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On the retirement of a journalism icon

I attended a surprise retirement party this morning at KQED in San Francisco for Belva Davis, whose last episode of “This Week In Northern California” will air at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

Belva DavisI’ll not recount her long, storied career here; we’ve already carried a great story this week about her amazing contributions to journalism. But I’ll tell you what I told her today: Whatever I’ve done so far in my career, and whatever I do in the future, having worked with Belva Davis will always be among the honors and privileges of which I’m proudest.

Calling her a trailblazer – while certainly true – doesn’t adequately describe the honesty, integrity, professionalism and kindness she has brought to her work every day over these many decades. As some speakers at today’s party said, she embodies the “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” credo of journalism, but never in a mean-spirited way – she has had a keen sense of the right questions to ask, and the unerring bravery to ask them.

Her retirement, while so very well-deserved, will be a loss felt by so very many journalists and viewers all over Northern California. She can be succeeded, but never replaced.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Best wishes to Belva in retirement.

    Anyone except me remember “News Room” on KQED?

  • John W

    As a relative newcomer to the Bay Area, I’ve never followed her TV work. But I heard radio talk show host John Rothmann interview her about her life and then read her autobiography. Her personal and professional story is truly amazing, but the book also has a lot of post WW2 history about Oakland and the Bay Area.