Dana King, an award-winning Bay Area television fixture for 15 years, announced Wednesday that she is stepping down from her anchor post at KPIX (CBS 5) to pursue her art career.
King's final night on the news desk will be Friday.
"I've kind of been living my life in two worlds," said King, who a few years ago, began working toward earning a master's degree in classical sculpture from San Francisco's Academy of Art University. "I'm certainly proud of my achievements in journalism, but I also have this passion for my art. I guess it just came down to which world I wanted to be in at this point in my life."
King, 52, arrived at KPIX in 1997 after compiling an impressive resume that included network news stints with ABC's "Good Morning America Sunday" and the "CBS Morning News."
At KPIX, she gained a reputation as an anchor who didn't tether herself to the desk. She was the first Bay Area broadcast journalist to report from ground zero in the aftermath of 9/11. Her travels also took her to Honduras to report on the consequences of Hurricane Mitch; to Rwanda, to mark the 10-year commemoration of the genocide; and to Iraq, Afghanistan and Ghana, West Africa.
King's reporting from Honduras earned a regional Emmy award. Her work in Rwanda received two honors from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTNDA), including the Edward R. Murrow Award in 2005. She won another Murrow Award in 2008 for her stories from Ghana about the inhumane treatment of women accused of practicing witchcraft.
During King's tenure, KPIX's late-night newscasts went from being a perennial also-ran to a ratings powerhouse. In the recently completed November 2012 sweep, "CBS 5 Eyewitness News" was the Bay Area's most-watched 11 p.m. newscast.
King also drew attention for her on-camera appearance. In 2011, she ceased dying her brown hair and allowed the gray to shine through, calling it "a decision about matching my looks with my experience."
"I've reported stories from all over the world and yet I got more email reaction for going gray than anything else over my entire career," King said Wednesday. "And looking back, that might have been the beginning of a huge shift for me -- a move to really start following my heart."
Earlier this year, King moved across the bay to Oakland, purchasing a home and work compound that she shares with several other artists. She bemoaned the fact that when it came time to leave for the station, she would be forced to leave behind her sculpting and "clean the crud out of her hair and fingernails."
In a news release, King's longtime co-anchor, Ken Bastida, said, "I am honored to have shared co-anchoring duties with Dana, but as I have seen her transition from journalist to artist, I am happy to see her pursue this next phase of her life."
Dan Rosenheim, vice president and news director for "CBS 5 Eyewitness News," said KPIX will "take the time we need to make a thoughtful decision about her successor." ___