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Mightier than the Sword: 10 Women Journalists Making a Difference

In the time of 24-hour news channels and instant updates on Twitter, it might seem that hard-hitting, meaningful journalism has gone by the wayside. However, modern broadcasters and social media mavens still rely on the hard work of expert print and online journalists for their information. As women continue to make strides in journalism, more and more of America’s most important reporters and editors are women. Whether they’re diving deep into a promising lead or directing their staff from the editor’s chair, these 10 women journalists are changing the face of the business for the better.

1. Carol Duhurst Leonnig

A reporter for the Washington Post, Leonnig has documented some of the biggest stories of the 21st century. Early in her career, she delivered searing reports on the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. She also detailed the saga of the Obama administration, which ignored all warning signs that solar panel manufacturer Solyndra was about to sink. She has won multiple Pulitzer prizes for her pieces on NSA spying, the failures of the US Secret Service, and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

2. Samhita Mukhopadhyay

Feminist Bengali author Samhita Mukhopadhyay got her start in the online world of blogging. She rose to fame as editor and writer for the popular Feministing blog, where she frankly discussed issues like race and sexism. More recently, she brought her brand of feminism to Teen Vogue, where she was appointed the executive editor.

3. Carol Marbin Miller

A Florida journalist on a mission, Marbin Miller has dedicated her career to exposing the ills in the state’s social services sector. From hard-hitting pieces on the abuses in the Florida Department of Children and Families to a shocking expose of Florida’s assisted living facilities, Marbin Miller has detailed multiple stories that have prompted a massive reworking of state laws. She has received several awards for her work, as well as being named a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

4. Atossa Araxia Abrahamian

A citizen of the world, Swiss-American journalist Atossa Araxia Abrahamian has a unique insight into the lives of desperate stateless persons worldwide. With her inventive reporting and thorough research, she uncovered an underground market in the United Arab Emirates where marginalized individuals receive citizenship from small countries while being refused recognition in their homeland.

5. Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah

A former teacher and graduate of Columbia University, Ghansah won accolades for profiling famous black American women like Toni Morrison and Missy Elliott. She has written for a wide variety of publications, including Rolling Stone and the New York Times magazine. However, it was her in-depth work covering the aftermath of the tragic church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, that cemented her reputation and earned her a Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.

6. Leonora LaPeter Anton

Over her long career, Leonora LaPeter Anton has worked at a variety of Southern newspapers, including the Tallahassee Democrat and the Savannah Morning News. However, it was her work for the Tampa Bay Times that won her accolades in the journalism community. Often focusing on forgotten communities like the mentally ill and ex-cons, Anton became known for giving a voice to the voiceless. Her investigative work on the poor conditions in Florida’s mental health treatment facilities earned her a Pulitzer in 2016.

7. Naveena Sadasivam

One of American journalism’s rising stars, Sadasivam is a graduate of NYU’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) program. Using her background in chemical engineering, she has carved out a niche for herself at the Texas Observer, reporting on science and climate news. While working with a team of writers at ProPublica, she was named a Pulitzer finalist for her series on water scarcity in the Southwestern US.

8. Ziva Branstetter

An Oklahoma native, Branstetter has worked in every sector of journalism, from old-fashioned newspapers to online-only news websites. Focusing on local politics, Branstetter has worked hard to keep Oklahoman politicians honest with her unexpected leads and inside scoops. She single-handedly changed the state’s policy on capital punishment with her exposé of Clayton Lockett’s disastrous execution, a series that garnered her multiple awards.

9. Duaa Eldeib

Eldeib knew she wanted to be a journalist when she first began reporting in high school. As a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, she fulfilled her lifelong dream by focusing on the oppressed and the underserved people of Illinois. During her tenure at Chicago’s biggest newspaper, she has uncovered government corruption and problematic issues in the prison system. In 2015, she was part of an investigative team that won a Pulitzer for uncovering child abuse in the state’s residential treatment facilities.

10. Alia Malek

With her unique perspective as a Syrian-American, Malek has helped to clarify and explain the Syrian Civil War for American readers. A former civil rights lawyer, Malek won the coveted Hiett Prize in the Humanities in 2016, allowing her to pen The Home That Was Our Country, a popular nonfiction book depicting Syria before the civil war.

Whether they are analyzing a complicated conflict or revealing severe systemic abuses, these women journalists are changing the face of the field. They bring hidden stories and injustices to the attention of the public with a combination of hard work and eloquent prose. As non-traditional media rise to the forefront, these journalists prove that there is still a place in the modern world for thoughtful, thorough journalism.