After more than 46 years at KING 5 and 42 years behind the anchor desk, Jean Enersen, the first female local TV news anchor in the country, has decided to step away from her role as daily news anchor this month.
Enersen announced her retirement from anchoring during KING 5 News at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
"The time is right, the team is strong, and the ratings are No. 1,” said Enersen.
Her final day as anchor will be this Friday, but she is not leaving your television screen. She’ll devote more time to other areas, including KING 5’s HealthLink reports, the most popular health franchise in the Northwest.
"This decision won’t come as a surprise to those who know me well,” Enersen said, “I’ve been passionate about health for a long time. Not just mine, but the health of my family and our community.”
Enersen will also continue working on KING 5 specials including Northwest Newsmakers, political coverage and major news events. She will also continue to serve and support the community which has been her lifelong home. Those cause-driven organizations that have long benefitted from her commitment and passion will be able to count on her continued advocacy in the future.
“I also look forward to a whole new world of opportunities," Enersen said.
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“Jean is a force of nature in the newsroom,” said KING 5 Executive News Director Mark Ginther. “She is a great leader and her natural curiosity pushes us. Jean has seen every major news event that's shaped this community. Her expertise and knowledge have been great for viewers and we’re happy her presence will continue to be felt at KING 5.”
The change will also allow Jean more time to work within the community and cause-driven organizations she is passionate about.
“I thank KING for this new partnership and the community for supporting me and KING 5,” said Enersen.
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Enersen hosted KING 5’s acclaimed “Hostages At Home,” a one-hour special on domestic violence. The program was used as an educational tool by hospitals, shelters, police departments and offender recovery groups.
“I’ve known Jean Enersen since the early 1970s, when I first worked for KING Broadcasting. I was a fan of hers then and appreciate her even more today,” said Ray Heacox, KING 5 President and General Manager.
Enersen has won Emmy Awards for her work as an anchor, most recently receiving the award with co-anchor Dennis Bounds during their coverage of the May Day protests. She’s also been awarded for her health care documentaries.
"Jean represents the very best of local broadcast journalism. Western Washington is a better place because of her legacy of excellence and passionate advocacy for the people, issues and stories that make a difference. She's a leader who pushed everyone at KING to a higher standard, and made us all better,” said Dave Lougee, former KING 5 President and General Manager and current president of KING parent company Gannett Broadcasting.
Among Enersen's notable accomplishments at KING 5:
- First Female Local TV Anchor
- First Local TV reporter in China as U.S. and China re-established diplomatic relations in 1979
- First Local American TV host to anchor a TV news program in the Soviet Union and to host a series of broadcasts between the U.S. and USSR.
- First Local reporter to travel with the Gates Foundation to Africa.
- First American to host “Asia Now” a weekly TV program seen in 13 Asian countries and 75 U.S. markets
- First chair of the Northwest AIDS Walk and produced two documentaries on the subject.
Enersen holds a masters in political science and a masters in documentary filmmaking from Stanford University, and has served on that school’s Board of Trustees and the Board of Stanford’s Hoover Institution. She also holds honorary doctorates from Whitman College and Seattle University.