By Mimi Towle
In MAY 2004, CBS’s Dana King traveled to Rwanda to report on the ten year commemoration of the genocide. That same year she did postwar/pre-presidential election stories in Afganistan. In 2002 she filed war stories aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, and in September 2001 she was the first Bay Area broadcast journalist at ground zero.
King didn’t set out to expose the world’s injustice and heartbreak as a way of life. At the beginning of her career the Cleveland, Ohio, native had planned on running a television station. “I started in the business in the sales department and sold airtime for five years,” she recalls. “One day, the general manager asked if I wanted to become a reporter, and I thought he was kidding.” After a first day she describes as “worse than terrible,” she began to study her craft, took advice from trusted colleagues and 20 years later enjoys her seat as the anchor on Channel 5’s six and 11 o’clock news.
When she’s not spending time with her family, King pursues her other passion: rowing competitively with the Marin Rowing Association, with whom she can be found sculling on the bay up to six days a week. We sat down with the ten-year Marin resident to get a sense of why she calls Marin home.
You could live anywhere. Why Marin? We moved to the Bay Area a decade ago and knew that we wanted to live in Marin County. Our children were in elementary school at the time and I wanted to keep them in public schools. I assessed district test scores and picked the top five schools, which then dictated where we were going to live. We rented in Ross for two years but ended up buying a home in Nicasio.
What makes you happy in Marin? I truly appreciate and take advantage of the open space.
What gets on your nerves here? The proliferation of bumper stickers. My favorite [example] is a vehicle I spotted one day while driving. It was loaded down with political ideology: save the trees/whale/spotted owl, something about kindness, impeach Bush, peace, et cetera. Ironically, it was an SUV with a Christmas tree on top of it!
What’s your personal idea of luxury? Honestly, it’s the freedom to be whatever is required in that moment.
What do you value every day? The mundane and the sublime and recognizing there may not be a difference between the two.
What person has influenced you the most? My mother.
What’s been the most fulfilling moment in your work? When I stopped waiting for approval and did the work I thought was important.
What’s a Marin stereotype that works? That everyone is a card-carrying liberal.
What stereotype doesn’t fit? That everyone is a card-carrying liberal.
What’s your desert island book or album? The entire Calvin and Hobbes collection.
Do you have a favorite Marin view? I love rowing along the Corte Madera Creek in the shadow of Mount Tam.
What do you like about yourself? That I’m still learning.
What is your favorite journey? Coming home.
How do you want to be remembered? That I was fair, honest and optimistic.