A group of fierce ladies gathered in the Paley Center for Media final week to celebrate pioneering journalist Ruth Gruber, who turns 100-years-old in September.
Two-time Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener, journalist Ann Curry and author Naomi Wolf—all trailblazers in their very own right—joined Patricia Duff, the founder from the Typical Great, in honoring Gruber using the American Spirit Award.
Gruber, who was born in Brooklyn and attended NYU, earned a fellowship to study in Cologne, Germany and at age 20 became the world's youngest Ph.D (in German Philosophy, English Literature and Art History). Gruber wrote her dissertation on Virginia Woolf, with whom she corresponded extensively. Woolf's essay, A Space of One's Personal, inspired Gruber to challenge societal expectations of women's roles, and to turn out to be a writer.
When she returned towards the U.S., Gruber embarked on an astounding journey as a reporter for The New York Herald Tribune, throughout which she not just witnessed history but impacted it. Just a handful of years following the invention of flight, Gruber became the very first journalist—male or female—to fly in to the Soviet Arctic. She gained the trust of Interior Secretary Harold Ickes, who dispatched her to Alaska throughout Globe War II to report on relocation possibilities for returning soldiers.
Whilst a student in Germany, Gruber had witnessed Hitler's rallies and she became passionate about helping refugees from concentration camps relocate—undertaking a harmful mission for Ickes, to bring a thousand immigrants from Nazi territory to New York. Gruber's reports and photographs from the Exodus 1947 ship, which carried Holocaust survivors attempting to enter British-controlled Palestine, would turn out to be stuff of legend.
At 40, Gruber married, had two kids, and continued her profession. My mother would ask when I was going to settle down, stated Gruber. I usually stated I'd get married when I wanted to.
Following the screening of Ahead of Time, the documentary chronicling Gruber's life, Curry presented Gruber with her award. We asked Curry, the longtime host from the These days show (she is presently operating on a story about Gruber to run subsequent month), what lessons today's journalists can discover from Gruber.
Ruth reaffirms a basic concept, that to really empathize using the individuals you are interviewing is among the important methods to truly get the truth which you require to get a story, Curry told us. The dilemma is the fact that journalists are so focused on the five W's and H [who, what, when, exactly where, why and howthat they are not considering the human becoming. Half the time individuals speak to us when they are suffering and they are uncomfortable and vulnerable. Ruth emphasizes becoming mindful as to what it takes out of individuals to become interviewed by the press.
Ruth Gruber in 1931.
Young ladies can discover from her to by no means give up or take no for an answer, stated Curry. She's a woman who, even inside a time of rampant, systematic, seemingly intractable sexism, achieved a lot of firsts when ladies weren't supposed to achieve something.
We asked Wolf, the author from the groundbreaking 1991 book, The Beauty Myth, concerning the challenges that modern feminism faces. Dominant media pictures are nonetheless sexualized, stated Wolf, but I see ladies breaking ground in each region, all more than the globe. Young ladies might nonetheless really feel like they've to appear like a porn star within the bedroom, but that is not occupying the center of their lives; they are becoming prosecutors and physicians and advocates. And what is thrilling is how ladies within the creating globe are making new types of feminism, which I believe Western ladies ought to listen to, assistance and partner with. There is a brand new generation of young feminists that the media does not spend focus to.
Gruber stated that her guidance to young journalists is, Read, read, read; write, write, write. Rewrite 14 occasions if essential, till you get it precisely correct. Do not let rejection deter you.
Keener, effortlessly the coolest actor on the planet (Becoming John Malkovich, Capote), has exactly the same type of stunning totally free spirit as Gruber. It felt crazy that the very first time I'd heard about Ruth Gruber was when The Typical Great asked if I'd take part in their occasion honoring her, she stated. Her life story is 1 of an excellent patriot in our time.
The Typical Great, which presented the occasion, is an extraordinary, non-partisan organization that encourages civilized, unifying dialogue to bridge this nation's increasingly shrill political divisiveness, in an try to discover typical ground. Duff stated, Within the fullest measure from the greatness from the American Spirit, Ruth Gruber is courageous, deeply compassionate and fiercely independent. She bravely took on not just what she was known as to complete by her government, but what her conscience also compelled her to complete.
Gruber, who nonetheless wields her razor-sharp intellect in her every day writing and lives independently in her Central Park West apartment, told us that all of the ladies in her family members had lengthy lives, with her mother passing shortly prior to her personal 100th birthday.
We asked Gruber the secret to her lengthy, wholesome life: 4 simple words: By no means By no means By no means RETIRE!