As moviegoers anxiously await the sequel to comedy classic Anchorman, the Newseum in Washington DC has opened an exhibit dedicated to the film. Some of the focus is on women breaking into journalism during the 70s and 80s.
Bianca Martinez sat down with our very own Barbara Ciara who talked about her early struggles as a woman in a male dominated business.
For news women like Barbara, breaking in was a reality.
“So the doors were opening but they were forced open so the women, and we were called girls back then, weren’t treated very well,” says Barbara. “In those days, you were basically told to suck it up and take it or get out.”
Drawing inspiration from her mother, Georgia, who was one of the first female shop stewards in Pittsburgh, Barbara took on the man’s world of journalism at just 19 years old.
“There was a gentleman [who would] pull our bra straps and snap them. Basically telling us we were nothing but a bunch of boobs,” says Barbara.
It’s a scene you can almost picture in Anchorman.
A lot of these things did happen and they were not funny situations.
“I had a male colleague when I was struggling. He said ‘Barbara, news coming from a woman’s mouth sounds like gossip,’” Barbara recalls.
What has been one of the most poignant moments for you?
“It was the Walker Spy story. They put another reporter, a male, on it. It broke my heart. It literally broke my heart. And it was one of those moments, was it my ability or was it my gender,” says Barbara.
“I yelled and screamed and there were layers to the story. The big picture was taken on the steps of the courthouse with all of the journalists. So yeah it hurts me today. I remember that picture. I wasn’t a part of that picture,” Barbara says.
Have there ever been times when you just want to walk away?
“Never in a million years did I think about walking away. I am not built that way,” says Barbara.
So instead, she charged ahead and those men learned to accept a new concept for news.
Now Barbara Ciara is seen as a pioneer. She’s a legend for today’s ladies of news to look up to.
Now a lot of times, it is Barbara providing the laughs.
“There is an expression, ‘Joy comes in the morning.’ Always something that you don’t get if you don’t try again. You won’t get that joy in the morning,” says Barbara.