Ruth Ashton Taylor
Ruth Ashton Taylor
April 20, 1922
Long Beach, California, U.S.
Ruth Ashton Taylor (born April 20, 1922) is an American retired television and radio newscaster, with a career in broadcasting that spanned over 50 years. She was the first female newscaster on television in Los Angeles and the West Coast. She has received many awards and honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Early life and education
A native of Los Angeles, Ruth Ashton graduated in 1939 from Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Taylor completed her undergraduate degree at Scripps College. She relocated to New York City thereafter, receiving a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1944.
When she first began as a writer and producer there, she had no thoughts of going on air as, to her knowledge, it simply wasn't done in major news markets. According to Ashton, CBS management didn't want to broadcast women because they "just didn't like those squeaky voices". However, by 1949, she was on the air, interviewing such notable individuals as Albert Einstein. Eventually, she was transferred to a religious program, and, disappointed by her exclusion from news broadcasting, she left CBS radio in New York and returned to Los Angeles.
In 1951, she became the first woman in Los Angeles or on the West Coast on television news when she took a job with LA's KNXT-TV (now KCBS). Although originally hired to cover the "Women's Angle", she has indicated in interviews that the lack of conventional roles for women in broadcasting gave her considerable freedom in the stories she selected to cover. In 1958, she left briefly to work as a public information officer at a college before returning in 1962. She officially retired in 1989, but continued occasionally contributing into her 70s. As a news reporter and program host, she became an influential figure on subsequent female journalists, with numerous industry awards and a career that included notable interviews with such diverse people as Jimmy Carter and Jimmy Durante.
Honors and awards
During her time in broadcasting, Ashton Taylor became a widely known and celebrated figure. In 1983, The Los Angeles Times indicated that she had a reputation as "one of the best newspeople in television". A 2007 article in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media described her as "one of the most recognizable people on radio and television in Los Angeles"
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- Conway, Mike (Sep 2007). "A guest in our living room: the television newscaster before the rise of the dominant anchor". Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. Retrieved 2008-09-08.[dead link]
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- "TV Journalist reluctantly becomes a Hollywood Star". Daily News of Los Angeles. 1990-12-11. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
- 2008 interview, CBS
- Ruth Ashton Taylor interviews Governor of California George Deukmejian on KCBS Los Angeles, 1990