Centre for Global Negotiations

Members of the Independent Commission on International Development Issues (ICIDI)

Biography: Katherine Graham

Katharine Graham was one of the most powerful women in American media. Her mother, Agnes Meyer, was an educator and her father, Eugene Meyer, a publisher. He purchased The Washington Post in 1933, and Katharine Meyer began working for the Post five years later. She married Philip Graham in 1940, and in 1945 left the Post to raise a family. In the next few years, Philip Graham became publisher of the Post and bought Eugene Meyer's voting stock. During this time, the Washington Post Company acquired the Times-Herald and Newsweek magazine.

In 1963, Philip Graham committed suicide and Katharine Graham assumed control of the Washington Post Company. From 1969 to 1979, she was also publisher of the newspaper.

From 1973-1991, Graham, known to many as "Kay," was board chairman and chief executive officer of the Washington Post Company. She remained Chairman of the Executive Committee until she was injured in a fall in Idaho in June, 2001, and died the following month at age 84.

Under Katharine Graham's leadership, The Washington Post became known for its hard-hitting investigations, including the publication of the secret Pentagon Papers against the advice of lawyers and government directives, followed by Woodward and Bernstein's investigative reporting of the Watergate scandal. For these reasons, she and the newspaper are often credited with bringing about the fall of President Richard Nixon.

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