KCTV5 editor retires after 39 years at the station - KCTV5

Faces of Kansas City: KCTV5 editor retires after 39 years at the station

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Thirty-nine years ago a young woman began her career in TV news at KCTV5, and Friday will be her last day at channel 5.

Although viewers may not recognize her face, they've seen her work many, many times.

"I love the people I work with, you're all like family. I probably spend more time here than I do at home, so however dysfunctional, you're all family," said KCTV5 editor Charlene Pryor.

To understand how far Pryor has come in her career, viewers have to start at the beginning when she applied for a job at channel 5 back in 1970.

"I was not considered because I was a woman and they didn't think women belonged in news," she said.

It was a different era. President Richard Nixon was in the White House, feminists waged a political battle in their fight for women's rights and America was torn over the Vietnam war.

In 1974, Pryor returned to channel 5, determined to land a job.

"I started editing 16 mm film," she reminisced.

As an editor, it's her job to select and arrange the most compelling video to be used to help tell KCTV5's news stories and she's been involved in some big ones. Some of her memories include the Republican National Convention held in Kansas City in 1976.

"The Hyatt collapse is the biggest thing I'll remember," she said.

Pryor couldn't use some of the video of the walkway collapse in 1981 because it was simply too graphic - 114 people were killed and more than 200 injured.

"I was pleased to be able to work on the 30-year anniversary and I remembered every detail, every frame of film. It's forever on my mind," she said.

She won an Emmy award for her work in 1993 on a story about the AIDS quilt in Kansas City.

She fondly remembers meeting President Bill Clinton when he held a town hall meeting at KCTV5 and she said actor Charlton Heston was kind when he stopped by the station one afternoon.

Several years ago she took the advice of former news anchor Wendall Anschutz and joined a painting class.

"My main love is horses. I love to paint horses," Pryor said.

Her paintings are popular.

"Tom Watson bought one at the American Royal art show for his house in Hawaii. I was very tickled about that," Pryor said.

She'll have a lot more time to paint at her studio now and maybe she'll even pick up a new hobby.

"Somebody said, ‘what are you going to do when you retire?' and I said, ‘I'll guess I'll do what I want to do when I want to do it.' The possibilities are endless," Pryor said.

It was in 1970 that Pryor was told women didn't belong in a newsroom. KCTV5's Brad Stephens did a quick check of the current KCTV5 newsroom and nearly half of the news employees are women. The line, "You've come a long way, baby" definitely comes to mind.

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