“Protestors and Chicago Police Officers in Grant Park” on Aug. 28, 1968. Courtesy of the National Archives of Chicago.
By Amy Grant
Gloria Campisi was a trailblazer in a male-dominated field. She is remembered by her friends and colleagues as a “terrific human being” and a “terrific journalist.”
Gloria was born in 1942 to Salvatore Campisi, who owned a furniture-finishing business, and Alyce Hopkins, a renowned local artist. She attended Friends Select School and later earned a bachelor’s degree at Temple University.
After a stint with United Press International, Gloria was one of the first female reporters hired at the Daily News in the late 1960s. She later was responsible for the night rewrite of feeds from reporters at the scenes of some of Philadelphia’s biggest stories.
“Girl Reporter Jailed in Chicago”
In 1968, Gloria made headlines … for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Vacationing in Chicago, she happened to be in town during the Democratic National Convention. On Aug. 28th, Gloria and a friend were just sitting in a car near Grant Park when 10,000 protesters showed up.
Nevertheless, Gloria was taken into custody in a sweep, and lost in the system. After she was released, her story gained traction in the press. She was described as a “girl reporter” — an indication of the misogyny she faced in her line of work.
The most important “person” in the room
Gloria described herself as shy and reserved. But that didn’t stop her from speaking out for what she believed in.
In the 1970s, a new editor at the Daily News hung a sign from the ceiling of the newsroom that read: “The reporter is the most important man in the room.”
Gloria had a brief chat with the editor in his office. A few days later, he put up a revised sign: “The reporter is the most important person in this room.”
Tracking down sources
Gloria excelled at using the “trick book,” a reverse phone directory that provided numbers based on addresses. “Before Google or Facebook or Instagram, we had Gloria, who tracked down the subjects of stories after hours using a landline, phone books, and magic,” said Ellen Gray, television critic for the Daily News and Inquirer.
In 1997, Gloria married legendary police reporter, Jack McGuire, a widower with nine children. Jack died in 2002 and nine years later, Gloria ended her career when she took a buyout from the newspaper.
Gloria passed away Aug. 10, 2017 at age 75. Her cremains are buried with her parents in the Gloria Dei Church burial ground.