The Revolution of Journalism

It is a great privilege to be honored by Washington Women in Journalism. I am humbled and gratified to be included in this esteemed group.

A great deal has changed since I began reporting in Washington for NBC News more than forty years ago.

Journalism has, of course, been transformed by the digital revolution, vastly expanding our reach, but also reducing our attention spans to nanoseconds. It has dramatically altered long-standing traditions of news-gathering. We have to be careful to recalibrate our editorial decision-making accordingly: not every utterance or tweet is worthy of being labelled “breaking news.”

But an even more profound revolution is in the very composition of the Washington press corps. The old boy’s network on the 1972 campaign that Timothy Crouse chronicled in “The Boys on the Bus” is no more. NBC’s News’ campaign team in 2016 of Hallie Jackson, Katy Tur, Kristen Welker, Kasie Hunt and me – yes, along with an occasional male colleague – was a breakthrough for our gender. My generation of women colleagues – Lesley Stahl, Judy Woodruff, and Ann Compton among the White House network correspondents –  were at times a lonely band of sisters, often encountering misogynistic gibes, as well as #MeToo challenges, as we juggled family and careers. Now, the press corps is far more balanced by gender, race, sexual identity, and ethnicity. The diversification of the men and women covering the White House, State Department, Pentagon and the cabinet agencies brings new insights and depth to our newsrooms.

At NBC News, our editors are women, as are the executive producers of both Nightly News and TODAY. So are our senior vice presidents in charge of special programming, MSNBC dayside programming, and political coverage. These women represent a range of backgrounds and sensibilities, creating a new atmosphere of teamwork and collegiality that would have been unimaginable decades ago. We, in turn, have an obligation to mentor the next generations of news women who follow.  Whether in Congress, journalism, or –  eventually – the White House, women bring special talents to the game. We are all the better for it.

Andrea Mitchell is NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent and host of MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. Andrea is the recipient of the 2019 Washington Women in Journalism Lifetime Achievement Award.