Class of 1960
Phyllis Malamud has been a researcher, a reporter, a columnist and a bureau chief for Newsweek in a career that started shortly after she got her degree from City College in 1960 and continued until her retirement in 1988. Along the way, she had to overcome the challenge of working in a professional environment that did not generally offer equal opportunities to women. And she got some help from an unexpected source — a fellow graduate of City College.
Born in Brooklyn on Sept. 15, 1938, Malamud graduated from Hunter High School prior to enrolling at the College, where she earned a B.A. in history and social science. In short order, she applied for a job at Newsweek and got one handling letters from readers. She was part of the magazine’s public relations department, but Malamud wanted editorial. Not easy. In those days, she says, women at Newsweek “were relegated to being researchers or mail girls.” But she did break into the editorial department by impressing Clem Morgello, Newsweek’s senior financial and business editor, who, as it turned out, was a CCNY alumnus.
“He helped me jump the fence into editorial,” Malamud said.
She worked as a researcher for the business section for two years then moved to back-of-the-book sections as head researcher. In 1968, she was awarded a Russell Sage Foundation Fellowship editing manuscripts at TransAction magazine in St. Louis for a year. When Malamud returned to New York, she was promoted to a reporter’s slot, just in time to cover New York City’s fiscal crisis.
“I spent many hours with people like [Mayor] Abe Beame, [Governor] Hugh Carey and Felix Rohatyn [then chairman of the Municipal Assistance Corporation],” she recalled.
In 1977, Malamud became New England bureau chief, based in Boston, covering everything from controversies over school busing to pieces on medicine (“they have all these wonderful hospitals in Boston”), and, among her favorite assignments, an interview with Isaac Bashevis Singer, who had just won a Nobel Prize for Literature and was lecturing in the area. She returned to New York in 1983 and was named editor of My Turn, a Newsweek column in which people not on the staff of the magazine had the opportunity to sound off on subjects of interest to them. Contributors to the column ranged from “big shots,” as she put it, to everyday folks.
After retiring, Malamud kept her hand in by teaching classes on the media at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and writing freelance medical articles for MD Magazine.