It was, in part, a baby boomer's wanderlust, Jane Pauley said, that caused her to announce her departure last week from the network where she has spent more than a quarter-century.
"No amount of explaining would be sufficient for some, but, for others of my generation, my decision to move on needs little explanation," said Pauley, who has been with NBC since 1975. Pauley said in a statement last week that she will leave in June. "I follow the lead of many women and men who have left established careers to follow a dream, find more meaning, or just more freedom. I have felt the urge to try new things. I look at this as the beginning of an exciting new phase of my life."
NBC News President and former Dateline
executive producer Neal Shapiro said he tried to talk her out of leaving, and remains "hopeful we can find ways in which she can continue to contribute to NBC News."
NBC says Pauley was the first woman to co-anchor a weeknight network newscast. She has won dozens of awards, including the Radio-Television News Directors Association's Paul White Award for lifetime contribution to electronic journalism, the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation's Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award, and the National Press Foundation's Sol Taishoff award for excellence in broadcast journalism.
Pauley has rarely caused controversy, on or off camera. But, when she left the Today
show in 1989, viewers seemingly rejected her replacement Deborah Norville, and there was the suggestion that higher-ups were behind the move. Pauley went on to host Dateline.
Lee Giles, Pauley's first news director out of college and a 40-year veteran of WISH-TV Indianapolis, said, "I admire Jane's strength of character and her courage. As she says, it's a gamble to walk away from a sure thing and a lot of money, but I'm sure she has something productive in mind. I think Jane still has a wonderful career ahead of her."
He added, "Anytime Jane wants to come back to WISH-TV, we would welcome her."