In the run-up and aftermath of Ann Curry’s messy break with the “Today” show, there was one matter that didn’t get much attention: that television’s most prominent Asian-American news anchor lost a plum spot on the national stage.
During Curry’s tearful goodbye June 28, she reflected on her role as role model: “For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line, but man, I did try.”
For many young Asian-American journalists, anchors like Curry, and Connie Chung before her, have been “inspiring”, says Doris Truong, National President of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). “Their success is our success,” says Truong, who likens community pride for Curry and Chung to that felt for pro basketball’s Jeremy Lin earlier this year.
“Ann Curry was, and is, a role model for young Asian-American journalists,” says former CNN anchor Carol Lin, now a lecturer at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
Lin says Curry “played a role in breaking through the glass ceiling…[and then] grew into a world when social media really demands that it’s less about the personality, more about the quality of the story.”
With viewers, and the media, focusing debate on Curry’s personality and abilities – rather than on her ethnicity – Lin says it begs a central question: “Are we beyond the question of race, and a
person’s color, at the anchor desk?”
Lin says Curry “is a bridge between generations of journalists.” Something she sees as her own USC students consume news: trending away from reporters-as-celebrities and sharing articles and videos on social media, rather than watching entire broadcasts based on who’s in the anchor chair.
In this way, Lin says Curry “still can make a difference” in her role as anchor-at-large for “Today” and as an NBC News correspondent.
“She is a quality journalist. And her legacy will be more than just the time she sat in the anchor chair,” says Lin. “Overall, that will speak volumes for generations of Asian-American journalists and people of color to come.”