Before there was Diane Sawyer there was Barbara Walters. Before there was Oprah Winfrey there was Barbara Walters. Before there was Jane Pauley there was Barbara Walters. So it was a fitting, emotional tribute today as those media super stars ( and a dozen others) took the stage of "The View" today to honor the woman who gave birth to their careers. In a business where competition is everything-- Barbara's competitors and colleagues -- stood in honor of this one female trailblazer. As I sat in my living room watching, I felt touched by the power of the moment. And in awe of the enormous footprint Ms. Walters left on the world of journalism. She was ...and is my role model.
For those of you outside of the business-- you may read this and wonder what the big deal is? Today newsrooms feature diversity. But in the early days, it was a struggle for women and minorities. Journalism was the bastion of men. And women were confined to ancillary roles. Barbara Walters shattered that mold and paved the way for every woman who followed her. By sheer tenacity and talent Ms. Walters moved from consumer reporter on the "Today" show to one of the most powerful women in television. Not only did she interview everyone from world leaders to mega movie stars -- she practically invented the "get." Those sought- after interviews that everyone is trying hard to land -- but only one journalist "gets" first. Just this week she had two exclusives in the Donald Sterling controversy. The woman is relentless and my career hero!
The majority of my career was spent at KABC, the flagship LA station. I felt so privileged to have Ms. Walters and Ms. Sawyer as female role models at my network. In local news, we too work at getting the exclusive story. So, we work the phones, the email and cajoling to "get" the big story. Thank you Barbara for teaching us how to do it right. My only disappointment after 19 years at KABC was that I never had the opportunity to meet you.
But who knows? Maybe on a future trip to New York I will run into you at "Michael's" or "Fresco" and get a "selfie" with the queen of journalism-- Barbara Walters.
KTTV FOX 11 1999 S. Bundy Dr. Los Angeles CA 90025