The Norman Transcript

Columns

June 14, 2014

Oklahoma has its share of pioneer women journalists

(Continued)

NORMAN —

She got a shot at the news anchor’s seat but station management wasn’t sure it would last and how viewers would react. She banked her paycheck and lived off her husband’s salary during the early weeks.

Jennifer Reynolds got her journalism break while working as a secretary for a campus radio station at OSU. She thought she could do a better job than the male student who was on the air one day. The station’s manager gave her a chance. “For the first time in my life I was happy,” she said.

She worked in radio before moving over to Capitol reporting and then anchoring television news in Oklahoma City.

“I always felt to some extent that it was a little easier for me. The discrimination that I experienced was mostly while I was a secretary,” she said.

———

Pam Olson wrote for her church newsletter and then local newspapers while still in Midwest City High School. She credits former Oklahoma Journal editor John Clabes for encouraging her to become a journalist. At OU, she got the television bug and studied under Bruce Hinson and Ned Hockman.

Like Cavanaugh, she had the skills and drive at a time when her station had an opening. She was Oklahoma City’s first prime time female news anchor and later went to CBS where she covered the southeastern United States. In Washington for CNN, she covered the White House and later Congress.

“I was very much in the right place at the right time,” she said.

Olson said she recalls local television personalities Ida B., Lola Hall and Miss Fran. Ida Blackburn was in the audience Friday and reluctantly stood to acknowledge the applause. “Each of them added something to the fabric of life and inspired me,” Olson said.

She said it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the state produced a lot of women pioneers. In the early days women were challenged to take on many tasks far beyond the traditional roles of child rearing, cooking and education.

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