As a journalist and anchor, Paula Zahn has distinguished herself in the field of broadcast news. Her insightful interviews with newsmakers from the worlds of politics, sports, business, science, and entertainment have made her a reliable and trusted source for breaking news and current affairs.
Currently, Zahn is the host of On the Case with Paula Zahn, an investigative series in production for Investigative Discovery. The series will premiere in the Fall 2009. She also co-hosts Sunday Arts, a weekly arts showcase for WNET in New York.
Previously, Zahn anchored CNN’s weeknight prime-time evening program, Paula Zahn Now, a program where newsmakers debated controversial issues of the day, and the network’s flagship morning news program, American Morning with Paula Zahn, which she helped launch in fall 2001.
In 2003, Zahn anchored and provided the latest news on Operation Iraqi Freedom, interviewing multiple guests, including family members of troops, diplomats, Iraqi-Americans, and politicians. On her first day with CNN, Zahn began continuous on-scene coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York. In the course of that reporting, she interviewed multiple rescue workers, survivors, dignitaries, and officials, including Jordan’s King Abdullah, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former New York Governor George Pataki, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Richard Holbrooke, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Before joining CNN in September 2001, Zahn hosted The Edge with Paula Zahn, a daily news program on Fox News Channel. She joined Fox in 1999 as anchor of its evening news, The Fox Report. Previously, she spent 10 years at CBS News, where she co-hosted CBS This Morning and anchored the CBS Evening News Saturday Edition. She also co-anchored the 1994 Olympic Winter games in Lillehammer, Norway and served as prime-time co-host of the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France. Earlier, Zahn served as co-anchor of World News This Morning and anchored news segments of Good Morning America on ABC. Zahn joined ABC in November 1987 as anchor of The Health Show.
Zahn began her career at WFAA-TV in Dallas. In 1979, she moved to San Diego to work for KFMB-TV. Zahn also worked at KPRC-TV in Houston, WNEV-TV (now WHDH-TV) in Boston, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles before joining ABC News.
Throughout her career, Zahn has interviewed multiple key newsmakers, including former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford, Cuban President Fidel Castro, Bishop Desmond Tutu, H.M. Queen Noor of Jordan, former President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, former first lady Betty Ford, civil rights leader Stokely Carmichael, and human rights activist Winnie Mandela. Zahn has also interviewed athletes and artists, including tennis players Venus and Serena Williams; baseball players Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio; actors Faye Dunaway, Sophia Loren, Katherine Hepburn, and Warren Beatty; and musical artists Mariah Carey, Alicia Keyes and Carly Simon.
Zahn has received numerous honors and awards, including eight Emmys, the National Commission of Working Women Broadcasting Award, and an American Women in Television and Radio Award for reporting on gender bias in education. Zahn also received an Albert Einstein College of Medicine Spirit Achievement Award, the Second Annual Cancer Awareness Award by the Congressional Families Action for Cancer Awareness, the Spirit of Life Award from the City of Hope Cancer Center, and a citation from New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center for her contributions to the battle against breast cancer. In 2004, Zahn received the Love of Life Foundation’s Tavel-Reznik Award in support of cancer prevention, the Matrix Award for Broadcasting from New York Women in Communications, and a National Headliner Award for “Fall of Saddam.” She was also honored by the Museum of Radio and Television for her body of work.
In 2006, Zahn won a Gracie Award for Paula Zahn Now’s exclusive interview with Carmen bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s sister; a National Headliner award for the program’s newscast about the emergency landing of a Jet Blue plane; and a Freddie award for her interview with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson about his family’s dealings with breast cancer. In 2007, Zahn won a Gracie Award for Paula Zahn Now: Dana Reeve: A Tribute. Also in 2007, she is received an Achievement Award for Broadcasting from the Varadi Ovarian Initiative for Cancer Education (VOICE).
Zahn, an experienced cellist who began playing at age five, made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1992, performing with the New York Pops orchestra. She returned to Carnegie Hall in 2004 and 2005 to play with the Sejong Orchestra at their annual benefit concert.
While at CBS, she played on-air with cellist Yo Yo Ma and flutist James Galway and the Muppets! She also performed with the National Symphony Orchestra as it saluted outgoing conductor Mstislav Rostropovich and she joined Rostropovich in St. Petersburg, Russia to play with a 100-cello orchestra he conducted.
Zahn earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., which she attended on a cello scholarship. She also studied at Cambridge University and at the University of Valencia in Valencia, Spain.