The former darling of NBC’s long running Today Show is back and I for one am thrilled. Jane Pauley is is a tad bit senior to me, though not by much, the difference in age allowed me to watch her as I came up right behind her into what would be my career in TV News. I watched her as she blazed trails for me and all women in television.
Pauley had, has, “it.” That fresh-faced, girl next-door image that anybody getting up in the morning and turning on their TV sets could, and can, relate to. I would argue that, that would still work today, though you don’t see a lot of that, the TV industry has certainly gone in a different direction. Pauley was that steady eddy gal hosting thru all things the world gave us and she was just herself.
When Pauley graduated from Indiana University and went to work for WISH-TV in Indianapolis, that was the beginning of her rise into people’s hearts. Jane was Jane and that’s why it worked. The famed news WISH-TV News Director, the late Lee Giles, hired her, he knew what he was doing.
Here is why I have felt a kind of sisterhood with Pauley. She is from Indiana and so am I. She went to I.U., I went to a school a piece up the road, and rival, Purdue University.
Jane’s first TV job was at WISH-TV, which is owned by the company for which I currently work, LIN TV out of Providence, Rhode Island. The woman who replaced Pauley in 1980, was Debby Knox whom I started my career with in Elkhart, Indiana. Debby remains in that seat today. Another woman for whom I have immense respect. Yes, Giles picked her too, and I remember when she got the call from Indianapolis, we were thrilled for her.
Jane has three children including a set of twins, so do I. Pauley has a home in Connecticut, so do I. Her daughter went to Yale, my husband is a Professor of Medicine there. I saw her on the Today show the other day, unbeknownst to me we have a similar haircut.
I have never met Pauley, but was out with some friends the other evening and a gentleman who was with them told me Jane Pauley is his son’s Godmother. Pauley’s Godson is serving our country in Iraq.
Is there a 6 degrees of separation thing going on here? I asked this gentleman if he would mind getting in touch with Pauley to see if she would be interested in doing an interview with me. He did, and she told him she was in the throws of working on something new, well it was just launched and we know what it is.
So when can you see the woman for which I have such high regard? She will be a monthly contributor on The today show as an Ambassador for AARP.Her segment on The Today Show is called “Your Life Calling. She will be profiling people over the age of 50 who are reinventing the way they work and/or live to pursue their life’s calling. One of the people Pauley highlights is Betsy Lee McCarthy, a woman who gave up a 6 figure job to teaching knitting. Knitting is a zen. I know, because that’s what I do in my spare time. Jane I’d be glad to teach you. Maybe it’s time for me to contact my contact again to see if she is interested in a chat.
I have admired Pauley from afar as someone who set high standards. Again another parallel here, her new job with telling stories about people reinventing themselves in mid life , is what I am attempting to do with a Think Tank called Navigating Change. It is comprised of more than 40 people with very diverse career backgrounds who have committed to help each other and others at large. Navigating Change is nearly a year old. We hope to be a force to reckon with on a state level and beyond. We would love to be a beacon of light for people looking to find a way out of this economic crisis, and be able to capitalize on their passions as they search for a new career.
Navigating Change’s motto: “Bright Minds Connecting Passion to Opportunity.”
The 59 year old Pauley has been brutally honest about her life, which has been greatly appreciated. Think of the people she has helped with her book in 2004, “Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue.” which told the world that she is bipolar.
Go get em Jane, you continue to be a brilliant trail blazer and I’m right behind you.