Award-winning Journalist Ann Curry on the worst advice she never took
ABC News(NEW YORK) — “The worst advice I’ve ever received, it was when I was told that women have no news judgment,” award-winning journalist Ann Curry told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis.
“My mouth said, ‘Please give me a chance, I’m going to do a really good job,’’ Curry said. “And my brain said, ‘Oh yeah watch me.’”
If there is anyone who would go on to prove that statement to be patently false, it would be Ann Curry. She began her career as an intern for a then-NBC affiliate in Medford, Oregon, where her responsibilities included fetching mail and operating studio cameras. Ultimately, her goal was to become a reporter, and it was then that she received her “worst advice” from her then-boss.
“There was no evidence that he believed that women could do the job. There had never been a woman in the newsroom before, and on top of that, this was happening in a place where there were very few people who looked like me,” she said.
“Besides Ann,” she remembers being told, “you can’t carry the camera so you should not become a reporter.”
But she wasn’t deterred. She would go on to become the station’s first female reporter, and it would be the beginning of a 40-year career in media.
“When I was given a goodbye party…the person who said that to me, he pulled me aside and said ‘Ann, I don’t want you to let anything I ever said to you stop you from your dreams because you can go all the way,’ Curry recalled. “And I thought that was one of my greatest achievements, that I had transformed somebody’s thinking about what was possible.”
Two women were hired after Curry’s departure, and today she says women make up more than half of that newsroom.
Curry moved onto a larger market in Portland, Oregon, and then to a CBS affiliate in Los Angeles where she would win multiple Emmy Awards for her reporting. She eventually joined NBC News, first as a correspondent and eventually as a newsreader and then as co-host of Today, where she would spend nearly 15 years. Her career would take her around the world, covering international conflicts in places like Syria, Afghanistan and Darfur.
“If people are voiceless and there is something unjust that is occurring or something that can be changed — suffering that can be changed — because we connect them to the wider world, we should do it,” Curry said. “That is our job. We’re supposed to shine light in places of darkness. That’s our job.”
Her departure from the show in 2012 would make headlines as she tearfully signed off on-air as she sat alongside co-host Matt Lauer. Lauer would later be fired after a female colleague accused him of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”
Looking back, Curry says she would’ve told herself, “it’s going to be alright” — and she was correct.
After leaving NBC in 2015, she started her own production company and is now the anchor and executive producer of TNT and TBS’s Chasing the Cure. The show, which combines a weekly live broadcast with a digital component, helps people who are dealing with and suffering from, medical mysteries.
“Chasing the Cure is an effort to connect people who are underserved, undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and connect them directly with doctors who can help,” she said. “This is giving voice to the voiceless.”
Hear more from Curry on episode #130 of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.
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