One of the city’s finest exports boasts a broadcasting legacy spanning more than three decades—and she will soon return to face her largest audience from a familiar perch.
Renowned journalist Jane Pauley has served both local and national news outlets ranging from Indianapolis’s WISH-TV to NBC’s Today. On Monday, Dec. 30, the native Hoosier will hold that morning-show audience’s attention again as she joins her former Today co-anchor Bryant Gumbel and current anchor Matt Lauer to lead on the show.
Although Monday will represent a reunion for Pauley and Gumbel—who jointly reigned on Today for seven years—Pauley has recently appeared on the show each month. Her “Life Reimagined Today” series spotlights Americans age 50 and over as they seek to reinvent themselves. The AARP-produced segment is just the latest among the proud Hoosier’s journalistic ventures.
A graduate of Indiana University’s 1972 class, Pauley quickly became a household name. The fresh-faced girl next door first captured the heart of the Midwest. At WISH-TV, she served as a general assignment reporter, working her way up to a noon anchor role and then the evening news telecast’s anchor desk.
Pauley then went to Chicago’s WMAQ-TV, where she became the first woman to co-anchor a nightly news program in Chicago television history. Her substantive work on that NBC station soon won her a coveted spot on the Today show, where she replaced the legendary Barbara Walters as co-anchor. Pauley was just 25 years old.
After a 13-year run with Today, Pauley co-anchored Dateline NBC with Stone Phillips, a staunch work ethic, and the geniality that has served her so well over time. She earned her own daytime program, The Jane Pauley Show, along with a cache of Emmys and other awards.
Still, at her core, Pauley remains a humble Hoosier. She returns to Indianapolis fairly regularly, visiting her old stomping grounds at Indiana University, exploring the city’s newer nooks and crannies, and chatting with us here at IM.