Barbara Walters and Her Forever Impact
After a profound career in journalism that defined a generation, at 93 years old, Barbara Walters leaves us with her legacy. A story of empowerment fueled by hard work and a prominent female stamp on history.
This is what I tell, especially young women, fight the big fights. Don’t fight the little fight… Be the first one in, be the last one out. Do your homework, choose your battles. Don’t whine, and don’t be the one who complains about everything. Fight the big fight.Barbara Walters
A Go-Getter & Master of Interviews
The “Today Show” journalist is famous for taking part in history’s most important interviews. Moments that will continuously be viewed as examples of the trade.
Having the strength to ask questions no one would dream of or of joining people thought to be non-interviewable. Walters could bring the interviewee to their breaking point, making many cry on national television. The emotion and sincerity felt through the small screen with each interview she held.
Her beginning in television, from the “Today” show on NBC to 20/20 on ABC, and later on creating “The View,” shows her complete work and her drive to always continue to break through barriers. May it be with difficult co-hosts in her early years or for the salary she fought hard to get and maintain, one that made her the first host on television to have a larger salary than her colleagues.
The Boston-born trailblazer had early access to entertainment while working at the PR agency in charge of press releases and communication for NBC. After, she got her first big break by writing for CBS’s “The Morning Show” in 1955. Working through many networks, it was clear Barbara Walters’ impact was with personal interviews. Many of her contemporaries, such as Walter Cronkite, would compare themselves to her. It was a constant fight for the best interview, the most views, and the perfect interviewee.
From Presidents to Stars and Beyond…
Barbara is famous for covering presidential trips to India (1962) and to China (1972), Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin together in Jerusalem in 1977, Fidel Castro’s opinion on freedom of speech, and asking Vladimir Putin himself if he has ever killed a person. And let us not forget Monika Lewinsky’s piece that stopped 74 million Americans to stare at their television.
We can say there is no president from the past 6 governments that Barbara Walters did not interview. But entertainment names from Grace Kelly to Michael Jackson and The Kardashians, have also passed through the screen alongside our journalist.
A Career to Inspire
It is fascinating to look back on the many achievements of Walters and realize her work was never finished. Even after her retirement, she would appear on dedicated shows for “The View”. At the end of her career, she was happy to be known as the person viewers did not get sick of watching. Rather than depicting her as being always on. No one was ever done with Barbara Walters.
There are singular moments in history narrated by Walters, held firsthand by a woman in journalism and entertainment television.
During her career, Barbara Walters won both Peabody and Emmy awards, further validating the immense impact of her work. She inspired those who watched her every day on television to ask follow-up questions and to never be quiet. And most importantly, that women are also a reckoning force on screens.
Words by @madforyou_lhm
Feature Image: Barbara Walters in her office in 1980, New York (Photo by Lynn Gilbert)