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Pioneering journalist Lesley Stahl on breaking into a boys’ club

Lesley Stahl is an Emmy-winning journalist who currently reports for the CBS News program “60 Minutes.” During her long career, she has served as a White House correspondent and anchor of CBS’ “Face the Nation.” But she didn't have an easy start in the industry. For the NewsHour’s “That Moment When,” Stahl tells Steve Goldbloom what it was like to be the only woman in a 1970s Boston newsroom.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Lesley Stahl is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who reports for CBS News' "60 Minutes."

    During her long career, she has served as a White House correspondent and anchor of CBS' "Face the Nation."

    Tonight, for our Facebook watch "That Moment When," she talks about joining the boys club that had been network television news.

  • Lesley Stahl:

    When I was working as a local reporter in Boston, just starting out in 1972, affirmative action was just being instituted by companies all across the country.

    And so the three networks, I was told, were desperate to get women and minorities to put on camera. So I applied. CBS hired me, and I moved from Boston to Washington, I think, the next day.

  • Question:

    What did it feel like to break into a boys club at that time?

  • Lesley Stahl:

    After I had been at CBS for a couple of years, I was made one of the correspondence that, on election night, would sit in that drop.

    And I was very nervous. And the president of CBS News said: "No, no, it's very cozy. I'm going to take it to the set to see."

    And he said: "Now, you see right over there." And it said "Cronkite." "Roger sits there." It said "Mudd." "Dan sits here." It said "Rather."

    "And you will sit there." And it said "Female."

    Before my class — I call him the affirmative action babies of 1972 — women basically fundamentally covered what we call the soft issues. We covered health. We covered first ladies. We covered parties.

    But after affirmative action, we were covering the Pentagon, we were covering politics, the White House. Everything just washed over us.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Phenomenal journalist and pioneering Lesley Stahl.

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