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100 years ago in Spokane: Journalism professor encourages newspapers to hire women

Miss Grade Edgington, a professor in the University of Washington’s department of journalism, told the Washington State Press Association convention in Spokanes that newspapers can and should hire women to ease the labor shortage caused by World War I, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on July 12, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archvies)
Miss Grade Edgington, a professor in the University of Washington’s department of journalism, told the Washington State Press Association convention in Spokanes that newspapers can and should hire women to ease the labor shortage caused by World War I, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on July 12, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archvies)

Miss Grade Edgington, a professor in the University of Washington’s department of journalism, said that newspapers can and should hire women to ease the wartime labor shortage.

She said that women can do almost any work required at a newspaper: linotype operator, compositor, press-feeder, or bindery worker. And, of course, reporter.

“Aside from being able in an emergency to do almost anything on a paper, there are some places in which a woman holds a real advantage over a man,” said Edgington, at the Washington State Press Association convention in Spokane. “… She can interview people, handle Liberty Loan drive stories, write up lectures and meetings, do copy-reading and edit telegraph (wire copy).”

Edgington said that the university trains many women journalists, but “many of them never get within sight of a newspaper office, although that is what they are trained for.”

She said in small towns, editors should look for women journalists from “the high school graduating class, the retired teacher class, the older girls who haven’t married or gone away to work and are willing to help out.”

From the press beat: Spokane was going all out to entertain the state’s newspaper editors gathered for the convention.

They were planning a midnight movie matinee at the Clemmer Theater, followed the next day by a tour of the Washington Motion Picture Corp. studios at Minnehaha, a swim at Natatorium Park and a “merry evening” of amusement rides, including the “circle swing” and the scenic railroad.