Challenge On: Female Journalists Report from the Front Lines

A look at female journalists and 10 great stories they’ve lent their byline to.

Last week, shortly after the tragic death of New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid, journalism lost another one of its veterans: Marie Colvin, who died in a tragic bombing in the Syrian city of Homs. No stranger to violence, Colvin, who was a correspondent for the UK’s Sunday Times, spent her career reporting from war zones and conflict-ridden countries, even losing an eye during Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2001. As Colvin was almost certainly aware, female journalists face an additional suite of challenges and dilemmas when reporting from conflict areas and in unfamiliar territories, making their willingness to report from the front lines even more admirable.

Despite the pioneering careers of Colvin and others, journalism is still an industry dominated by men; nearly three quarters of stories in the New Yorker and The Atlantic in 2010 were written by men. So, to honor fine examples like Colvin, and to inspire more females to follow in her footsteps, here are ten remarkable stories penned by female journalists, including Colvin’s last dispatch from Syria. The writers of these stories ventured into places where few outsiders would dare – an all-male prison rodeo in Louisiana, the front-lines with anti-Gadaffi rebels, and the personal life and mind of the creator of Girls Gone Wild – to find what any good journalist covets: a compelling story.

Final Dispatch From Homs, the Battered City, Marie Colvin, The Times, February 2012

Hecho en America, Jeanne Marie Laskas, GQ, September 2011

Dispatch From Angola: Faith-Based Slavery in a Louisiana Prison, Liliana Segura, Color Lines, August 2011

Bruised but Defiant: Mona Eltahawy on Her Assault by Egyptian Security Forces, Mona Eltahawy, The Guardian, December 2011

What I Lost in Libya, Clare Morgana Gillis, The Atlantic, December 2011

Six Pregnancy Tests in One Week, Cienna Madrid, The Stranger, February 2011

Haiti Dispatch: Inside Sean Penn’s Tent City, Mac McClelland, Mother Jones, October 2010

Baby, Give Me a Kiss, Claire Hoffman, Los Angeles Times, August 2006

How Ethiopia’s Adoption Industry Dupes Families and Bullies Activists, Kathryn Joyce, The Atlantic, December 2011

Untangling Rebekah Brooks, Suzanna Andrews, Vanity Fair, February 2012

For more stories written by journalism’s leading ladies, check out the Lady Journos Tumblr account, which served as the source for a number of the articles above.

Image: Missourian

Rosie Spinks

Rosie Spinks is a freelance journalist from California with a degree in Environmental Studies. Her work has been published in publications including Sierra magazine, GOOD magazine, the Ecologist, and the Guardian Environment Network. A passion for travel, running barefoot outdoors, and reconnecting people to what is good dominates most of her thoughts. You can follow her writing on Twitter and Tumblr.