On Tuesday, following news that Cokie Roberts died at 75, a wave of condolences flooded social media — particularly from women in the industry who regarded Roberts as a role model when the voice and names of men crowded newspaper bylines and radio waves.
The Emmy-winning mainstay reporter for NPR and ABC News started her career in the 1960s. ABC reported her death.
“Sad news about one of our founding mothers,” wrote Michele Kelemen, an NPR correspondent who has been with the outlet for more than two decades.
For many women, Roberts was the reason they pursued a career in journalism.
“A legend has passed,” NPR’s Rachel Martin said. “When I was in high school I wanted to grow up to be Cokie Roberts.”
“Cokie Roberts inspired me to become a journalist (and go to Wellesley),” Washington Post reporter Heather Long said on Twitter. “She was one of the few women on Sunday talks shows when I was growing up. She was always smart, fierce and insightful.”
Farrah Fazal, an investigative reporter, said the death of Roberts was a “complete, irreplaceable loss” to the field. “She was a pioneer, a mentor, committed to integrity and truth, a driving force in trying to change the system that held women back.”
Roberts joined CBS on the radio as a foreign correspondent soon after her 1964 graduation from Wellesley College. She covered Capitol Hill for NPR beginning in 1978, when she reported on the Panama Canal Treaty, then served as congressional correspondent for more than a decade, according to ABC News.
Harrison Smith contributed to this report.