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Christiane Amanpour: A Woman Making History

March 19, 2010

30 Women Making History In recognition of the 30th anniversary of Women’s History Month, Women’s Media Center is profiling 30 extraordinary women making history. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to support WMC Exclusives — every dollar raised will go directly toward hiring women writers to comment on major news stories and report topics often neglected by the mainstream media. Will you contribute $30? Click here to donate: or text WOMEN to 50555 to make a $10 donation. Christiane Amanpour: A Woman Making History by Tristin Aaron Like most Americans, I became aware of Christiane Amanpour during the Gulf War. I was a college student activist, deeply skeptical of mainstream media coverage. But as the now ubiquitous, then nascent 24-hour TV news cycle began to take hold, I noticed this brilliant and independent journalist in a sea of muddled thinkers. Since then, I have become a media junkie and professional, training women to do media and then pitching and placing stories for them. Through the years, Christiane’s work has remained exemplary and unique. She is a careful and serious thinker in a world and a medium that has consistently rewarded only celebrity, appearance, and the most facile grasp of facts. I joined the Women’s Media Center in July 2008, just a month after Christiane spoke on our panel at the Paley Center in NYC, “From Soundbites To Solutions; Bias, Punditry and the Press,” which was co-presented by The White House Project and the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. I remember my first week at work, watching the full video of her comments and just being inspired by of her commitment to excellence and her recognition of the far reaching impact of her work. Her recent interview show, “Amanpour” mixed sit downs with world leaders and coverage of important issues like child trafficking, Cuba’s world relations, turmoil in Nigeria, and more. As a woman who pitches out our progressive women to cable news, I know how hard it is to get stories like these covered. But time and again, Christiane has chosen to use her platform to tell incredible stories from around the world – stories that wouldn’t get told elsewhere. That’s the point we make at the WMC about the necessity of women in the media. It’s not just about representation; the fact is that when women are not decision makers in media, it has a deep impact on which stories are told, and from whose perspective. This is why we chose to honor Christiane at our first ever WMC Media Awards. And so today’s announcement that Christiane will host “This Week” is truly thrilling. The Sunday pundit shows are a staple in my home, just like they are in most political junkie households. We watch some and tape the rest. It’s the definitive hour of political journalism TV in the US. And as Media Matters has pointed out, it’s also among the most segregated hours of TV, with men outnumbering women 4 to 1 and whites outnumbering people of color nearly 7 to 1. But now we have a host who is a woman of Iranian descent. I believe and hope that when Christiane takes the helm of ABC’s “This Week” in August, it will be a game changer and new perspectives will start to break through. This is why I think Amanpour is great, and it's why she's making history – because she represents quality and achievement for women in media, something very close to my heart.