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Essential Pittsburgh: Celebrating Courageous Women in Journalism

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James McGrath Morris
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Journalist Ethel Payne was one of the first African Americans to be granted a White House press pass.

As Women’s History Month comes to a close we’ll celebrate the achievements of Ethel Payne. The pioneering journalist was the third African American in history given a White House press pass. In his new book Eye on the Struggle, our guest James McGrath Morris chronicles the life of Ethel Payne.

Morris talks about just one of the many legacies left by Ethel Payne:

" One of the legacies of her story is a constant reminder of who has a seat at the table makes an enormous difference. And as each group begins to gain rights-- gay rights, transsexual rights, Hispanic rights--whatever group. If those folks are not at the table, not asking questions of those in power... The groups who are there will fail to ask the questions that are significant for that audience." -- James McGrath Morris

Also in the hour, independent director and presenter at Pittsburgh's first Humanities Festival John Sayles  discusses the past and present of independent cinema. Then, the Director of International Media, Advocacy and Communications at Columbia University Anya Schiffrin visits City of Asylum and recalls a century of global investigative journalism.
 
 

The Present State of Independent Cinema

Over the weekend, Director John Sayles, along with his producing partner Maggie Renzie, appeared at Pittsburgh's inaugural Humanities Festival hosted by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Humanities Center at CMU. Often considered to be the Godfather of independent film, Sayles engaged in a discussion concerning the current state of independent cinema. He joins us to discuss his body of work and to share his views about the history of grassroots film-making and the direction it must take to achieve proper recognition.

Anya Schiffrin & 100 Years of Global Reporting

Anya Schiffrin is the director of the International Media, Advocacy and Communications specialization at Columbia University's School of International Affairs. Among other topics, she writes on journalism and development as well as the media in Africa and the extractive sector. Her latest book is "Global Muckraking: 100 Years of Investigative Reporting from Around the World." She is speaking tonight at City of Asylum, an event co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

Schriffin was surprised to find her assumption that investigative journalism was a thing of the past, was still living today:
 

“As I started to do the research for my book Global Muckrakers, I learned a few major things. One, is that there was investigative journalism happening all over the world over the last 150 years and that today those traditions still continue in many many places.”

Eyewitness to History

As Women’s History Month comes to a close we’ll celebrate the achievements of Ethel Payne. The pioneering journalist was the third African American in history given a White House press pass. In his new book Eye on the Struggle, our guest James McGrath Morris chronicles the life of Ethel Payne.

To leave a question or comment before or after the show, dial 412-256-8783. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here