|JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WR|
History is being made inside the Pentagon press room, and the trailblazers in skirts and lipstick say it's a change for the better. For the first time ever, about a third of the historically male Pentagon press corps is female. The latest addition, Fox News Channel's Jennifer Griffin, brings the number of regular female reporters to nine (including our very own Anna Mulrine). "It's better than ever," says CNN's Barbara Starr. "The more the merrier," adds AP's Robert Burns.
There have been few hurdles. "I've never ever experienced any sexism from the military," says ABC's Martha Raddatz, a war correspondent who also covers the White House. "I don't feel the least bit constrained," adds Starr. "I'll stop short of following [male military brass] into the men's room, but I'll wait for them outside."
But there is a difference in coverage. "Women," says Griffin, a mother of two, "have a certain layer of empathy and emotional intelligence that they bring to a beat like this." Adds Starr, who devotes coverage to injured soldiers: "You must show the human dimension."
Still, it's no girls club. "It's not some sit around and sew in the afternoon society," says Raddatz. And yet, they do look out for each other. Consider Starr's advice for newbie Griffin: Wear sneakers or flats. "Your ultimate weapon in this building is comfortable shoes."