Letters to the Editor

10/15 Letters: Still “waiting for firsts” in gender equality

Regarding “Disdain for women who cover sports an old story” (Oct. 8): This is just the latest chapter in women journalists’ attempts to be treated equally. And their struggle is especially tough in broadcasting. When I attended Columbia University’s School of Journalism in 1960, the official network line went, “women’s voices lack authority.” The only national beat reporter at NBC News at the time was Pauline Frederick at the United Nations. And a (male) friend at NBC later told me the only reason Frederick had that assignment was that no man wanted it. This was in the era when the National Press Club in Washington consigned women journalists to the balcony at events featuring guest speakers.

As for my Columbia class, we had about 80 members. Only a dozen were women, and four had been sent by their editors in Helsinki, Tokyo, Buenas Aires and Bombay (as it was then called). Two were from the Pentagon’s press office. None were in broadcasting. There were no full-time females on the faculty, but our adjunct instructors did include role models like Judith Crist of the late Herald Tribune and Betsy Wade, a top copy editor at the Times. In 1969 the Denver Post made me “the first woman editorial writer on a major western daily.” What took them so long? And why are we still waiting for so many other “firsts?”

Barbara Haddad Ryan


Concern for Shuford

Regarding “After disability check glitch, state wants its money back” (Sept. 17): We are writing on behalf of Carla Shuford in reference to an overpayment of her benefit checks from the State of North Carolina for the last seven years. An error was discovered at this late date and now the overpayment of approximately $19,000 must be reimbursed. This is not an isolated case as about 60 people are in the same situation due to a mistaken calculation by North Carolina officials.

Carla is a high school classmate of ours dating back to the 1960s and we are concerned about the additional financial burden that has suddenly been imposed on her. In true Carla form, she is very upset over the situation that affects the other 60 people along with her own position. Carla has worked hard all of her life and faced many obstacles that most of us cannot even imagine. She has been volunteering for many years; always putting others ahead of herself. She is an advocate for animals and supports many causes. Carla is a beacon of light to the entire class and we are dismayed over her facing the situation of correcting the financial mistake made by the officials in charge of disability assistance checks in North Carolina. We care about Carla and love her with all of our hearts.

Suellen Kaltenbacher

Signed by: Tunia Hyland, Alice Zuber, Penny Gahan, Fran Merriman, Helen Frey, Marian Oliver Rich, Vicki Dawes, Anne Tyler, Cecily Sharp-Whitehill and Nancy Ringold