This episode features excerpts from an oral history conversation between Marjorie “Marj” Paxson and Jean Gaddy Wilson recorded in 2007 for the National Women and Media Collection’s 20th anniversary. Wilson talks with Paxson about her career in media, her role in the establishment of the National Women and Media Collection (NWMC), and her views on the state of journalism for women at the turn of the 21st century.
Marjorie "Marj" Paxson
Marjorie “Marj” Bowers Paxson was born on August 13, 1923, in Houston, Texas. She attended Rice University in Houston for two years, where she worked on the student newspaper, the Thresher. In 1942 Paxson transferred to the University of Missouri and graduated in 1944. While at the University of Missouri, she worked on the Columbia Missourian. Over the course of her journalistic career, she held various reporting, editorial, and publishing positions at the United Press, Associated Press, Houston Post, Houston Chronicle, Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times, Philadelphia Bulletin, Idaho Statesman, Chambersburg Public Opinion, and Muskogee Phoenix. Paxson was also named editor of Xilonen, an eight-page daily newspaper published for the United Nations World Conference for International Women’s Year held in Mexico City in 1975. She retired in 1986 and continued writing a column for the Muskogee Phoenix until 2004. In 1987, Paxson donated $50,000 and her personal papers to help establish the National Women and Media Collection at the Western Historical Manuscript Collection (now administered by the State Historical Society of Missouri). Marjorie “Marj” Paxson died on June 17, 2017.
Jean Gaddy Wilson
Jean Gaddy Wilson is a professional consultant who has spoken on five continents and who spent fourteen years as a Professor of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She is a co-author, along with Brian S. Brooks and James L. Pinson, of the journalism textbook Working With Words: A Handbook for Media Writers and Editors. She is the founder of New Directions for News, an innovation think tank, at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and her work led to the founding of the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) and the International Women’s Media Foundation. She co-founded the National Women and Media Collection (NWMC) with Gannett publisher Marj Paxson and the Western Historical Manuscript Collection (now affiliated with the State Historical Society of Missouri).