The Sunnyslope Historical Society invites residents to hear from Mary Jo West at a January in-person discussion.
West has been called the First Lady of TV News in Phoenix. She became the first prime-time anchorwoman in Phoenix in 1976, opening the door for the women who followed her. She came to Phoenix in 1975 as a producer-host at the Public Broadcasting Station KAET-TV in Tempe. In 1976, West accepted a job at KOOL-TV Channel 10, the CBS affiliate.
The Historical Society noted that her first years there were not easy, as she shared the anchor desk with an old-school newsman who saw the newsroom as a “man’s domain” and wasn’t pleased that a 27-year-old woman would be sharing his anchor desk.
West wanted to talk about issues that were vital and to report stories of substance, and in doing so, she won her industry’s top awards including the Peabody, two Rocky Mountain Emmys, 13 Arizona Press Club awards, and the national “Gracie Allen Award” from American Women in Radio and TV. She was the first news woman inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The City of Phoenix honored her with the Martin Luther King Living the Dream Award for her work fighting discrimination against the mentally ill.
Residents can hear from the TV legend at a Jan. 20 event, held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Sunnyslope Historical Society, 737 E. Hatcher Road. The event is free; seating is limited. Refreshments will be served. For additional information, call 602-684-1607 or visit www.sunnyslopehistoricalsociety.org.