IPR is featuring research and some of the many women pioneers in the communications industry in celebration of Women’s History Month

Katharine Graham was born in New York City in 1917. After graduating from the University of Chicago in 1938, Graham worked as a reporter for the San Francisco News. She then joined the editorial staff at The Washington Post, the newspaper her father had purchased in 1933.  

In 1946, Graham’s husband was appointed publisher of The Post, and the couple bought voting stock in the corporation. In 1963, Graham became president of The Washington Post following her husband’s death. She simultaneously worked in a publishing role at The Post from 1969 to 1979.

In 1971, Graham famously led The Post through its publication of the Pentagon Papers and investigation of the Watergate scandal, eventually making The Post one of the most influential newspapers in the U.S. She made the call to proceed with publication despite facing legal threats from the Nixon administration and pushback from her male colleagues. 

In 1972, Graham became CEO of The Washington Post Company, making her the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Graham remained CEO until 1991 and received a Pulitzer Prize for her autobiography, Personal History, in 1998. She died in 2001. 


Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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