Barbara Rodgers to Leave CBS 5

Barbara Rodgers estimates that she’s done at least 8,000 interviews during her 36 years in broadcasting. Most of those for CBS 5 (KPIX-TV), the station that has been her home away from home since 1979. Now Rodgers has decided to take a break.

“After almost 29 years at CBS 5, I had been thinking about when I might hang up my reporter’s notebook and microphone. So I decided that the right time is now, while I still have the enthusiasm to pursue some of my other interests,” said Rodgers.

Rodgers’ last day on the air will be Friday, May 30. She will still be seen after that in a few Jefferson Award stories and “Bay Sunday” shows that she taped earlier.

(Turns out that EJS president Eva Paterson and film director Eric Fournier, both spearheading the documentary Presidential Race, will be among the last of Barbara’s guests on her Bay Sunday show. See the show segment here.)

“Barbara has been a dedicated professional and pioneer at CBS 5. During her 29 years at KPIX, she has inspired and mentored countless scores of young journalists. Her energy and enthusiasm for the job are without peer. Just a few weeks ago, her anchoring three hours of uninterrupted Olympic Torch coverage was a text book example of her formidable skills and a reminder of how she made the most difficult tasks seem easy. She leaves us at the top of her game,” said Ron Longinotti, President and General Manager, CBS 5/The CW 44 Cable 12.

“It has been my great privilege to work with Barbara for the past eight years. She is an exceptional broadcast journalist — a terrific reporter and a wonderful news anchor who remains clear and cool even under pressure of major breaking news. We will miss her skills, her insight, her empathy and her wonderful laugh in our newsroom,” said Dan Rosenheim, Vice President and News Director of CBS 5

“Besides being a cherished friend, Barbara’s unstoppable curiosity, deep empathy, sharp writing, and good cheer make her the kind of reporter you love to work with. Somehow the world seems a little less confusing when Barbara is covering the news,” said Craig Franklin Senior Producer, News Special Projects.

“As an accomplished journalist, Barbara Rodgers brings unbridled passion and professionalism to her job. The numerous awards she’s received over the years speak volumes about the high quality of her work. As my friend, Barbara is priceless” said “Bay Sunday” producer and Executive Producer of “Eye on the Bay” Lena Sullivan.

Barbara Rodgers has been with CBS 5 Eyewitness News since 1979. She co-anchors CBS 5 Eyewitness News at Noon with Juliette Goodrich–her second time around on the Noon News. Prior to this, Rodgers anchored the weekend newscasts from 1987 to 2000.

In 2001, Rodgers returned as the host of “Bay Sunday,” CBS 5’s weekly public affairs program. She helped create the show in 1989 and was its host for seven years before taking a hiatus. “Bay Sunday” is an eclectic mix of news, arts and community information all tossed up in lively conversation. Prior to this, she anchored CBS 5 Eyewitness News at Noon from 1984 to 1987.

In 1985, Rodgers was awarded the prestigious William Benton Fellowship in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Chicago. During her six-month leave of absence to participate in the fellowship program, she took courses in such diverse subjects as international relations, poetry writing and Meso-American pre-history. “It was,” says Rodgers, “one of the most exciting and intellectually stimulating experiences of my life.”

Rodgers has received numerous honors for her work and community service, including the Frederick D. Patterson Outstanding Individual Award from the United Negro College Fund, seven Emmy Awards from the Northern California Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), five Excellence in Journalism Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and awards for reporting from the Associated Press, United Press International and the (San Francisco) Peninsula Press Club.

In 2004, she received the “Pioneer Award” from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and the Governor’s Award from NATAS, the highest local award a journalist can receive. That year, she was also inducted into the Golden Key International Honor Society. In 1992, the San Francisco Chapter of the League of Women Voters chose her as one of its “Women Who Could Be President.” She has also been honored by the California Legislature, the National Council of Negro Women, CityFlight Magazine and the Golden Gate Chapter of American Women in Radio and Television, receiving AWRT’s Kudo Award for Best On-Air Anchor in 2003.

Also in 2003, she was given the national Unity Award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association for reporting in the series “Muslims in America,” which examined cultural, civil rights and religious issues involving American Muslims in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 1993, she was chosen by the Freedom Forum and the National Association of Black Journalists as one of five journalists to participate in the South Africa Journalists Exchange Program. She spent a month in that country reporting on the changes taking place since the end of Apartheid.

Rodgers joined CBS 5 after seven years at WOKR-TV in Rochester, New York. Prior to entering a career in broadcasting, Rodgers headed the Business Skills Department and was an instructor of English and communications at theEducational Opportunity Center in Rochester. She also worked as an urban affairs researcher and a computer programmer for the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester.

Rodgers holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee. She did additional studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the University of Chicago. She is a member and co-founder of the Bay Area Black Journalists Association and has served on the boards of various organizations, including the World Affairs Council of Northern California, the Society of Professional Journalists, Walden House, a non-profit health and human services program specializing in substance abuse treatment for people of all ages and Friends of Faith, which raises funds to help low income women diagnosed with breast cancer. She has volunteered her time to scores of other community groups.

Rodgers loves traveling and is off to somewhere every chance she gets. She has been to countries on five different continents.

When asked what she’ll be doing now, Rodgers said she wasn’t sure about the long term, but she has a definite short term goal. “I want to clear out all the clutter in my garage and spare room at home–stuff that has been piling up for all these years when I’ve spent more time at the office than I did at home. That could take six months or more! After that, I’ll start to explore some of my other loves like travel, food and my new computer; and I’m excited about finally getting to spend more time visiting with family and friends both in and outside the Bay Area.”

And what will she miss most about this job that has been a part of her life for so long? “Meeting a multitude of new and fascinating people. I am a person who still has so much curiosity about everything and this job let me indulge that and be as nosey as I wanted to be. I’ll also miss being in the middle of the action when there’s a big story and I’ll especially miss getting to be a part of this year’s Presidential election night when history might be made. But I’ll be watching from home and doing a critique.”

SOURCE: CBS5 Press Release

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