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Dedicating my final COMS speech to Ann Curry

December 4, 2012

*Today in COMS 131, I gave my ceremonial speech. We could choose any topic and any occasion, and I decided to present Ann Curry with the Allison Hammond Lifetime Achievement Award. Here is the transcript of the speech:

I remember when I first met Ann Curry. It was March 28, 2008. My family had been standing at Rockefeller Plaza outside of the Today Show for about three hours, and it was pretty cold. My legs were shaking, but I didn’t care. I held my sign, which said Ann Curry is my role model, proudly. Ann was substituting for Meredith Vieira that day, and I couldn’t be happier because I thought Ann was absolutely awesome. Then, a little before 8 o’clock, Ann walked outside to greet the crowd. She shook my hand, she read my sign, and she gave me a hug. She ended up talking to my family about four times and gave my mom handwarmers. My dad chatted with some people who work for the Today Show, and they all said Ann is completely genuine and kind-hearted. That’s extremely evident in everything she does.

Today, I am here to present the first ever Allison Hammond Lifetime Achievement Award to my role model in journalism: Ann Curry. Ann Curry deserves every award and all the acclaim because Ann Curry is a groundbreaker.

Allison Hammond Lifetime Achievement AwardIn her 15 years with the Today Show, Ann reported on stories no one else would do, highlighted her empathetic personality, and became a role model for aspiring journalists everywhere.

Several times during her 15 years with Today, Ann traveled to places like Darfur and the Middle East. She interviewed important and controversial figures. She gave voices to those who had none because she cares about the future of the world. She yearned to tell the stories of those whose lives had been ravaged by things like the genocide in Darfur and get their voices out there so people would understand the situation occurring.

The goal of a journalist is to inform the public; Ann did that, but she did it to a degree that no one else did because she sought out the stories that no one else would cover. She told stories that mattered and made her audience care about these stories too. Ann Curry’s humanitarian reporting is unparalleled because she cares about what she does.

Speaking of caring, Ann Curry is one of the most empathetic journalists on television. In fact, when fellow Today Show reporter Hoda Kotb wanted to tell her story after being diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, she chose Ann Curry to tell the story. Ann is a responsible journalist, and she makes sure her interview subjects know they do matter. In addition, Ann donated her hair to Locks of Love years back live on air. Ann Curry’s amount of empathy and genuineness as a journalist is unparalleled.

Because of this, Ann Curry is a role model for many aspiring journalists. I’ve known I want to be a journalist since I was 13 years old, and that is because of years of watching the Today Show and Ann Curry. Because of Ann, I know it is important to cover stories that mean something, rather than the latest celebrity gossip, as interesting as that may be. Because of Ann, I understand the significance that telling one person’s story can have. Because of Ann, I know it is possible for someone to report from Antarctica and Mount Kilimanjaro. Because of Ann, I know it is vital to not let my role as a journalist go to waste. Ann never lets her role go to waste.

In any position and every story, from her report on the 1987 Los Angeles earthquake to reuniting sisters torn apart by a tsunami, Ann Curry makes her role as a journalist matter.

When Ann left the Today Show in June, she told audiences, “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.” Well, Ann, I’m here to tell you today that you did carry the ball over the finish line through your humanitarian reporting, empathy, and responsibilities as a journalist.

You changed the world, and you continue to report the stories that make a difference. You, more than anyone, deserve this lifetime achievement award, even though you are surely nowhere near finished. Thank you for the impact you have made and for being the journalist you are.


From → Sophomore

  1. Paul Valdes Jr permalink

    I totally agree with your well written speech. Ann Curry epitomized to me what a reporter is and should be.

  2. Linda permalink

    GREAT piece, and Ann is very deserving! My daughters and I were in the crowd one morning 4 years ago, and Ann took so much time to greet everyone in the crowd. Long after the show was over she was still shaking hands and posing for pictures. I was truly sad when Ann was relieved of her hosting duties, and have only watched Today sporadically since. She is one of the best reporters in the business.

  3. Keith Nixon permalink

    I totally agree with the words written about Ann. More need to follow her lead.

    • I completely agree. Those who aspire to a career in journalism should look to Ann as a model of an incredible journalist. Thank you for the comment.

  4. Well done. I agree with everything you said. The Today Show is just not the same without her. I miss seeing her on TV. She has been on very seldom as far as I can tell.

    • I miss seeing her on TV as well. She does a few stories here and there – had great reporting on Rock Center about Hurricane Sandy last month. Thank you for the comment.

  5. Rebecca Kapsis permalink

    Ann Curry is someone that everyone can emulate no matter who they are and what they do. Ann is the definition of Grace, I know the world is a better place because Ann Curry is on it…….

  6. Marcia Greene permalink

    Yup, Curry is the real deal. Nice piece, Allison. And ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK !

  7. Laurel permalink

    Ann Curry displayed dignity, empathy, and professionalism in her reporting. No one in my house watches the Today Show anymore. The Today Show is worse than a soap opera.

    • And she continues to display all of those things. Watching the Today Show and Ann Curry gave me my first inkling that maybe journalism would be an interesting field to pursue. My mom had the Today Show on every morning before school throughout my life before college; without that, I could be on an entirely different path in my life right now. Thank you for the comment.

  8. Awesome ! Please join various Facebook pages like Bring Ann Curry Back to Today; Keep Ann Curry on Today ; Boycott NBC and Today Show

  9. Margaret permalink

    Incredibly moving and spoke on behalf of Ann Curry’s loyal supporters. Good job. Thank you for sharing. Ann Curry is just not an inspiration to journalists but to ALL professions, genders, and ages.She’s the REAL deal and so grateful to have been exposed to her profession these last 14 years and continue so. Proud fan and supporter.


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