Four Top Female Reporters to be Honored at 11th Annual Washington Women in Journalism Awards

The 11th Annual Washington Women in Journalism Awards, co-hosted by Story Partners and Washingtonian, will honor four top female journalists in our nation’s capital. The anticipated event, which kicks off the White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekend, will take place next Thursday, April 25, 2024.

The role of women journalists in ensuring an inclusive media landscape cannot be understated. That is why we must continue to celebrate the invaluable contributions and the continued strides being made by women in journalism in a traditionally male-dominated media industry.

I’m honored to join my co-host, Washingtonian CEO Cathy Merrill, and our guests as we recognize and celebrate this year’s honorees:

  • Vox Media and Podcaster Kara Swisher with the Hall of Fame Achievement Award
  • ABC’s Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott as Outstanding Journalist in Broadcast Television
  • The Washington Post’s National Investigative Reporter Carol Leonnig as Outstanding Journalist in Print
  • Politico’s National Political Correspondent Meridith McGraw as a Star to Watch

Journalism is a cornerstone of democracy, especially in today’s political environment, where truth and transparency have never been more crucial. Through their unwavering commitment to journalistic integrity, this year’s esteemed honorees are guardians of truth, ensuring balanced and trustworthy reporting of news from our nation’s capital. Kara, Rachel, Carol, and Meridith not only set the bar high for today’s reporters but also inspire and guide the aspiring journalists of tomorrow, and we look forward to celebrating their invaluable contributions to the field of journalism at this year’s event.

Cathy Merrill added, “On behalf of Washingtonian and Story Partners, we are deeply honored to recognize these four groundbreaking journalists. They are relentless in seeking out the truth by asking tough, important questions and then explaining to their audiences in terms that help us understand the implications of their stories on our democracy and our world. We congratulate each of them.”

Ahead of the event, Story Partners asked the honorees to share their thoughts on the unique perspective that women journalists provide and why it is important to continue to support women in journalism. Their insightful responses are below.

Rachel Scott, Senior Congressional Correspondent, ABC
“When I first started in this business, a veteran female journalist told me something I’d never forget: ‘a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.’ I stand on the shoulders of countless female journalists who believed in the power of uplifting one another – women who went out of their way to give me guidance, encouragement and feedback when I needed it the most. I’m a grateful they’ve reminded me that there’s not only power in storytelling – but power in our own stories.”

Carol Leonnig, National Investigative Reporter, The Washington Post
“At The Washington Post, I’ve been lucky to follow outstanding women who blazed the trail, including our publisher Katharine Graham and fearless reporters like Dorothy Butler Gilliam, Kate Boo and Dana Priest, and continuing now with our executive editor Sally Buzbee. So many important truths would never have come to light without women journalists dedicated to telling them. We can never underestimate the power of our unique lens and knack for fostering community, so critical now as our journalism is counted upon to build a community of shared facts. Let’s keep growing that bench of women to take on top leadership positions and male-dominated beats.”

Meridith McGraw, National Political Correspondent, Politico
“Before I began my career in journalism, I carefully watched and read the work of female journalists courageously reporting from the frontlines or chasing down answers in the halls of Congress. For aspiring young journalists – but also for our audiences – representation in the newsroom matters for the perspective we bring to important human stories and for showing the next generation what is possible. Women lift each other up, and I personally owe so much to my female colleagues, mentors, competitors and friends in the news industry who have been a source of encouragement, camaraderie, and inspiration over the years.”

A newly released report from Reuters Institute, Women and Leadership in the News Media 2024: Evidence from 12 Markets, analyzed the gender breakdown of top editors through a strategic sample of 240 major news outlets in 12 different markets across five continents. The report found that in all 12 markets that were analyzed this year, the majority of top editors are men, including in countries where women journalists outnumber men journalists. The percentage of women in top editorial positions varies significantly based on the market, starting at 0% in Japan and increasing up to 43% in the United States.

Report findings show that on average only 24% of the 174 top editors across the 240 brands covered are women, while 40% of journalists across the markets are women. When compared with the data collected by Reuters Institute over the past five years, the percentage of women among the top editors has slowly increased from 23% in 2020 to today’s average of 24% in 2024, indicating that with a linear projection at this pace of change, there would not be gender parity in top editorial positions in global newsrooms until the year 2074.

A Special Thank You to the Sponsors of the Washington Women in Journalism Awards
Alibaba, Amazon, American Beverage Association, American Council of Life Insurers, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Consumer Brands Association, Delta, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, PhRMA, Southern Company and Toyota.