Women Reporters are bringing hope to the future of journalism


Graphic credit: Josie Morrow

Three women journalists are working to bring about change in the journalism industry.

Josie Morrow, Staff Writer

Some may say that journalism is dying. Only 34% of Americans believe that the mass media reports the news “fully, accurately and fairly”, leading to an increase in partisan divides.
However, not all hope is lost. Three notable women journalists are among those fighting to bring back objectivity to journalism coverage. Lucia Walinchus, Danae King and Cara Owsley are three journalists who represent different areas of media, but each are equally committed to returning the profession to its original integrity.

Lucia Walinchus

Used with express permission by Lucia Walinchus.

Lucia Walinchus is a contracted freelancer for both the New York Times and the Washington Post and she has been a guest speaker on CNN. She has won numerous awards in journalism, and she now serves as the Executive Director of Eye On Ohio, which centers around in-depth, underreported and high-impact journalism that promotes the public good.
As her cat purred quietly in the background, Walinchus described how she first became interested in journalism as a highschool student.
“My guidance counselor said, ‘So how much do you know about journalism?’ and I thought, ‘Wow, that sounds like a disease,’ but I loved it and stuck with it,’” Walinchus said via a phone interview.
Since then, Walinchus earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism as well as a graduate degree in law.
“I thought it would be something good that would help me to write about stuff, and it’s something that I use absolutely every day,” Walinchus said.
After several years working for traditional news outlets, her career took a sharp turn. She became more involved in nonprofit journalism, something that she continues to be extremely passionate about.
“I think the media industry itself has changed quite a bit,” Walinchus said. “There’s essentially a monopoly on a lot of journalism that is dependent on ads, which reward bad information over good information. There’s a lot of hot takes that go viral, which gets those people more clicks for their bank accounts.”
Walinchus sees a need for diversity in journalism.
“When women are not equally represented in journalism, then articles are not written about things that women care about,” Walinchus said.
Walinchus said she puts an emphasis on the importance of media, especially local publications.
“When local newspapers leave an area, fewer people vote,” Walinchus said. “The people who do vote, vote less, [and] often fewer people run for local office. All the things that you would think would happen when no one knows what’s going on.”
In a world full of fake news and clickbait, journalists like Lucia Walinchus are pushing the media to remain unbiased.

Danae King

Used with express permission by Danae King.

Danae King currently works as an underserved communities reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, a unique role that brings light to commonly overlooked people in central Ohio. Her stories range from talking to transgender veterans, to musically gifted autistic teens, to an Ohio State professor who fought for equality.
“I really like to focus on telling individual people’s stories and putting a face on issues,” King said in a phone interview.
King also became interested in journalism when she was a high school student.
“I liked to read. I would read everywhere, like at baseball games and restaurants, so I decided that I wanted to be a writer,” King said. “In high school, I joined the student newspaper because I had a natural curiosity and loved to talk to people. I now love what I do, even though it was kind of by accident, it all worked out in the end.”
After deciding to pursue journalism as her career, she worked for Lima News, where she wrote one of the most significant articles of her career.
“I wrote a series of stories on infant mortality and long-acting reversible contraception and how they affected women,” King said. “I think those articles were really pivotal for me, because I began to see how much of a difference journalism can make. Especially women’s perspectives in journalism. It’s long been a male dominated field…especially at higher ranks.”
King highlights why it is so important to have women’s voices in journalism because of articles like this.
“I had the power to bring to light a story on infant mortality and contraception. Some would consider these only women’s issues, even though they impact an entire family unit,” King said.
However, King’s career as a journalist has not been without major drawbacks.
“Previously, the gender pay gap has been an issue no matter where I’ve worked,” King said. “It’s improved, but I think that probably affects women no matter what industry they’re in. It’s definitely a real problem in journalism as well. It’s held me back, in a way, and there have been times in my career where I had to consider if I was going to be able to do this long term.”
Even when her ability to live off of her career came in jeopardy, King never stopped compromising her passion.
“I really advocated for myself and it’s worked, but I think it’s been a big hurdle,” King said.
Even with that major hurdle, King said she turns to her colleagues who have been beneficial to her time as a journalist.
“I think it’s important to find the people who are rooting for you and have your best interest in mind, those who want to make sure there’s a diversity of voices in journalism,” King said.
King’s unique coverage at the Columbus Dispatch is promoting journalism without prejudice today. She is breaking down barriers for who and what should be included in the media.

Cara Owsley

Used with express permission by Cara Owsley

Cara Owsley currently works as the director of Photography and Photojournalism at the Cincinnati Enquirer. She was a photojournalist and photo editor for the Pulitzer Prize winning story “Seven Days of Heroin,” which highlighted the heroin epidemic in Cincinnati. Her photo contributions brought a humanistic light to a commonly overlooked and misunderstood issue.
Even with these accomplishments, Owsley still remembers the article that really changed her perspective on journalism.
“It was a story I found by overhearing a conversation at church,” Owsley said. “There was a young girl who was battling bone cancer and a youth pastor at my church was talking about trying to renovate her bedroom to make it wheelchair accessible. I then photographed her home and showed how she had to navigate the house, with a walker or wheelchair and how the house was not fit for that.”
“When that article was published, we were contacted by a nonprofit that helps individuals who are in need, and it was a perfect fit for this family,” Owsley said. “So long story short, we connected them with the people who helped them with the renovations. They tore the house down and built them a brand new house!”
These are the situations that inspire Owsley to continue to pursue photojournalism.
“Being able to help change somebody’s life for the better, because of something that I photographed and that my colleagues wrote about, was just very, very powerful,” Owsley said.
Through the use of photography, Owsley was able to bring light to an issue that would have been overlooked. She is committed to bringing attention to important issues in her local community.
Owsley also had to overcome some significant hurdles in her career because of her race and gender identity.
“People in the newsroom were saying the only reason I got the job was because I was black….I didn’t buckle under that pressure. It really drove me to work harder to prove that I belong,” she said.
Owsley recounted what it was like to contribute to a Pulitzer Prize winning story about a challenging topic.
“One of the most difficult moments was taking a picture of a woman holding a baby in the ‘Seven Days of Heroin,’” Owsley said. “We interviewed her and got this great video of her new baby. She told us she had been clean and stopped using drugs when she found out she was pregnant [with her now child]. One day we got a call saying her obituary was in our paper, and she had overdosed and died.”
“I had all this video of her talking about her progress and what her hopes and dreams were—it was very happy,” Owsley said. “I then remembered the lead reporter on this, saying, ‘Okay, this is what this epidemic is.’”
Owsley said she would never be able to do this kind of reporting without the support of her family.
“Someone who has always believed in my career was my parents,” she said. “Even though what I wanted wasn’t a typical career, they told me, ‘If you want to do this, we will support you,’ and that was huge.”
Recently, Owsley has covered subjects ranging from the East Palestine Train derailment to the Cincinnati Bengals. No matter the setting, she is most passionate about conveying the emotion of the people involved. She is helping to restore integrity to journalism through her accurate portrayal of human stories.


Some say journalism is dying, however, not all hope is lost. In a world full of disinformation, partisanship, and sensationalist journalism, three women are among those who are working to change the status quo and fighting to restore journalistic integrity.