Honoring Top Female Political Reporters at the 10th Annual Washington Women in Journalism Awards

The 10th Annual Washington Women in Journalism Awards, co-hosted by Story Partners and Washingtonian, honors the remarkable contributions and dedicated work of women journalists here in our nation’s capital.

Diversity in reporting is critical to high-quality news coverage. Better representing America’s modern society, diverse journalists bring balance and inclusivity to their reporting. That is one of the reasons why I founded the Washington Women in Journalism Awards ten years ago: to recognize, celebrate and help empower the essential contributions of women journalists in a traditionally male-dominated media industry.

As we celebrate ten years of the Washington Women in Journalism Awards, I am thrilled to join my co-host Washingtonian CEO Cathy Merrill and our guests as we honor this year’s awardees, four of Washington’s top female political reporters:

  • CNN’s Gloria Borger with the Hall of Fame Achievement Award

  • NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell as Outstanding Journalist in Broadcast Television

  • The Washington Post’s Jacqueline Alemany as Outstanding Journalist in Print

  • NPR’s Asma Khalid as a Star to Watch

Truth and transparency in today’s political reporting have never been more important. This year’s honorees have elevated the standard for journalism, and their reporting brings balance and trust to the news we all rely on. Gloria, Kelly, Jacqueline and Asma are symbols of inspiration for all of us, as well as the next generation of journalists, and we look forward to celebrating their accomplishments at the event this week.

Cathy Merrill said, “These four women represent the essence of what it is to be a great journalist: curiosity, truthfulness, integrity, and an ability to break down a complex story and help us all make sense of what is going on in the White House, on the Hill and in the world. On behalf of Washingtonian, we are honored to recognize them and their contributions.”

Ahead of the event, Story Partners asked the honorees for their thoughts on the value women journalists provide and why it is crucial to promote and support women in journalism. Their insightful responses are below.

Gloria Borger, Senior Political Analyst, CNN:
“Over my years in journalism, we’ve increased the numbers of women leading and reporting in newsrooms by leaps and bounds. And it shows. There is no one “women’s” point of view, of course, but mentoring and promoting women provides newsrooms with an invaluable diversity of perspectives and voices that are so useful to coverage in an increasingly complicated world.

For me, watching my female colleagues grow, prosper, and become leaders has been one of the joys of my professional life. We’re not there yet, but the progress is palpable!”

Kelly O’Donnell, Senior White House Correspondent, NBC News:
“Covering the White House and major stories in Washington is filled with challenges and stress points but one of the unexpected benefits I experience comes from the friendships and support of women in the press corps. While we are competitors, we are also a support system for navigating the work and life hurdles we all face. We share tips, encouragement, and laughter. Women can lead the broadcast and also lend a hand. We bring our life experiences to our reporting and use that to frame our questions and our understanding of stories. That serves our audiences well. Women are needed in newsrooms, briefing rooms and on the trail to bring our energy and our unique light to our reporting. While pursuing our goals, we can also help other women pursuing this work to find their way as well.”

Jacqueline Alemany, Congressional Investigations Reporter, The Washington Post:
“I’ve been so lucky to stand on the shoulders of the female journalists who have hustled to make advances for women in newsrooms over the past 50 years. Prior to the war in Vietnam, women journalists were barred from covering combat zones by the U.S. government. Cementing female perspectives from the frontlines of war to top management positions in historically male-dominated newsrooms is imperative — not only for the stories we find and share, but for the generation of journalists to come.”

Asma Khalid, White House Correspondent, NPR:
“So many critical stories –- about the economy, politics, healthcare – would go untold without women in the newsroom. And that seems truer than ever as we strive to tell stories about access to abortion in a post-Dobbs atmosphere. We do a disservice to the public by not representing the population we serve. Hiring, promoting and championing women is not about optics, it’s about the journalistic duty we have to our listeners/readers/viewers.”

While women have made great strides in the media industry over the past several decades, there is still more progress to be made for women leadership in journalism in the United States and globally.

A 2023 Reuters Institute report, Women and Leadership in the News Media 2023: Evidence from 12 Markets, analyzed the gender breakdown of top editors through a strategic sample of 240 major news outlets in 12 markets across five continents. Findings showed that while 40% of journalists were women, only 22% of women are editors. While the percentage of women in top editorial positions varied significantly based on market – from 5% in Mexico to 44% in the U.S., the report found that most top editors are men, including in countries where women journalists outnumbered male journalists. In fact, in 11 of the 12 markets analyzed, findings showed that there are lower percentages of women in top editorial roles than women working as journalists.

A Special Thank You to the Sponsors of the Washington Women in Journalism Awards

National Retail Federation, American Beverage Association, American Council of Life Insurers, Alibaba Group, American Petroleum InstituteDeltaJohnson & Johnson, PhRMA, Southern Company, Toyota and U.S. Chamber of Commerce