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Breaking ground: Oklahoma women reporters to speak at roundtable discussion

By Heather Warlick, Staff Writer Modified: June 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm •  Published: June 10, 2014

Veteran journalist Vivian Vahlberg remembers in 1971 witnessing the National Press Club vote on whether it would change bylaws to allow female journalists to join the club. She had just broken into the industry as a Washington Bureau reporter for The Oklahoman.

“I watched the vote as they decided to admit us, and by that time, it had gotten awfully unfashionable for them not to admit women,” Vahlberg said. “The time had come.”

There were two votes that day. The other was whether to admit women to the press club’s bar and card room.

“Fortunately, they voted right on that one,” Vahlberg said.

Ten years later, Vahlberg became the first female president of the National Press Club.

Vahlberg is one of several prominent female Oklahoma journalists who will speak at a free roundtable conversation at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive.

The event is being held in conjunction with the screening of a deadCenter film festival premiere of “Quiet Philanthropist: The Edith Gaylord Story,” by Oklahoman Bryan Beasley. The documentary will be screened at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art following the roundtable at 5:30 p.m.

Edith Gaylord was the daughter of E.K. Gaylord, publisher of The Oklahoman. In 1942, Edith Gaylord was hired as a news staffer at The Associated Press. She was president of the National Women’s Press Club in 1944 and served as liaison between then-first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and the media. Her advocacy for women in journalism was strong and she served as a mentor to many other women in news, including Sue Hale.

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