First Female Network News Anchor Dies

Trailblazer Marlene Sanders was 84
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 16, 2015 12:11 AM CDT
Sanders' profile page from NYU, where she was still a faculty member.   (NYU)

(Newser) – Marlene Sanders, a veteran television journalist for ABC and CBS News at a time when relatively few women did that job, has died of cancer. She was 84. Sanders was a producer for the late Mike Wallace in the early stages of his career. She wrote, reported, and produced news and documentaries for WNEW-TV in New York before joining ABC News in 1964. She worked there for 14 years. She was the first woman to anchor a network evening newscast in 1964 when she filled in for Ron Cochran. She reported from Vietnam in 1966 and later became the first woman to be a vice president at ABC News, where she was head of the network's documentary unit.

"Marlene Sanders got there first," journalist and political commentator Bill Moyers says. "That women are finally recognized as first-rate professionals is due in no small part to the path-breaking courage of Marlene Sanders." Sanders also was the mother of CNN and New Yorker journalist Jeffrey Toobin, who announced on his Facebook page that she died Tuesday. "A pioneering television journalist—the first network newswoman to report from Vietnam, among many other firsts—she informed and inspired a generation," Toobin wrote. "Above all, though, she was a great mom." Sanders was also a faculty member at NYU, where she was scheduled to teach next fall until she became ill a few weeks ago.

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