SEATTLE - KING 5 is proud to honor distinguished news anchor Jean Enersen as she celebrates 40 years at KING with a one-hour special.
KING 5 News with Jean Enersen: An Anniversary Celebration takes an intimate look at the news events that have shaped the Northwest and the world from Enersen's unique perspective.
Jean joined King Broadcasting in 1968 and in 1972 became the first female news anchor in local television in the country.
"I was happy that I had a chance, and as things progressed I was happy to be able to raise a family and have a job," she says.
In addition to numerous reports about Western Washington, Jean traveled around the world for KING 5 viewers. She was a part of the first television news crews to report from China after the U.S. resumed trade relations.
In 1988, Jean was the first American journalist ever to report directly to Soviet viewers, broadcasting live from Moscow.
"(It) was during the Cold War, and while the governments were tremendously at odds with each other, we realized that the people, the Russian people, the American people, had mostly similarities and the same interests in peace and security and health for our families," she says.
The KING 5 special highlights the most memorable news events she has covered - from the first man on the moon and the Mount St. Helens eruption to the Sonics World Championship and the World Trade Organization riots.
Jean reflects on her history-making world travels and shares behind-the-scenes stories about interviews with everyone from former Pres. Jimmy Carter to Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and media mogul Oprah Winfrey.
"Jean's a remarkable journalist, and I think she has a degree of credibility in the Northwest market that is pretty amazing," said Pat Costello, vice president/station manager.
In addition to her daily anchor duties, Jean has made notable achievements in her specialized coverage on health issues as the KING 5 HealthLink reporter, and hosts quarterly specials that focus on different cancer topics as part of KING 5's Cancer Free Washington Campaign.
As she takes a fond look back on her 40 years in the broadcasting business, Jean gives us an insider's view of the newsroom "then" versus "now" and talks about her HealthLink reports and why she has become so interested in health.
"To have the opportunity to touch people so directly and with so much impact is a wonderful, wonderful opportunity and we really respect that and we use it carefully," she says.
Jean says she's always believed that it's important to give back.
"In my high school year book there was a motto, everyone had a motto that went with their name, and mine was 'to know, to love, and to serve' and when I read that recently I thought, well I still believe that. It's true and that's the way I approach my job, too."
Call to action
Recently, KING TV and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance honored Jean's 40th anniversary with free mammograms for the community.
Breast cancer resources
To prevent breast cancer, every woman over the age of 40 should do self exams and get an annual mammogram.
Washington State has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the country. But, studies also show Washington rates about 22, 23 in the nation in mammography screening rates.
Doctors say mammography, although not perfect, is the best tool available for detecting breast cancer early, when it's still curable.