Ellen Goodman Retires, Shares Her Column-Writing Tips

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

It would have been difficult to write about columnist Ellen Goodman without writing in first person. I grew up reading Goodman’s nationally syndicated columns and often looked to her as a role model. I’m going to miss her writing now that she’s retiring.

Ellen Goodman/The Washington Post Writers Group

Last week, after hearing about Goodman’s retirement, I set up an interview with her to find out more about her career, her writing tips and how she helped strengthen the role of women in journalism.

When we talked, Goodman was down-to-earth, friendly and open about her experiences as a columnist, and about why she chose to “let herself go” and explore her next steps in life. You can read my Poynter Online story about her here:

“I couldn’t help but be disappointed last week when I heard that the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman was retiring or, as she put it, letting herself go.

“I grew up reading Goodman’s nationally syndicated columns in my hometown newspaper, and as a young female journalist have looked to her not just as a source of inspiration, but as proof that the written word has power — to challenge the status quo, shape ideas and ultimately create change.

“As one of America’s first female columnists, Goodman helped liberate women from the realm of domesticity by daring to write about the “F word” — feminism, that is. Her columns proved that females were capable of far more than cooking, sewing and cleaning, and that a woman’s opinion matters. … “