When the Washington Post broke the Watergate story, the paper’s publisher, Katharine Graham, was one of the very few woman executives in American media. Over time, more women in positions of power and working as reporters helped change the face of journalism. Still, while education and career paths in STEM have seen a real push for diversity in recent decades, diversity in the field of journalism continues to lag behind some other professions.
Newsroom employees are less diverse than American workers overall and are more likely to be white and male, according to a 2018 Pew Research study. However, there has been some improvement over the last couple of decades in newsrooms’ hiring more women, people of color, and younger people.
Some notable women reporters and reporters of color who covered Watergate include Connie Chung, who became the first Asian American woman to anchor a national evening broadcast in 1994.
Optional: Politics is another field that has become more diverse in recent decades. Watch former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman discuss the significance of this diversity on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate.
Watch Helen Thomas’s interview with Nashville Public Television in 1999, in which she discusses reporting on Watergate for United Press International (UPI) and covering ten presidents over the course of her career. Then answer the questions below.
Optional: To read Thomas’s UPI article “Nixon Quits on TV Tonight; Ford to Take Oath Friday,” click here.
Helen Thomas on Nashville Public Television’s “A Word on Words” (edited for this activity; starts with Thomas’s background and halfway through discusses her covering Richard Nixon). Permission has been granted for educational purposes only, courtesy of NPT-TV via Library of Congress, Archive of American Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress).