Jean Enersen ending 42 years as KING 5 news anchor

The Seattle TimesJune 11, 2014 

Governors Race Debate

Washington gubernatorial candidates Republican Rob McKenna, left, and Democrat Jay Inslee, right, laugh with moderator Jean Enersen as they prepare to begin their final debate Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Seattle. Enersen announced Wednesday she will retire after 46 years at KING 5 News in Seattle.

ELAINE THOMPSON — AP

Jean Enersen is calling it quits after 46 years at KING 5, and 42 years as an anchor.

Her last anchor appearance will be Friday.

Enersen, who will turn 70 on Monday, is the “first and longest-standing local female anchor in the country,” says the station.

The station says she’ll still be a presence at KING 5, including doing her “HealthLink” coverage, specials on “Northwest Newsmakers,” political coverage and major news events.

In a news release, Enersen said, “This decision won’t come as a surprise to those who know me well. I’ve been passionate about health for a long time. Not just mine, but the health of my family and our community.”

She concludes, “The time is right, the team is strong, and the ratings are No. 1. I thank KING for this new partnership and the community for supporting me and KING 5.”

With Enersen leaving the anchor chair, there now is a new generation of local TV personalities.

Dan Lewis, 64, left in May after 27 years anchoring at KOMO.

Says KING 5 executive news director Mark Ginther, “Jean is a force of nature in the newsroom. 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 station listed the many “firsts” for Enersen, besides being the first female TV anchor:

• She was a reporter in China, back in 1979, as this country and China re-established diplomatic relations.

• She was the first local American TV host to anchor a TV news program in the Soviet Union.

• She was the first local reporter to travel with the Gates Foundation to Africa, after which the station produced a documentary.

Enersen is a graduate of Stanford University and has a master’s degree in political science and another in documentary films. She has won numerous Emmy Awards.

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