Gail Shister is widely regarded as the first “out” reporter in mainstream news media in the United States.

The groundbreaking journalist earned the distinction of being, at three separate newspapers, the news organization’s first female sportswriter. In 1974, she was the first female sportswriter at the Buffalo Evening News. From 1975- 78, she was the first female sportswriter at the New Orleans States-Item, and in 1979, she became the first female sportswriter at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Shister became the paper’s television columnist in 1982 – a position she held for some 25 years.

Widely recognized as one of the country’s foremost observers of the industry, her column was distributed to more than 500 newspapers and appeared on numerous Web sites. In 2007, the Inquirer surprised many by making the decision to discontinue her column. She is currently a Metro reporter for the newspaper.

The outspoken and unpredictable Shister appears regularly on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” and is a weekly columnist for She teaches writing at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is an adjunct professor in the English Department.

Since NLGJA’s founding, she has been an energetic member, having served as vice president/print. She received a Distinguished Service Award in 1997. She is a two-term board member of the TV Critics Association. She is married to former Inquirer journalist Penny Jeannechild and they have three children.