J.C. Hayward, the Washington area’s first female news anchor, tomorrow will say goodbye to viewers for the final time as the face of the 5 p.m. news on WUSA-TV (Channel 9).
Darryll J. Green, president and general manager of the Gannett Co. Inc. station, announced yesterday that Ms. Hayward’s new title will be vice president for media outreach programs. She will continue to anchor the noon newscast and produce her weekly “J.C. & Friends” series.
“I’m extremely happy, and I’m also humbled by this promotion because it gives me the opportunity to not only be involved in the news department, but also to have an active voice in determining the direction that the station takes overall,” Ms. Hayward said in an interview.
Ms. Hayward anchored the 5 p.m. newscast for 34 years. She said she discussed leaving with station managers for the past four years, before deciding it was time.
“There’s a time to plant and a time to pluck up what’s been planted … and it’s time for me to step aside,” she said, paraphrasing Ecclesiastes 3:2. “I have no regrets. It’s been a fantastic ride.”
Todd McDermott, who had co-anchored the 5 p.m. broadcast, will continue in that role at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tracey Neale and Derek McGinty will be the co-anchors at 5 p.m., Mr. Green said.
Ms. Neale will remain co-anchor at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., and Mr. McGinty remains the anchor of “9News Tonight” at 7 p.m.
“It’s an honor for me to be taking over for a real trailblazer in our industry,” said Ms. Neale, who was an intern at the station years ago and has followed Ms. Hayward’s career since then.
WUSA’s new anchor lineup could provide a much-needed boost to the CBS affiliate’s local evening news ratings, which are at or near the bottom at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
In 1995, Ms. Hayward was awarded the Board of Governors Award, a local Emmy given for “truly outstanding achievement and unique accomplishment of some duration and durability.” She is a board member of the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP, Summer Opera Theatre Company, United Black Fund and Montgomery County Hospice Caring.
After the broadcast tomorrow, Ms. Hayward said, she will take two weeks off to spend on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.