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Radical Woman of the Day: Ann Compton

On this day in 1947, ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton was born. Starting her career in journalism with an internship at WDBJ TV in Roanoke, she became the CBS affiliate’s first female reporter after graduating from Hollins College. In 1973 she began reporting from New York for ABC News Radio, and in December 1974 the station assigned her to the White House.

Compton has covered seven presidents as a White House correspondent, starting with Gerald Ford in 1974, just weeks after the end of the Watergate scandal. She has twice served as a panelist during presidential debates, in 1988 and 1992, and in 2000 she wrote a daily column for as their chief Washington correspondent. On September 11, 2001, she remained on Air Force One with President George W. Bush when he decided not to return to Washington—the only broadcast reporter permitted to do so. Her coverage of that day’s events earned her the Silver Baton Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

From 2007–2008 Compton served as President of the White House Correspondents’ Association; she has also served on the advisory board of the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center and as chair of the governing board of the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association (1987–1988).