As a journalist, parenting expert and mom blogger, I’ve had the great honor and pleasure of being a guest on the Today show, where I’ve waxed poetic on everything from back-to-school basics and the best ways to choose a nanny to children’s fashion and how to talk to kids about sex. It’s a humbling experience to be a newswoman on a national stage with the very journalists who, every morning, blaze trails in the livingrooms of millions of Americans, but no one—and I mean no one—made me feel more comfortable, more special, more at home, than Ann Curry, who, today, signed off as host of the nation’s most popular morning news program.
No matter what she was doing, no matter where she was headed, she would always stop, grab my hands, look me in my eyes and welcome me to the Today show—a heart-to-heart gesture that, I thought, spoke to the kind of person she is. That very simple act is indicative of the way she said her farewell today—falls directly in line with the heart, emotion and mettle she showed today when she offered up an emotional, teary goodbye to her morning show family—Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Natalie Morales and those of us who woke up to her lovely face, gentle smile and expert news acumen every day:
This is not easy to say but today is going to be my last morning as a regular cohost of Today. I will still be a part of the Today show family but I’m going to have a new title and a new role. And this is not as I expected to ever leave this couch after 15 years, but I am so grateful, especially to all of you who watch because Matt and I and everyone who sits on this couch, we often call ourselves a family. But you are the real Today show family. You are why I have ventured into dangerous places and interviewed dictators and jumped off of planes and off of bridges and climbed mountains and landed in the South Pole and convinced the Dalai Lama to come live in our studio. You know I have loved you and I wanted to give you the world and I still do.
Now, they’ve given me some fancy titles which essentially means that I’m going to get tickets to every big story we want to cover with a terrific team of my choosing. We’re going to go all over the world and all over this country. At a time when this country and this world needs clarity, we’re going to do great work I hope and we’re being given the chance to do the work that most of us got into journalism to do. And these stories are going to air on all of the platforms of NBC News including here on Today.
And after all of these years, I don’t even know if I can sleep in anymore. I’m not even sure I can. But I know every time I wake up, I’ll be missing you and I’ll be believing in you. I love all of you, especially all of you behind the scenes, that are behind the cameras. I Love you guys, Mark and Anthony all of you guys. And I love all of our brilliant brilliant producers.
And for all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line, but man I did try. So all of you who did watch thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me touch yours.
Though she’d only been in the anchor’s chair for about a year, Ann has been on the Today show for more than 15 years—an astounding career that, as a journalist and a lifelong fan of Today, I’ve always admired. Be clear: She’s a helluva journalist. Period. The Today show thought nothing of dropping her in war zones, in remote parts of the world where people were suffering, out of planes, on top of mountains and in front of the world’s leaders—confident in the fact that she would deliver a powerful, factual story with great impact and a breadth of compassion, traits that are unique and refreshing in this new world order of journalism, which puts emphasis on opinion and ugliness rather than fact and a genuine concern for the world around us. It is these traits that made Ann a standout journalist—one who deserves credit and reverence for an incredible job done.
I’m not quite sure why Ann got just a five-minute send-off; after all, Meredith Viera, who’d been co-anchor opposite Lauer for just five years, got a week-long goodbye that culminated in a three-hour send-off replete with special guests, montages of her work and a musical goodbye involving the entire staff of the Today show. Ann deserved better. As did those of us who love and appreciate her and her work. But I rest easy knowing that, as an anchor-at-large, Ann will be leading the charge on hard news specials and segments for NBC News that will make all of us, particularly news junkies like me, quite proud.
Farewell, sweet Ann Curry. We’re going to miss waking up to you on the Today show (and your ill shoe, dress and winter coat game!) after all these years.