National Geographic : 1986 Mar
On Assignment WITH A RIVER-WIDE SMILE and exuberant wave, Carolyn Bennett Patterson commands a houseboat that car ried her for her coverage of the Tenn-Tom Waterway. Balky motors and sudden sum mer storms slowed but did not dissuade her from her plan to transit its length. Typically she met setbacks with a "You can do any thing" optimism that has never flagged dur ing a memorable 36-year career at the GEOGRAPHIC that ends next month. There were no women in the highest ech elons of the magazine when Carolyn ar rived, and very few ranking women in all of journalism. Steeled by her experience as the first woman police reporter in New Or leans, Carolyn worked her way up and into the hearts of her colleagues, writing for the News Service, the magazine articles staff, and the Legends Division. Her positive atti tude also carried her through unusual situa tions abroad: She has faced down deadly snakes in Tasmania's wilds, ducked the spears of Indian tribes in Brazil, and al layed the suspicion of police in Poland. As a Senior Assistant Editor, she devel oped the craft of caption writing to an art form and along the way nurtured new tal ent. Many writers at the GEOGRAPHIC owe their career starts to her perceptive in stincts. If indeed the greatest talent is that of pinpointing talent in others, then Carolyn leaves not just the legacy of her own passion for excellence but has also ensured its per petuation in others.