's article today on Abramson's appointment reports:

In her remarks to the staff on Thursday, she took time to acknowledge “my sisters,” naming more than a dozen women at The Times who have helped her along the way, including the company’s chief executive, Janet L. Robinson. “Every executive editor stands on the shoulders of others,” she said.

 

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