Cindy Carpian, NPR Producer, invited me to join her at the 36th Annual Gracie Awards held the other week at the Beverly Hilton. Pat Thomas, my sister Susan Mullins, and I had helped facilitate the gathering of material and stories for NPR's presentation on the female military pilots of WWII: The Original Flygirls. That show won a Gracie for the outstanding Biography and portrait. What a night! Who would have thought that even we would be asked to do the red carpet/press walk. Geez Louse! How does Paris Hilton ever handle it? (Though photographers said we were much nicer and more real than Paris!) What an honor to be in the presence of so many amazing actors and broadcast professionals. Julie McCarthy, NPR's bureau chief in Islamabad, was selected as THE outstanding journalist for 2011. A statuesque woman. Julie's choice to wear a coral and gold traditional Pakistani salwar kameez provided a glimpse into the world in which she moves. In that elegant attire, few would have suspected that this woman has an amazing background in truly hard stories. She spent five weeks in Iran during the war in Afghanistan, covered the re-election of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and traveled to the Indian island nation of Madagascar to report on the political and ecological developments there. Following the terror attacks on the United States, McCarthy was the lead reporter assigned to investigate al Qaeda in Europe. Oh what a night.