In Depth

2009 Hall of Famer: Ysabel Duron

By Deborah Kaufman

A weekend anchor of San Francisco's "KRON 4 Weekend Morning News" since 1992, Ysabel Duron is an award-winning journalist whose career began in the graduate-level television program at Columbia University in New York in the summer of 1970. "It was a Ford Foundation program to get minorities into the media," said Ms. Duron, adding that Geraldo Rivera was one of her classmates.

Ms. Duron was working at KTVU-TV in Oakland, Calif., where she won her first Emmy Award in 1974 for her reporting of the Patty Hearst kidnapping. "The 1970s were probably the most interesting and varied of my career, because of the stories I got to cover," she said. "That included the Patricia Hearst kidnapping, the murders of [San Francisco Mayor George] Moscone and [San Francisco Supervisor Harvey] Milk, the Black Panthers, the ascension of Ronald Reagan and Jerry Brown. There were so few women, and we were trying to prove ourselves, and we had an opportunity to try a lot of things that hadn't been done by women before. It was a challenging time and a great time."

Now, more than 30 years later, Ms. Duron can look back on a career of pioneering "firsts," award-winning stories and several honors. In 1982, at KICU-TV (San Jose), Ms. Duron's four-part series "Trouble With Teachers" won the John Swett Award for Media Excellence, the highest award given by the California Teachers Association, and was honored by the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) of Northern California.

Ms. Duron was the first Latina anchor in Chicago mainstream news, reporting and anchoring "Channel 5 News at Sunrise" at WMAQ-TV, the NBC O&O, for four years. Also while at WMAQ, she won a team Emmy for breaking news coverage of the Laurie Dann school shooting.

At KRON-TV, Ms. Duron's work included "The Child I Never Held," a 1991 series about Ms. Duron's reunion with the son she gave up for adoption, which was honored by the RTNDA, and, in 1998, "Life With Cancer," focusing on Ms. Duron's winning battle with cancer, which received an honorable mention from the American Women in Radio & Television's Gracie Awards, and an Excellence in Journalism Award from the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists.

A highlight of her career was stints working abroad. "My aspiration has always been to be a foreign correspondent, so I was always thrilled to get the opportunity to travel," she said. Ms. Duron's work as a board member of the Washington, D.C.-based International Women's Media Foundation, whose goal is to empower female journalists around the world, has taken her to Mexico, Chile and Argentina.

In 1997 she was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Silver Circle for "more than 27 years of meritorious work as a journalist." Other honors include a May 2000 Governor's Citation from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences of Northern California; being named one of America's top 100 Hispanic Women in Communications by Hispanic USA Magazine; and becoming a 1990 fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C.

"I'm proud to join my fellow Latinos in the Hall of Fame," said Ms. Duron. "Each has made a mark on the world of journalism and made a difference in the representation of Hispanics and coverage of their issues. I'm proud that I have been able to be a practicing journalist and newscaster for all these years."