Amanda Terkel ’04
As a senior political reporter for The Huffington Post and a regular guest on MSNBC, Amanda Terkel ’04 (pictured above, on left) has a front-row seat to history. And she’s not taking her role for granted.
“Journalism wasn’t always a friendly field for women,” noted Terkel, who has worked for the Post for six years and is based in Washington, D.C. “It was a boy’s club. I respect the women who are still in the business and opened doors for me.”
That’s why the selection of Hillary Clinton as the nation’s first female presidential nominee by a major party resonated with Terkel. Before this summer’s national conventions, Terkel wrote a lengthy article on women political pioneers in the American political system. Interviewees included Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., minority leader of the House and the first woman to serve as House speaker; Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., the first woman to serve western New York; and former Democratic Rep. Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, the first African-American woman to represent California in Congress.
“They paved the way for Hillary Clinton,” Terkel said, “as did a lot of other female political strategists who were incredibly influential in changing the Democratic Party and making it more open to women.”
Terkel covered both parties’ national conventions for the Post this summer (this was her third Democratic and second Republican convention). “If you’re a political junkie, it’s hard not to love conventions,” she said. “It’s great to meet the delegates from around the country; it’s interesting to hear how they got here and what issues are important to them.”
Politics was her first love, Terkel said. A high school trip to Washington, D.C., sparked her desire to keep up with current events and politics. “A big reason I went to Colgate was because of the strength of the Washington, D.C., Study Group,” she said. In addition to that experience, Terkel was also involved in the Student Government Association and College Democrats.
After graduation, she worked as deputy research director at the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington, D.C.–based progressive public-policy think tank.In 2005, when blogs were only beginning to come into vogue, Terkel started writing for CAP’s nascent ThinkProgress blog (of which she eventually became managing editor). “From there, I figured out that I really loved journalism,” she said. “I love interviewing people, digging into research, going to the most exciting political events — and then writing and talking about them. It’s wonderful.”
— Andy Faught
Amanda Terkel ’04 in the The Media and Communications in the 21st Century panel during Inauguration Week at Colgate.