Barbara Walters: A legendary name in journalism

The journalism world lost an important figure last December, but her legacy will live on for decades to come.


Augie Manzano, Opinion Editor

On December 30, 2021, the newspaper and journalism world lost a legendary and influential figure. Her name is Barbara Walters and she lived to be 93 years old.

Born in Boston on September 15, 1929, she developed a passion for writing and journalism, and in 1959 she would turn that passion into something so special and influential that her name would be known for decades to come.

Barbara Walters first started her journalism career at WNBT-TV, now known as WNBC, writing press releases for the news outlet. However, this did not last long as she would quit after TV host Igor Cassini would try to pressure her into marrying him, which resulted in an altercation between the two. After this, she found another job at CBS as a researcher and writer for the program.

With her new job, she would work her way up the ladder and would become the outlet’s “Today Girl” handling lighter assignments and the weather. Whether she knew it at first or not, she had now become an influential icon for women around the world.

Before this, women were not believed to be good enough to deliver tough and serious news by the general public. But now that people were seeing Walters as a reporter delivering the news, they were starting to think differently. And in 1971, Barbara Walters would host her own NBC affiliate show called, Not Only For Women. Walters would not only be the host of her own show, but she would eventually become co-host of The Today Show, making her the first female co-host of a U.S. news program ever.

Walters would go on to have a lot of success in this field of work. She would cover many news stories and topics that are important in American history, but also in world history. Walters would find herself covering news about presidential inaugurations as well as covering important news during and after the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001. Not only that, but she would be the moderator for the final two debates between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford during their presidential campaigns. She would no longer find herself just being a journalist and news reporter, but someone who was doing things that most people could only dream of doing.

Barbara was well known for her way of interviewing people. She has interviewed many world leaders and icons around the world, such as Egypt’s president, Anwar Al Sadat, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Vladamir Putin, Jiang Xemin from China, Fidel Castro, Michael Jackson and many others. Her tactics were very easygoing and non-stressful. She understood that in order to get better answers and better understanding from the ones she was interviewing, she had to make them feel like they were having an actual conversation with a regular person, and that was her secret to successful interviews.

Walters would leave behind an inspiring legacy with many nominations for awards for her work in journalism, including nominations for Best Talk Show Host many years back to back to back. Barbara would win three awards. In 1985, She would win the Paul White Award, two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 1975 and in 2009, as well as an Award for Best Talk Show in 2003.

Barbara Walters has left her name as a journalism icon, a major inspiration, and an influential figure for many generations of America, and will forever be known as a successful talk show host, interviewer, news writer/reporter, and American icon.