Meg Greenfield

The Washington Post, United States.

“Both Democrats and Republicans try to court her, viewing her as one of the most important people – much less women – on the national political scene.” – Meryl Gordon wrote this in a profile story for Meg Greenfield (1931-1999). Gordon also described her as “witty, voraciously well-read, self-deprecatingly private”, and also “mighty”.

She began her journalism career with an analysis of Nixon’s campaign in 1961, working for Reporter Magazine. Soon she started to write about civil rights, federal defense programs and beyond. In 1965, she was named Reporter Magazine‘s Washington D.C. editor.

Three years later, when the magazine closed, she joined Washington Post as an editorial writer, and a year later in 1969, she moved up to become the deputy to editorial page editor.

In the 1970s, Greenfield received tremendous achievement in her career, while losing her beloved father and brother. She sought out great contributors for the Post’s editorial pages and also began writing her own column for Newsweek in the mid-70s. In 1978, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. In 1979, she became Editor of the Editorial Page for the Washington Post.

In the profile, Gordon talked about Greenfield as a boss who had “universally high marks for putting out an interesting and provocative product” in her years of running the editorial page, and who encouraged lively, open-ended discussions at editorial meeting.

Greenfield was known as a Washington D.C. insider, but also for living a reclusive life. She stayed away from television circuit, and “had no overweening desire to be recognized in supermarket checkout lines.” Katharine Graham, publisher of The Washington Post, described Greenfield as thoughtful and low-key.

Greenfield was a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and also held membership on the Pulitzer Board. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Smith College in 1952 with a B.A. in English and attended Cambridge University as a Fulbright Scholar for one year.

Meg Greenfield is the fifth IWMF Lifetime Achievement Award winner from the United States, following Helen Thomas (1995), Katharine Graham (1994), Nan Robertson (1993) and Barbara Walters (1992). Awardees after Greenfield include: Nancy Woodhull (1997), Bonnie Angelo (1998), Peggy Peterman (1999), Flora Lewis (2000), Colleen “Koky” Dishon (2001), Mary McGrory(2002), Belva Davis (2004), Molly Ivins (2005) and Edith Lederer (2008).

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