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Catherine Anaya A Story to Inspire Others

May 09, 2014
Catherine Anaya

Catherine Anaya has come a long way, from a shy girl in Santa Ana, California to the main news anchor for CBS KPHO TV 5 news and a well-known public figure in the Valley. Born in 1967 to Martha Basco and Allan Anaya, Catherine lived for eight years with both parents before they divorced. Her father raised her until the age of eleven. She then moved to her mother’s care, developing a strong bond that would be the foundation of her later success in life.

During her childhood and teen years, Catherine developed the determination to succeed, recalling that she struggled to understand why others viewed her as “not good enough” due to her race and economic status.

Prior to starting college at the University of Southern California in 1985, Catherine’s introduction to journalism began with a job at the Daily Trojan campus newspaper. During her sophomore year, she became interested in the field of broadcast journalism. There were few Latinas working as television newscasters in the late 1980s, but she discovered Linda Alvarez, who anchored on the Los Angeles KNBC station. She began to watch Linda and learn.

Seeking to gain broadcast journalism experience, she pursued an internship at KNBC. By the time she graduated from USC with her Communications degree in 1989, KNBC offered her a vacation relief position for the summer. At the age of 22, Catherine got her break when KRGV-TV Channel 5 in Weslaco, Texas hired her as a weekday morning news anchor and reporter. A morning anchor position with WSBT-T V Channel 22 in South Bend, Indiana was the next step. Catherine became the first Latina to co-anchor the station’s morning news.

The move to Arizona came in 1992 when KPNX-T V Channel 12 in Phoenix offered Catherine a position as Saturday morning co-anchor and weekday reporter. During this time, she married, gave birth to a daughter, Briana, and eventually moved into a weekday morning and noon anchor position.

By 1998, Catherine took on the weekday anchor position for KCBS-TV Channel 2 in Los Angeles, along side anchors such as Linda Alvarez, the first Latina in Los Angeles to anchor an English language news broadcast five nights a week. 

Working with respected veteran newscasters such as Anne Martin taught Catherine the importance of dedication to the job, professionalism at the highest level, and to support other women in and out of the newsroom. Catherine soon earned her first Emmy award in 1999 for her story, “Ashley’s Courage.”

Catherine’s career made a sharp turn in 2002 when the television station ended her contract. She was five months pregnant with her son at the time. Bolstered by her mother’s encouragement, Catherine found work as a special correspondent for the network news show, Extra.

In 2002, three days after the birth of her son Christian, KPHO-T V Channel 5 in Phoenix called her for a position as the noon and 5 o’clock news anchor. By 2004, Catherine had moved into the prime time news anchor position for Channel 5, the only Latina since Linda Alvarez to anchor a main evening newscast. She became an important public figure for the local Latino community, and her community involvement increased. Phoenix Magazine voted her as “Best TV Newcomer” in 2003.

Her biggest honors have come with the achievement of three Emmy awards, all for reporting. Other special memories include anchoring the 2004 post-Presidential debate special with Walter Cronkite, and giving the convocation for ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2009.

Catherine’s personal life has changed in recent years. She and her first husband ended their marriage in 2007. She remarried in 2013 and added two more children into her life.

Catherine provides an example of the success a Latina can achieve in her career, but, she says, “It’s not all about the job but what you do with the job that matters.”