“Sylvia Chase, an Emmy Award-winning correspondent whose professionalism and perseverance in the 1970s helped a generation of women infiltrate the boys club of television news, died on Thursday in Marin County, Calif.,” reports Sam Roberts for The New York Times. She was 80.
The story continues, “Her death was confirmed by Shelly Ross, a former network news colleague, who said Ms. Chase had undergone surgery for brain cancer several weeks ago.”
Notes The Times, “Ms. Chase was an original member of the reporting team for the weekly ABC News magazine ‘20/20’; a correspondent for another ABC News series, ‘Primetime’; and the producer and host of a daytime program for CBS, ‘Magazine.’”
Writes John King in the San Francisco Chronicle, Chase “joined the staff of CBS News in New York in 1971 and moved to ABC a few years later. She received a range of broadcasting rewards and was dubbed ‘the most trusted woman on TV’ by TV Guide. During her time at ‘20/20,’ a survey by the magazine also pegged Chase as the top investigative reporter on any of the national newsmagazines.”
San Francisco TV station KRON, then an NBC affiliate, hired Chase to be its top local news anchor in 1985. Reportedly, she was unhappy and decided to leave ABC News when ‘20/20’ spiked a story of hers. King writes that it was a “move that attracted national attention. She headed back to the East Coast [and ABC] in 1990, but not before winning a Peabody Award at KRON for her hour-long documentary on the plight of homeless children. She returned to the Bay Area after her retirement in the early 2000s, settling in Belvedere [in Marin County, just north of San Francisco].”
“Her time at KRON was during an era when news anchors were local celebrities: her starting salary was said to be $400,000 at a time when the average home in San Francisco was valued at less than $175,000,” King notes.
Adds The Times, “Bill Moyers, who worked with her on the PBS series ‘Now with Bill Moyers,’ said in an email that Ms. Chase ‘would quit before giving in to a less-than-honorable higher-up who insisted on compromising a story, and she was a breakthrough pioneer for women in journalism and in coverage of kids in need.’”
Here’s a popular story Chase did about Michael Jackson in 1980 that we found on YouTube: