‘It seems so degrading now, but…’

Bonnie Miller Rubin

The Chicago Tribune’s Bonnie Miller Rubin has a great piece today about being hired by the Davenport Times-Democrat in 1973, and being introduced to readers by the editor as a “pert young miss” who will be covering sports. (It was Sports Lite, actually; she did stories on the lives of coaches’ wives, trendy workout fashions and what makes for a good cheerleader.) “Please no special treatment for her just because she’s a member of the fairer sex,” her boss wrote in his new-reporter introduction.

It seems so degrading now, but it was common for those of us in that first large wave of women to transform the newspaper business.

* A female sports reporter looks back at her hiring in 1973

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  1. Every once in a while a reporter comes along who can capture readers through a style, familiarity and voice that leaves them awaiting the next time they can read another story written by that reporter. Over the years, spotting a Bonnie Miller-Rubin byline in the Tribune meant finding a way to grab some extra reading time in the morning by letting the kids sleep a little longer, taking the next bus instead, or skipping that third cup of coffee in order to catch up with an old knowledgeable friend. Whether a front page breaking news story, on-going issue coverage, or lighter newsy fare, Bonnie’s insightful reporting has become synonymous with the Tribune, and her style the epitome of solid Chicago journalism. I worked indirectly with Bonnie over nearly two decades in various public relations positions. Long before I was “pitching” Bonnie, I was a fan and follower – alongside many others – who (still) looks forward to the trek to the bottom of the driveway each morning in my PJs to snag the Trib in hopes of reading Bonnie’s latest. What a blast to read Bonnie’s account of her early years of as the “first gal” sports reporter in Iowa … today Bonnie continues to transform newspaper reporting, but now as the “First Lady” of reporting at the Tribune.