is one of a very small group of women who have achieved prominence
in American network news. Along with Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer
and Jane Pauley, Chung is one of the leading female journalists
on television. Until 1995 she co-anchored the CBS Evening News
with Dan Rather, as well as Eye to Eye with Connie Chung,
a primetime news hour. Following considerable controversy over her
interviewing style and reportorial skills, and during which it was
reported that Rather had never been happy with the co-anchor arrangement,
Chung parted ways with CBS in 1995.
her journalism career in 1969 as a copyperson at WTTG-TV, Washington,
D.C., a Metromedia affiliate, where she later became a newswriter
and on-air reporter. She first joined CBS News in 1971, working
as a Washington-based correspondent from 1971-76, covering Watergate,
Capitol Hill and the 1972 presidential campaign. In 1976 she joined
KNXT (now KCBS-TV) the CBS-owned television station in Los Angeles,
working on both local and network broadcasts. In her seven years
in Los Angeles, Chung co-anchored three daily newscasts, and was
a substitute anchor for the CBS Morning News and CBS News'
weekend and evening broadcasts. She also anchored CBS News' Newsbreak
for the Pacific time zones.
Chung left CBS
to join NBC News as a correspondent and anchor. Her assignments
included anchoring the Saturday edition of the NBC Nightly News,
NBC News at Sunrise, NBC Digests several primetime news specials
and the newsmagazine, 1986. She was also contributing correspondent
and substitute anchor on the NBC Nightly News broadcast.
Chung served as political analysis correspondent and podium correspondent
during the 1988 president campaign and political conventions.
When she joined
Dan Rather as co-anchor of the CBS Evening News, Chung became
only the second woman to hold a network anchor job, following Barbara
Walters' brief stint as co-anchor with Harry Reasoner on ABC in
the mid-1970s. The male-female anchor pairing, already a staple
of local news seemed designed also to capitalize on Chung's recognizability.
In the Q-ratings (a set of measurements provided by a company called
Marketing Evaluations, that gauge the popularity of people who appear
on television), Chung has always scored extremely high. At the lime
she was named co-anchor, she had one of the highest Q-ratings of
any woman in network news. In 1990 she was chosen "favorite interviewer"
in U.S. News & World Report's Best of America survey.
ways, Chung has foregrounded issues of concern to working women.
In 1990, she took the unusual step of announcing plans to postpone
her magazine series Face to Face With Connie Chung in order
to take time to conceive a child with her husband, syndicated daytime
television talk show host Maury Povich. Chung has also been part
of the trend toward using newscast anchors on prime-time programs.
Her work on nighttime news shows has sometimes drawn criticism,
as when the short-lived Saturday Night with Connie Chung
was tagged as "infotainment" and charged with undermining the credibility
of network news by using controversial techniques such as dramatic
re-enactments. Chung was again involved in controversy in early
l995, when in an interview with Kathryn Gingrich, the mother of
Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Chung urged her subject to whisper
her son's comments about First Lady Hilary Clinton "just between
us." The whisper was picked up by the microphone and used by Chung
for broadcast, drawing attacks on Chung's journalistic integrity.
This incident was followed by conflict over Chung's assignment to
cover the Oklahoma City bombing incident, CBS's apparent plans to
"demote" her to the position of weekend anchor, and possibly to
cancel her prime time program Eye to Eye with Connie Chung.
Accompanied by an almost palpable strain on the set of the CBS
Evening News, as well as by the program's declining ratings,
these events led to Chung's departure from CBS amidst charges of
sexism, and counter-charges of a lack of journalistic seriousness.
Photo courtesy of Connie Chung/ Tony Esparza
CHUNG. Born Constance Yu-Hwa Chung in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.,
20 August 1946. Educated at University of Maryland, B.A. in journalism,
1969. Married: Maurice (Maury) Richard Povich, 1984; children: Matthew
Jay. Reporter, WTTG-TV, Washington, 1969-71; correspondent, CBS
News, Washington, 1971-76; anchor, KNXT-TV (CBS), Los Angeles, 1976-83;
anchor, NBC News, 1983-89 and NBC News Specials, 1987-89; anchor,
Saturday Night With Connie Chung, CBS, CBS Evening News
(Sunday), 1989-92; co-anchor, CBS Evening News, 1993-95;
currently developing a news magazine show, with her husband, for
DreamWorks SKG, projected to begin Fall, 1998. Honorary degrees:
D.J., Norwich University, 1974; L.H.D., Brown University, 1987.
Honorary member: Pepperdine University broadcast club, 1981. Recipient:
Metro Area Mass Media Award, American Association of University
Women (AAUW), 1971; Outstanding Excellence in News Reporting and
Public Service Award, Chinese-American Citizens Alliance, 1973;
award for best TV reporting, Los Angeles Press Club, 1977; award
for outstanding TV broadcasting, Valley Press Club, 1977; Emmy Awards,
1978, 1980, and 1987; Peabody Award, 1980; Newscaster of the Year
Award, Temple Emmanuel Brotherhood, 1981; Portraits of Excellence
Award, B'nai B'rith, Pacific S.W. Region, 1980; First Amendment
Award, Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, 1981.
1983-89 NBC Nightly News (anchor and reporter)
1983-89 Today Show (anchor and reporter)
1983-89 News Digest (anchor and reporter)
1983-89 NBC News at Sunrise (anchor and reporter) 1985-86
American Almanac (co-host)
1985-86 1986 (co-host)
1989-95 CBS Evening News (reporter)
1989-90 Saturday Night with Connie Chung (host)
1990 Face to Face with Connie Chung (host)
1993-95 CBS Evening News (co-anchor)
1993-95 Eye to Eye with Connie Chung
1980 Terra Our World
1987 NBC News Report on America: Life in the Fat Lane
1987 Scared Sexless
1988 NBC News Reports on America: Stressed to Kill 1988 Everybody's
Anderson, Kurt. "Does Connie Chung Matter?" Time (New York),
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Bill. "Chung to Join Rather." The New York Times, 18 May
Jennet. "Broadcast Networking: Despite What You've Heard, the Women
of TV News Feel a Strong Sense of Solidarity." Working Woman
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Reuven. "Connie Chung at the Circus." The New Leader (New
York), 8 May 1995.
Future Affair." MediaWeek (Brewster, New York), 10 June 1996.
David H., and Gayle K. Yamada. Hard News: Women In Broadcast
Journalism. New York: Greenwood, 1987.
Larry. "Irreconcilable Ratings." Newsweek (New York), 5 June
Av. Newswatch: How TV Decides the News. New York: Simon and
Steve. "Weighing Anchors." Time (New York), 15 May 1995.