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Posts Tagged ‘Linda Vester’

Where Are They Now? Linda Vester

LindaHeadshot(1)As we continue TVNewser’s ongoing series “Where Are They Now?”, we talk with former Fox News Channel anchor Linda VesterNext up: former Good Morning America co-host David Hartman. 

It’s been nearly a decade since Linda Vester anchored a newscast, but that hasn’t stopped friends from asking if she’ll ever come back to television.

“I don’t think so,” she tells them. “At least, not right now.”

That’s because she’s enjoying life as CEO of what she calls “Mommy, Inc.”

“I love it,” Vester tells TVNewser.  Motherhood “is more draining, by far, than my old career in journalism, but I really love it.”

The former Fox News Channel anchor lives in Manhattan with her husband and four children – two sons and two daughters – ranging in age from 3 to 11.  It was after she’d become pregnant with her second child, Vester says, that her plans became clear.

“I just really, really wanted to be a stay-at-home mom,” she reflects.  “I came to it late, I’d worked in television since I was 17, in high school, and met my husband late, and by the grace of God, got pregnant in my mid-thirties, and I thought, ‘I don’t want to miss anything!””

But the decision to become a full-time mother – one that’s made her “very happy” – wasn’t necessarily easy at first.

“It really did take a solid year to take those pieces apart and say, ‘okay, now who am I?’”

Eventually, Vester made the adjustment, even losing the need to instantly devour breaking news. “I can read [about stories] a day late,” she says with a laugh, “and be just fine.”

The Cincinnati native started her broadcast career as an intern for local CBS affiliate WKRC-TV, working with anchor Nick Clooney (yes, George’s dad).  Vester then got a job at CBS News’ Paris bureau during a semester at the Sorbonne.

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Where Are They Now? Bobbie Battista

Battista1TVNewser continues a multi-week series, catching up with some tvnewsers of yesterday to learn about their lives now, and their perspectives on the industry.  Today we hear from former CNN anchor Bobbie Battista. In two weeks: former Fox News Channel anchor Linda Vester.  

As Bobbie Battista will tell you, sometimes it all boils down to “being in the right place, at the right time, having made a lucky decision.”

And heeding some wise counsel from a parent.

It was 1981, and Battista had risen from a secretarial position to shatter a glass ceiling as the first woman anchor at Raleigh powerhouse WRAL-TV.  Alongside colleague Charlie Gaddy, the duo’s evening newscasts pulled in stratospheric ratings.

In short order, Battista started fielding a slew of offers from larger local markets. Another intriguing invitation came from a fledgling, 24-hour cable news operation called CNN.

“My father thought [CNN] was a good move,” Battista tells TVNewser.  After weighing her options, she decided to take her dad’s advice.

Little did Battista know that the move to Atlanta would put her on track to make broadcast news history once again.

In the eighties, as CNN started to be seen in a growing number of American homes, so too did it become available in previously-unreachable corners of the earth.

“I was hugely known in Poland!” Battista remembers with a laugh. CNN founder Ted Turner had struck an unheard-of deal, to have several minutes of network programming featured each evening on state-run television in the Communist country.  The time slot coincided with Battista’s anchor shift.

A hit with Iron Curtain viewers, Battista was sent to Poland for a ten-day goodwill tour. “It wasn’t really even something you could grasp,” she reflects. “What you were struck by was the influence that CNN was beginning to have in the world.”

The network’s ascendancy intensified during the Gulf War.

“Everyone involved in that conflict – politically, militarily – they were watching CNN,” says Battista.  “It was an amazingly important responsibility.”

Over the next many years, she’d go on to cover the Challenger tragedy, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the crumbling of the Soviet Empire, and every presidential election along the way.

By 2002, feeling “a little burned out” – and after a slew of what she viewed as disappointing changes at CNN in the wake of the AOL-Time Warner merger – Battista decided to leave the network after 22 years.

More than a decade later, she still watches CNN every day, but is wary of what she sees as “brand erosion.”  She says viewers have come up to her over the years to ask, “What happened to CNN?”

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Last One…

It started with some intern gossip at “Dayside with Linda Vester.” We had heard the rumors, and asked a producer if it was true — “Go check TVNewser.”

From that point on I was hooked — a daily reader, an occasional anonymous tipster (like here) and when the associate editor position opened up, I jumped at the opportunity.

After more than 18 months, I’m truly honored to have been a part of what Brian Stelter started and Chris Ariens has continued.

Now, I go back to being a regular reader. Brian closed his goodbye with, “I still have a lot to learn.” I do too — but thanks to everyone at mediabistro.com, I’m off to a good start.