Passionate and hardworking, Edith Lederer fell in love with journalism in high school. She was the news editor of her high school paper, and she realized that reporting would allow her to explore her many interests. Ms. Lederer had always been a good student, but she hadn’t found her niche until that moment. She liked having the opportunity to research issues she cared about and share her findings with others. Ms. Lederer pursued this path, and ended up earning a Bachelor of Science with distinction from Cornell University in 1963 and a Master of Arts from Stanford University in 1964. That same year, she obtained her first position in the field with the Scientific Service in Washington, DC, and the rest is history.
Ms. Lederer quickly proved to be a valuable edition to the newsroom. She caught the attention of Doug Lovelace, the New York bureau chief of the Associated Press, and he hired her for a six-week assignment in 1966 that ended up becoming a 52-year journey. Another executive there, Wes Gallagher, also liked her work. He recommended she go to Vietnam, and she ended up being the first woman assigned to cover the War. Ms. Lederer spent a year in South Vietnam before she was transferred to Lima, Peru, where she became the chief of the Associate Press bureau. She then became the chief of Caribbean services in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a correspondent in Hong Kong, Nairobi, London, and Saudi Arabia. Now, Ms. Lederer is thriving as the chief correspondent of the United Nations. She has held the position since 1998. She also remains a member of the staff at the Associated Press.
The highlight of Ms. Lederer’s career is getting to talk to diplomats and government officials from all over the world. She also enjoys writing about all the major issues confronting the world today, from climate change to the fight for women’s equality. She herself played a major role in the latter. Early in her career, she faced a lot of opposition from people who didn’t think women were capable of covering war stories, disasters, or major breaking news. Ms. Lederer proved her doubters wrong and ended up paving the way for the younger generations. She shared her experiences in the book she co-authored, “War Torn.”
In recognition of her accomplishments, Ms. Lederer was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Sigma Delta Tau in 2017, the Gender Champion Award from United Nations Women in 2015, the Fay Gillis Wells Award from the Overseas Press Club in 2014, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York in 2010. Other notable accolades include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation, the Voices Unabridged Award for Excellence in Journalism, the Silver Medal from the United Nations Correspondents Association, the National Headliner Award, and the Journalism Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.