Women in Media A) Barbara Walters and Her Accomplishments:

Barbara Walters is among the most thriving women in the legacy of TV journalism. Becoming the first woman co-anchor of American Broadcasting Corporation’s — ABC evening news program by accepting an unprecedented $1 million annual salary and bagging almost every award that the media world has to offer, Barbara Walters is the highest paid news hostess with $12 million annual pay packet. Born on September 25, 1929 in Boston, she found herself amidst celebrities from a very early age as her father himself was an owner of a chain of nightclubs and this supposedly contributed to her relaxed attitude while interviewing the rich and famous. An English Graduate from Sarah Lawrence College in New York during 1953, she began her career in journalism becoming the Assistant to Publicity Director and Republican activist McCary of WRCA TV an affiliate of NBC TV. It was here that she honed her writing and production skills and moved on to CBS where she crafted the content for Morning Show, the network’s prime time program. (“Barbara Walters Biography (1931-)a,” n. d.)

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In 1961, she accepted NBC’s offer for working as a researcher and writer for the program ‘Today’ where her major career breakthrough came about when she was deputed to travel with the then U.S. President’s wife Jacqueline Kennedy in her trip to India and Pakistan. The trip was a turning point in her illustrious career that went on to earn increasing responsibility at the network. The rising popularity of the Today show made her earn the nickname ‘Today girl’. Barbara hosted the show for almost a decade thereby sharpening her specialized snooping yet informal interviewing technique. She established herself as journalist par excellence by the year 1972 and was selected to team in the press corps which accompanied the President Nixon on his epoch making foreign visit to China. The year 1975 was a historic occasion for her when she won her first Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award for being the best host in a talk series. In 1976 she started the first of a series lending her name as Barbara Walters Specials in 1976 in which the program featured President Jimmy Carter and is wife Roslyn Carter. (“Barbara Walters Biography (1931-)a,” n. d.)

It was in 1979, when she became the correspondent for ABC News 20/20 handling the assignment on a part-time basis. She was made to arrange for an exclusive interview with former President Richard Nixon in 1980 which was her first interview after putting in her papers. During 2000, Walters renewed her contract with the ABC News for five more years before quitting the channel in September 2004 at the age of 73. It is acknowledged that her greatest strengths are in refining the art of “personality journalism” and taking exclusive interviews of celebrities before any other competitive channel. She is marked for her comprehensive and broad spectrum of interviews that presents a profound history of the personalities which impacted the later part of the 20th century. Her marathon two-hour exclusive interview with the former White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the height of the scandal rocking the popularity of Bill Clinton made broadcasting history by becoming the top ranked programming content in news to be yet aired on a particular TV channel. (“Barbara Walters Biography (1931-)b,” n. d.)

In her illustrious career, Barbara Walters has received several awards. Notable among them are the President’s Award in 1990 which is the topmost honor of the Overseas Press Club. In 1990, she was honored with membership of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame and also for achieving excellence in journalism -viz the Lowell Thomas Award during the same year. She was also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation in the year 1991 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2000. She was also awarded the star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007 as also the 34 daytime Emmy awards. She has also received the honorary doctoral degrees from Universities of international repute such as Ohio State University, Sarah Lawrence College and Wheaton College. (“Barbara Walters Biography (1931-)b,” n. d.)

Her inimitable style was extracting the public pretense of leaders and revealing the viewpoints, choices, individual qualities that made these personalities outstanding in their respective spheres. She cautiously cut through the style of the leader, talking, status, achievements, and idea, not just interrogating which lies at the core of the mind of the public, however even adding individual remarks and associations. Her courageous investigations, as many may name them, have ranked her at the zenith in her own domain. Moreover, it was from the stature of that edifice that she has seen the fruition of qualities of leader in a manner that is inimitable, friendly and definitely be of interest to professionals in any field. (Clarke, 2002) Her photograph is given in Exhibit -I.

A b) Oprah Winfrey and her Accomplishments:

Oprah Winfrey is among the most thriving women in media history. Overcoming a troubled childhood, she rose to become the most influential TV hostess of her own home production “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Forbes magazine rated her as the wealthiest African-American of the twentieth century and the world only Black millionaire for three years in a row. She was born in January 29, 1954 in Mississippi in a farming community. Her oratory skills were recognized from very early childhood which contributed to her immense success in later life. She started her career in 1971 engaged in radio and TV broadcasting in Nashville. During 1976, she hosted the TV chat show ‘People are Talking’ which was a huge success leading to her continuance with the show for eight long years. Her open and warm-hearted personal style made the show scale high in the popularity charts. (“Oprah Winfrey Biography (1954-),” n. d.)

This was a huge turning point in her career earning her instant fame leading to her accepting a role in the Spielberg film, the Color Purple. He was nominated for an Oscar honor in the Best Supporting Actress category. During 1986, she started the hugely popular ‘Oprah Winfrey Show’ which was broadcast in 120 channels with a captive audience of more than 10 million. The gross earning of the show touched $125 million by the end of its inaugural year, out of which Winfrey bagged $30 million. She went to become the owner of the program from ABC through her own production company Harpo which is her name Oprah spelled backwards. Winfrey also inked a multi-picture contract with Disney Productions later. (“Oprah Winfrey Biography (1954-),” n. d.)

Oprah’s contribution in inspiring people as a fine human being and her philanthropic efforts are another dimension to her amazing personality that she radiates. Her contribution on a wide spectrum of activities like as a talk show hostess, owner of a production unit, angel network, book club, cinema, Broadway, promoting education of children are in itself a rarity. Some of her awards and recognition include (i) she won her inaugural Emmy Award for the topmost talk show in the year 1987. (ii) She went on receive the award for the ‘National association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Entertainer’ for the year during 1989. She bore witness in front of the U.S. Congress and started the National Child Protection Act in 1991. (iii) in 1995, Oprah received the Emmy Award for the ‘Best Talk Show’ and ‘Topmost Host’ for two years in succession and also launched her web presence in AOL as Oprah Online in association with ABC. (iv) She became the 1st woman and the sole Black Woman of the 400 richest Americans on the Forbes list during the same year. (v) During the year1996, Oprah Winfrey was awarded the esteemed George Foster Peabody’s Individual Achievement Award. (vi) She formed the Angel Network in 1997 that urged people to contribute to a charitable cause and voluntary work. (vii) 1988 was a significant year for her when she was awarded from the Daytime Emmy Awards, the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’. (viii) During 2002, she was awarded at the 2002 Emmy Award, the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award for her contribution to TV and the cine world. (ix) Time magazine in 2005 named her as one of top hundred important personalities during the twelve month period. She also bagged the ninth position in the open elections of the rich and famous Americans. (x) the international magazine ‘Business Week’ rated her as the first black person to be America’s top 50 most generous philanthropists. (xi) She received accolades from the legendry Nelson Mandela for rising above her own troubled youth to become a backer for other people and also for making investment for the prospects of South Africa. (Manohar, 2008) Her photograph is given in .

Katie Couric and her Accomplishments:

The world’s highest paid TV personality, ace journalist Katie Couric took birth in Arlington, Virginia on January 7, 1957. Graduating from the University of Virginia in 1979 in American Studies, she started her profession in television news reporting with the first job and joined at ABC as Desk Assistant under anchorman Sam Donaldson. Soon thereafter, she started working with CNN channel in handling their Washington bureau. For the forthcoming seven years, Couric was engaged with CNN bureaus across the nation as a producer and also as an on-air reporter. She returned to Washington in 1987 taking up job as a reporter at an NBC affiliate station. She rose from her ranks to hold the number two position as a reporter at the Pentagon for the Washington bureau of the NBC news. (“Katie Couric Biography,” n. d.)

For the next three years she was in charge of covering the U.S. invasion of the Panama as also Persian Gulf War in her Pentagon position as also as a new post at the NBC’s morning newspaper, Today. In the early part of 1991, she discharged her role as a co-anchor of Today. Her immense popularity with the viewers was because of her pleasant and charming demeanor and her amazingly insistent journalistic style. In her early years on Today, she undertook a lot of preferred interviews with celebrities like U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton, Anita Hill, George Bush, Colin Powel and Jerry Seinfeld. During 1993, the program ‘Today’ overcame ABC’s Good Morning America in the ratings to reclaim its position as the top-ranked morning newsmagazine across the nation as regards viewership is concerned. (“Katie Couric Biography,” n. d.)

Katie has been the most popular news-anchor person in the United States and is immensely popular across the world for her warm smile and friendly personality. She earned the enviable distinction of becoming the first woman in the history of U.S. television to assume the role of lead anchor of a new program. Katie is also renowned for her philanthropic endeavors fighting and supporting for causes she believes in. Raising money for cancer research, she also helps educate people regarding cancer and other vital problems. (Banting, 2007)

Starting in the summer of 1993, Couric also was the co-host of one more newsmagazine aired during prime-time captioned Now with Tom Brokaw and Kate Couric. It was ultimately dovetailed into the greater accepted program Dataline, and Couric went on with her job on ‘Today’ that went on to cement its grip on the highest slot in the ratings of Nielsen and broaden the significance of a news program that is aired in the morning. She had become the unchallenged idol of television aired during the morning. Katie Curic’s amazing success with Today progressed successfully all through the 1990s. During the summer of 1998, she was contracted for four years by NBC for $28 million. She joined the top ranks of personalities in TV news alongside Diane Sawyer, Brokaw and Dan Rather by grossing $7 million yearly remuneration. During the peak of her career, she suffered a personal tragedy when her husband died an untimely death suffering colon cancer in 1998. As a part of her personal efforts she produced two TV programs to drive consciousness about the illness by experiencing a live colonoscopy herself so as to urge on the audience the urgency of undergoing a test. (“Katie Couric Biography in full Katherine Anne Couric (1957-),” n. d.)

During the last part of the year 2000, her movement had helped in raising in excess of $10 million. She continued with her accomplishments by publishing a book on children ‘The Brand New Kid’ that held the top spot for three weeks in the New York Times children’s picture book bestseller list. During January 2002, Couric entered into a fresh business with NBC for $65 million over a period of four and half years that permitted her to run the show ‘Today’ as also look out for other scope at the channel which made her earn the highest paid TV personality in the world. She again rewrote history after quitting the show ‘Today’ after fifteen years to sign a contract with CBS to be the 1st woman to become the anchor of the news program aired during the evening. (“Katie Couric Biography in full Katherine Anne Couric (1957-),” n. d.)

One of her most visible efforts towards philanthropy were setting of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Centre which is a technically advanced $74 million outpatient facility designed for compassionate care. Besides, in association with the entertainment industry she has also co-founded the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance. (Krinsky, 2009) Her photograph is given in .

A d) Lucille Ball and her Accomplishments:

Lucille Ball is regarded as one of the best comedians among the females. She was born in Celaron in New York in August 6, 1911. She quit her studies in high school to become a stage actress. After a failed attempt into the world of modeling when she was known as Diane Belmont, she entered Hollywood during the 1930s in Roman Scandals in 1933 being her first film role. She also acted in a lot of movies later as also in shows aired on radio. She achieved the topmost achievement being member of a team with her husband Desi Amaz, the leader of a music band from Cuba. Starting during the year 1951, they teamed up jointly to enact the role of a crazy middle-class couple Ricky Ricardo, in TVs archetypal sitcom ‘I Love Lucy. She had an amazing sense of timing and she completed a whopping 179 installments of the unique situational comedy as the restless housewife. In the 1953 episode “Little Ricky” was born to her that was filmed to emulate the birth of her son in actual life was believed to have drawn more audiences compared to the investiture of President Eisenhower. She was separated with her husband in 1960 and thereafter appeared on Broadway in Wildcat in 1961. Her most famous show was the Lucy Show ran for several years from 1962 and Here is Lucy that ran from 1968 to 1973. (“Lucille Ball Biography (1911-1989),” n. d.)

Lucille Ball is one of the most identifiable faces on the planet in the comedy circuit. Her name is so iconic that her face comes to the mind immediately. Nevertheless, Lucy’s name as an icon signifies different things to different people. Lucy’s rise to iconic status was because of a blend of talent, genius and unexpected historical timing. She had been a model, a film star and also a radio talk show hostess. The show I Love Lucy was on air from 1951 to 1961 and the subsequent show ‘Here’s Lucy’ was on air for more than a decade. Regardless of the doubts of the sponsor, it raced to the number one spot in the ratings and remained there for years. Within a span of few years, she was the darling of almost a fifth of the population of America. People loved her because of her facial expression which would give the message of what the writers termed as the “light bulb” appearance of having an idea, understanding an unlikely scheme at times to receive money. Many compare her hilarious physical comedy with the legendary Charlie Chaplin. Her trademark manner of childlike crying in an uncontrolled manner was also admired by the viewers as also her singing out of rhythm. Among the , food and drink sometimes play a role and she is found immersed in the physical like the grapes in the vat for example. (Hall, 2006)

Love Lucy in its ridiculous plots, wide range of material comedy and the portrayal of wedding is often relegated as an artifact. Nevertheless the program has in its store the timeless excellence of a crystal glass. Because of its comedian exaggeration, she discovered a number of ideas, the nervousness of a wedded life, performing the balancing act of a successful job and hearth and the significance of devotion and amity. The program also reflected majority of the decade’s crucial inclination. In her illustrious career she was an ‘agile’ as well as an ‘imaginative humorist’ and her well-known funny side attempting to maintain with a sweetie line assembly and tramping grapes in an Italian wine vat were indeed famous. (“Lucille Ball,” 2009)

But above all, her personality transcends more than a clown. Her expressive facial expression could manifest a wide range of sentiments, her comic timings were just inimitable and her dedication to the truth of her emotion at no point of time flagged. She was a diligent perfectionist. Such was her attention to detail that in an act wherein she was supposed to swallow a paper bag, she took three hours in inspecting bags to be certain that she chose the perfect size perfect and the sound equally appropriate to bring in that element of humor. (“Lucille Ball,” 2009) the various shows which ran successfully for years together are (i) I Love Lucy from 1951 to 1957 (ii) the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour from 1957 to 1960 (iii) the Lucy Show from 1962 to 1967 (iv) Here’s Lucy from 1970 to 1974 (v) Life with Lucy which lasted for a year in 1986. (Kuchinsky, 2007) Her photograph is given in .


Exhibit -I

Barbara Walters

Exhibit -II

Oprah Winfrey

Exhibit -III

Katie Couric

Exhibit -IV

Lucille Ball


Banting, Erninn. (2007) “Katie Couric”

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