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Profile: Marlene Sanders

Published by The New York Sun on 2005-01-28

Marlene Sanders has won the Emmy Award three times in her long and distinguished career as a television correspondent, producer, writer and news executive. While a correspondent at ABC News, she was the first woman to anchor a prime time network newscast, substituting for an ailing anchorman in l964. In l966 she was the first TV newswoman to report from Vietnam, and in l976, while a producer-correspondent for ABC's documentary unit, she made news by becoming the first woman news vice president at the networks, when she was named vice president and director of documentaries.

But she's not happy at the way TV networks, and particularly local channels, cover business news.

"They do a terrible job," Ms. Sanders said yesterday. "Maybe they think that audiences are not interested. And maybe Americans aren't interested in a lot of important and interesting things. But what's happening in unemployment, and outsourcing of jobs is incredibly important. I see imports all over the places. Wal-Mart is ordering goods made in China. So going to buy this stuff that's made overseas if people in America are not working? How do you keep people employed? This is a huge problem, and we aren't covering it well, especially on television."

"There's also the question of minimum wage," Ms. Sanders, who teaches at New York University and also narrates documentaries for HBO, public television, and other channels, said. "It's a real disgrace that people working fulltime are poor."

Her concern for the not-so-fortunate members of society springs from her upbringing in Cleveland, where she was born into a lower middle class family. Ms. Sanders began her career in New York in local news working for Mike Wallace in l955. In l964, she joined ABC News and remained there for nearly l4 years as a correspondent, anchor, producer and news executive. In l978 she joined CBS News, working on documentaries for CBS Reports and on other reporting assignments. After nearly l0 years at CBS she left in l987 to host several public affairs programs at the local PBS station in New York, WNET. During her four years there she also taught part-time as an Adjunct Professor of Journalism at both New York University and Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. She also anchored Profiles in Progress, 26 half-hour documentaries about the developing world and about her longstanding cause, women's rights.

Following five years as a DuPont Awards judge, in l999 she became a judge for the Peabody Awards given for outstanding achievement in broadcasting.
Does she invest in the market? "I have got money in stock," Ms. Sanders said. "But I rely on money managers. I believe in trusting financial advisers."

Pranay Gupte,
Senior Writer and Global-Affairs Columnist

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