Belva Davis, a trailblazing journalist and Bay Area television fixture, has announced that she will retire from the anchor chair later this year.
Raised in Oakland, Davis was the first black female TV journalist on the West Coast and has been in broadcast journalism for almost half a century. She currently hosts the public affairs program, "This Week in Northern California," on KQED, a job she has held for 19 years. Her final broadcast is set for Nov. 9, according to a news release issued by the station.
Over her career, Davis has reported on some of the most prominent stories of her time, including the UC Berkeley Free Speech Movement, the birth of the Black Panthers, the Peoples Temple cult that ended in the mass suicides at Jonestown, the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the onset of the AIDS epidemic, and the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania that first put Osama bin Laden on the FBI's Most Wanted List.
Davis will lead KQED's coverage of the 2012 local and national elections before departing. KQED plans to celebrate her career throughout the year, according to the station.
"I have enjoyed a unique and long career here in the Bay Area and have been witness to some of the most explosive stories of the last half century. I'm truly thankful for the support of everyone at KQED and the loyalty of our audiences throughout my time on the air," said Davis. "I began my career with the coverage of the 1964 elections, and I'm thrilled that I will be devoting my last months on the air to the elections of 2012."
KQED president John Boland described Davis as an "icon of fair, thorough and local journalism."
"She has opened up so many doors for women and African-Americans in television and beyond," he said. "We count ourselves lucky to have had such a trailblazer as part of the KQED family."
Before arriving at KQED, Davis anchored news programs on Bay Area stations KPIX-TV and KRON-TV. She recently published her memoir, "Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman's Life in Journalism." Davis has received numerous awards for her journalism, including eight local Emmys.