On July 24, Paula Zahn officially announced she will be leaving CNN, turning her prime-time slot over to Campbell Brown. Paula’s final program will be Thursday August 2. Others CNN reporters will fill in until November, when Brown — newly hired from NBC News will start, CNN said Tuesday.
Paula Zahn has been a member of the CNN team for nearly six years since jumping from Fox News Channel — her first day on the job was September 11, 2001. co-anchoring coverage of the 9/11 attacks with another new hire at the time, Aaron Brown. Later that fall, Zahn began hosting American Morning. In September 2003, Paula began Paula Zahn Now
I found this video on YouTube with some clips of Paula on her first day. I will forewarn you that there is some language and images that might not want to be viewed by everyone. Nothing extreme but I know a lot of people still have a hard time watching clips from September 11th, I know I do.
Although her ratings are up this year, Paula has had a tough time competing in a time slot dominated by Bill O'Reilly on Fox News Channel and Keith Olbermann at MSNBC. Rumors have spread for months that CNN was looking to make a change. "As all of the stories were being written, (CNN U.S. President) Jon Klein and I were talking very amicably about where we both wanted to go," Paula told The Associated Press. "You're not going to survive very long in this business if you internalize every rumor that is out there. To a certain extent, my staff and I were able to drown out the noise and do what we were expected to do." She and veteran executive producer Victor Neufeld had found a niche in recent months reporting extensively on issues of race relations, and Zahn said she was proud of that work. CNN had several times changed the focus of Zahn's show looking for something to catch on, including a focus on politics and emphasis on longer-form stories. "We are grateful for her dedication, professionalism and class over the last six years," Klein said.
The following is the statement that Paula released to her co-workers at CNN,
It is with mixed emotions that I announce my departure from CNN, effective Thursday, August 2nd. I'd like to take this opportunity to express my tremendous respect for my good friends and colleagues, their talent and high standards. It's been an extraordinary journey since my first day on the job, September 11th, 2001. During my 6 years with CNN, we've covered the war in Iraq, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the death of a Pope and the massacre at Virginia Tech. I am enormously proud of the work we've done covering these stories as a team. Now is the right time for CNN and me to move ahead on different paths. I wish good luck and success to everyone I was fortunate to work with. And for the first time in 30 years, I plan to take a break between jobs and catch my breath before I take on my next role.
She said she expects to stay in television after taking some time off. "For the first time in 30 years, I'm going to take a break here," said Zahn, 51. Hopefully Paula will get to spend some time with her three kids Haley, Jared, and Austin.
All of us at All Things CNN want to thank Paula for all her hard work and dedication to bring forth hard hitting news with truth and compassion for the last six years and we want to wish her all the best in all her future endeavours!!! Hopefully we will be able to get Paula’s goodbye next week uploaded.