Barbara Walters held many titles throughout her career — journalist, writer, producer, activist, mother, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. There is no singular word that can sum up the life of Barbara Walters, the impact she had on the landscape of journalism and the legacy that she has left behind. But if there is one word that might do her justice, it would be “trailblazer.”
Barbara Walters paved the way for women in journalism, beginning with her first big break at NBC’s “The Today Show.” Walters was hired in 1961 where she worked as a researcher and writer. Within a year of working at NBC, she became a prominent reporter at the network. She had made a name for herself writing and editing her own reports and interviews. After Frank McGee — host of NBC’s morning show “Not for Women Only” — passed away in 1974, Walters officially took over as a co-host. This made her the first female co-host of any U.S. news program. During her 64-year-long career, Walters would go on to host other popular, respected news programs such as “Today,” “ABC Evening News,” and “20/20.” Her endeavor at “ABC Evening News” in 1976 made her the first female news anchor in the U.S. One of Walters’ biggest career moments was the creation of her daytime talk show, “The View,” which remains among America’s most watched news programs to this day.
Always asking hard-hitting questions and getting the inside scoop, Walters was famous for her trademark interview style. She sat down with many distinguished and notable figures, including every elected president during her career and some of the most infamously controversial people in the world. Interviewees included, but were not limited to, Monica Lewinski, Vladimir Putin, the Kardashian family, Michael Jackson, Anna Wintour and Margraret Thatcher.
During her most watched interview ever, Walters asked the defamed Monica Lewinsky, “What will you tell your children when you have them?” Lewinsky replied, “Mommy made a big mistake.” In another interview that remains a famous video clip in popular culture, Walters told the Kardashian sisters, “You are all often described as famous for being famous. You don’t really act, you don’t sing, you don’t dance, you don’t have any — forgive me — any talent.”
Barbara Walters was an unapologetic journalist who took the world by surprise several times over. She is highly respected in her field and highly valued by viewers everywhere. Even though she is gone now, the mark she left on the field of journalism is immortal. Thank you for everything, Barbara.