ChIPs is delighted to announce our 2021 Hall of Fame honoree, Nina Totenberg. Ms. Totenberg is NPR’s award-winning legal affairs correspondent and began her journalism career at a time when women were a rarity in the newsroom. Ms. Totenberg’s coverage of the Supreme Court and legal affairs has won her widespread recognition.
As a child, Ms. Totenberg was an avid reader and her female role model was Nancy Drew. In fact, the fictional female detective inspired her decision to become a journalist. She was drawn to the character’s fearlessness. “Nancy was fearless. I was anything but fearless, but Nancy’s successes gave me hope that in a world where men had all the fun jobs and the good jobs, I too would one day get one of those jobs.”
Ms. Totenberg enrolled in Boston University in 1962, majoring in journalism, but dropped out less than three years later because she was “bored with being a student and itching to be a reporter.”
Soon after, Ms. Totenberg began her journalism career at the Boston Record American, where she worked on the Women’s Page and learned breaking news journalism skills by volunteering for night duty as a “legman” covering everything from crime to school board meetings.
Those stories were what she wanted to do, not the stories on the Women’s page, which featured fashion and wedding stories, “but not like we read in the newspapers today,” she says. The fashion stories “were largely rewrites of press releases and the wedding stories were rewrites of what people sent in about the seeded pearl gowns and things like that.”TOTENBERG HOF ANNOUNCEMENT