Barbara Walters, Famous Broadcast Journalist, Dead at 93


Barbara Walters, famous broadcast journalist, passed away peacefully in her Manhattan home on Dec. 30, 2022.

Barbara Walters was the first female co-host on the American news and morning talk show called the Today show. She first joined the crew in the early 1960s as a writer and segment producer of women’s-interest stories. 

Alongside her position on the Today show, Walters was the executive producer of The View. The View is a television show that features a diverse panel of women who discuss “Hot Topics” and controversial ideas. 

As Walters made her way in front of the big camera, her face became a staple on screen. She was able to get her name out there as the highest-profile female journalist and the highest-paid news anchor in television history at the time.

It’s very influential for women to see other women in a position of power based solely on their talent. Walters was that icon that many women in the news used as encouragement to fight for the position they want to be in.

Stella Vesselinov, senior, was interested in journalism during her junior year at West and joined the Journalism I class so she could dive deeper into the career. She sees Barbara Walters as an influential woman that initiated her journalism career.

“Barbara Walters was someone who paved the way for many women journalists not by just her work, but by her leadership. She provided detailed advice to women who were able to use and share their experiences with the next set of journalists,” said Vesselinov

Vesselinov loves how Walters’ impact is being imprinted on every type of woman that wants to pursue any career. 

“What I like is that she’s not just a role model for journalists, but she’s just a role model for all women. She built her way up in a male dominated career and even ended up making more than they did at the time, simply because she was just being herself and sharing her truth,” said Vesselinov.

Women in many different areas of their lives can appreciate other women role models simply because they share the statement of being women.

Brooke Hilton, senior, is not a journalist nor does she have any interest in pursuing a career in the journalism world. Although, she’s familiar with Walters as she’s seen her many appearances on The View.

“Having women in the media is amazing for young women like me because I have other women to look up to that are well respected and known,” said Hilton.

Hilton uses powerful women as a vision of what she hopes to share with other young women in future generations. The exposure to women in the media can be used as a fuel that ignites determination in the lives of younger generations in any path they choose.

“I hope to be a film director and direct movies about women in power and to inspire young women as she [Barbara Walters] did to be independent and chase their dreams no matter the circumstances,” said Hilton.

Walters retired fully from broadcasting in 2016, but was semi-retired and only taking on special projects after she left the ABC news show 20/20 in 2004, so she may not be as well known with students today as she was during the 1970’s through 1990’s.

However, women in our generation have the pleasure of seeing her impact through other women that have followed in her footsteps.

While Kristine Matthews, senior, doesn’t know much about Barbara Walters specifically, she is able to recognize Walters’ impact as an inspiration for younger generations of women. 

“I think the biggest challenge facing young women today is the fear of getting their voices out there. With women already in the media and more joining, young generations will see that it is possible to do so and be more successful than they expected,” said Matthews.