Paula Zahn
1956 -   Class of 2006  Media Arts
Paula Zahn represents the best in the category of Media or Performing Arts. She has worked in broadcasting since 1978. Paula was anchor for CNN-TV’s weeknight primetime evening program, Paula Zahn Now, a headline-driven program offering live newsmaker interviews and meaningful discussion and analysis from an exclusive roster of contributors. Previously, she anchored the network’s morning news program, which she helped launch in 2001.

Born in 1956 in Omaha, Nebraska, Paula moved to Naperville, Illinois, with her family in 1965 and lived there through the end of her college career in 1978. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, attending on a cello scholarship.

Paula began her career in broadcast journalism in Dallas, Texas. In 1979 she moved to SanDiego, and later, to Houston, Boston, and Los Angeles, before she joined ABC News in 1987 to host “The Health Show” and anchor news segments for “Good Morning America.” In addition to these programs, she co-hosted or co-anchored numerous broadcasts including the 1992 and 1994 Olympic Games. Prior to joining CNN in September of 2001, Paula spent ten years with CBS News, where she co-hosted “CBS This Morning.”

The outstanding artistic documentaries that define Paula Zahn’s long and successful career have had great impact in the United States and around the world. She has brought the major leaders of the world into homes around the globe through her informal chats, where she has asked these leaders intimate and politically sensitive questions. Her interviews of dozens of dignitaries, both those revered and those feared, were delivered with poise and charm, as she creatively drew out the true personality of each person interviewed. Among the leaders she has interviewed are King Abdullah of Jordan, Colin Powell, Fidel Castro, Mikhail Gorbachev, Stokely Carmichael, Winnie Mandela, and U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford. Her interviews of famous athletes, such as Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio, and actors and actresses, like Katherine Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and Warren Beatty, have been equally revealing and personal.

Asked what she considers her worthy contributions she stated "This Midwestern girl pinches herself everyday when I reflect on the incredibly fulfilling, stimulating and rich experiences I've had in broadcasting over the last 28 years. To witness history through a front row seat is such a privilege. But what has given me the greatest satisfaction are the stories I've reported on that have provided potentially lifesaving information. Nothing is more important in journalism than using our reach and our access to information to try to improve lives."

Paula has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including an impressive seven Emmys, the National Commission of Working Women Broadcasting Award, a Freddy Award, and an AWRT Award for reporting on gender bias in education. In 2004, she was honored by the Museum of Radio and Television and received the Matrix Award for Broadcasting from New York Women In Communications and a National Headliner Award for “Fall of Saddam.”

Paula has also been saluted for her efforts on behalf of cancer patients, She was the recipient of an Albert Einstein College of Medicine Spirit Achievement Award, the Second Annual Cancer Awareness Award by the Congressional Families action for Cancer Awareness, the Spirit of Life Award from the City of Hope Cancer Center, and a citation from New York Beth Israel Medical Center. In 2004, she received the Love of Life Foundation’s Tavel-Reznik Award in support of cancer prevention.

An experienced cellist, Paula Zahn began playing when she was only five years old. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1992 performing with the New York Pops Orchestra, and performed there again in 2004 and 2005 with the international Sejong Soloists.
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 Former Anchor for CNN-TV’s weeknight primetime evening prog