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Taking Their Place
A Documentary History of Women and Journalism

second edition

Maurine H. Beasley
University of Maryland

Sheila J. Gibbons
Communication Research Associates, Inc.

Taking Their Place
is an innovative, highly regarded history of U.S. women in journalism to the present time—told, in part, in their own words. It begins with Colonial-era women working in family-run print shops; shows women gaining public roles in the 1800s, publishing abolitionist and suffrage newspapers; and describes their struggles and achievements breaking into news reporting, war correspondence, political commentary, and broadcasting. Later chapters describe the rise of feminist journalism and challenges to media-industry employment and reporting practices.

The text is intertwined with a rich array of historical documents—first-hand materials that bring history to life. Among these are abolitionist and suffrage editorials; 19th-century descriptions of newspaper staff reactions to women in newsrooms; reports from the Russian Revolution and World War II; Katharine Graham's description of Watergate and the Washington Post; women reporters' descriptions of the challenges they faced in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War; oral history interviews; legal documents; and industry guidelines for avoiding sexism in news coverage.

The new edition is carefully updated to reflect current issues and events. Expanded commentary and new illustrations enhance the reader's sense of context and connections.


More than sixty historical documents illustrate women's vital role in U.S. journalism. Among these are:

  • First-person articles by some of the best-known and most fearless women in journalism history.
  • First-hand accounts of struggles against gender and racial discrimination.
  • Women journalists' reports of major events around the world.
  • Documents illustrating the evolution of traditional women's magazines and the rise of a feminist press.
  • Materials on alternative women's media and women's challenges to mainstream media.
  • Reports on recent efforts to change media coverage of women.

Please see the preface and the table of contents for more information on these features.

To read the preface, please click on this text line.

To see the table of contents, please click on this text line.


  • New, five-part division and revised organization highlight historical progression of women in journalism.
  • An introduction to each major part of the book and expanded commentary throughout the text enhance readers' understanding of historical contexts and connections.
  • Expanded selection of documents illustrates more issues of women in journalism-among them, women and public affairs, women war correspondents, women and racial issues, minority women in the press, and career issues in the media industry and professional organizations.
  • Illustrations—drawings and photographs of 18 women journalists—provide visual stimulation and help bring history alive.
  • Timeline helps students grasp the overall progress and context of women's advancement in journalism.
  • Expanded "Additional Resources" section, including an array of books, essays, and web sites, guides further research.


"Taking Their Place is a goldmine of herstory by two very credible and respected writers and editors about women's issues in journalism and mass communications who know what they are doing and keep doing it well.... The revision is both substantial and exciting. You can't get what they do anywhere else."
Ramona Rush
University of Kentucky

"The use of primary documents is a vital component to the text and makes it so imperative. The students are able to actually read and understand the writing of women who came before them."
Tracy Gottlieb
Seton Hall University

"The authors have included copious notes that are a treasure trove of information for students wishing to study more about the woman, the history of the times, the woman's publication, etc."
Mary Perpich
South Dakota State University

"Taking Their Place provides an overall view of the issues that have faced and continue to face women working in the journalistic world. I also applaud the fact that the book makes a major effort to include women of color."
Rodger Streitmatter
American University

"This really is an essential book for journalism education."
Richard Lee
South Dakota State University


The first edition of this book was named an Outstanding Title by Choice (a publication of the Association of College & Research Libraries).

The second edition received the Texty Award for textbook excellence from the Text and Academic Authors Association.

Reviewed in Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, Winter 2006; American Journalism, Spring 2004; Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Spring 2003; and on the web site for the International Women's Media Foundation.


Maurine H. Beasley is professor of journalism at the University of Maryland. She holds bachelor's degrees in history and journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in American civilization from George Washington University. She is a past president of both the American Journalism Historians Association and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

This is the eighth book she has written, edited or co-authored/edited pertaining to the history of women in journalism. A previous co-edited book, The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia (Greenwood), received an Editor's Choice Award from Booklist, the journal of the American Library Association. Her honors include the Founders Distinguished Senior Scholar Award from the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. Beasley is a former staff writer for The Kansas City Star and The Washington Post.

In 2008, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication presented her with the Eleanor Blum Distinguished Service to Research Award for her career of scholarship in mass communication. In presenting the award, the organization also described Taking Their Place "a critical contribution to journalism history."

Sheila J. Gibbons has extensive experience in journalism, corporate communication, public relations and strategic communication planning. She has a bachelor's degree in political science from the State University of New York at Albany and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. She is vice president of Communication Research Associates, Inc., and editor of the quarterly newsletter Media Report to Women, of which Communication Research Associates is the publisher.

She has written extensively on women and media as well as on general communication issues. She is co-author of Exploring Mass Media for a Changing World (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates). She has edited a special-market women's magazine, worked as a news editor at Gannett New Media and served as director of public affairs for Gannett Co., Inc., one of the largest diversified news and information companies in the United States.



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