Lu Ann Cahn Tells Us Why She’s Leaving NBC 10

The station is losing one of its best.

Emmy-winning journalist Lu Ann Cahn has been a fixture at NBC 10 since 1987, where she has been an investigative and special assignment reporter. But now, after 27 years, Cahn is leaving her job behind. Here, she tells us why.

You are one of NBC 10’s most respected talents. Why leave now?

My life started kind of taking another path. There are other things I really want to do, and I realized that those things were constantly competing with reporting. I want to teach and write some more and continue to see where this journey takes me. Management has been saying, “Stay! Stay!” It is a hard decision. It’s been a long road. I’ve been in broadcast news really since I was 18 years old. Life is short. I really know that. I’ve had so many medical issues, breast cancer, kidney cancer, I’ve lost quite a few body parts. And I started to feel like I was repeating myself in what I was doing. It’s time to blaze a new trail.

How is your health?

I just had my 23-year checkup with my oncologist, and he said, “You’re great!” I’m fine. I’m so far out from both cancers. Up through this year, they checked me out twice a year and watched me like a hawk. Now they just say show up for a mammogram once a year. They are throwing me back into the pool of survivors. Good to go.

I’m in really good health, I have a lot of energy, and it’s a good time to try something new. Of course, I’ve already been doing some of this. I’ve been writing, traveling around the country doing public speaking, professional speaking. I really think that’s the direction I need to take.

Is there any particular investigation from your career that stands out?

The one we did that won a national Emmy. We called it “Dirty Little Secret.” We exposed politicians running an illegal bar in Delaware County. We did some incredible undercover work and were so proud of it. We really invested a lot of time. We really did that story right. We exposed politicians who thought they were above the law. The cherry on top was winning the national Emmy. We went up against every best investigative story out of every major market in the country. It was very nice to have Bob Schieffer hand us that award.

You mentioned that the story took you a lot of time. Given how fast everything needs to move these days and with all of the cutbacks, and now that you’re leaving, are we in danger of losing the investigative team?

There’s always a danger of it. It takes a lot of time and resources. But viewers really do want investigative reporting. We are building up the investigative unit again, so there’s this new blood and new energy.

It’s always a tough decision, though. For 10 years, I was given all the resources I needed for an investigative unit, which contributed to our success. But the station was flush with money at that time. And then there was no money to put in. But I think we’re seeing a swing back. I’m very hopeful.

But you’ve also done a lot of reporting outside of the investigative realm.

Yes, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 35, I went on the air and told my story, before people really went public with that kind of thing. This was before all the pink ribbons and marches. I was terrified that I wasn’t going to survive, and so I wasn’t going to go down quietly. Still today, I have women come up to me and say, I got my first mammogram because of you. That’s an amazing thing to me.

And I’ve really gotten to do a lot of different things. I was the first weekend morning anchor, and I co-hosted the defunct 10 Show for a year. But I knew and management always knew that my strength was on the street.

They sent me to two Olympics. I was in Lillehammer for the Nancy-Tanya debacle. I was in Atlanta for the bomb. I was sent to Israel twice. I was in Waco. I was in New York the day after 9/11. I have been able to report on some of the most incredible events of our time. I couldn’t have had a better career. I am very lucky and grateful.

And the other thing is that I’ve gotten to mentor hundreds of interns. Literally hundreds. Some of them are working side-by-side with me right now. Many are all over the country. That’s one of the biggest rewards and a lasting legacy.

So what’s next?

Since my book (I Dare Me) came out, I really didn’t have the chance to embrace it and go on a real book tour. So I’m doing that. It’s called 30 Days and 30 Dares. I’m getting into a car (Subaru is giving me a free one!), and I will travel for 30 days around the country, sharing dares with fans, readers and friends. I’m going to start with the polar bear plunge on January 1st in Atlantic City.

And then I have a good idea of what’s happening after that, but I can’t talk about it yet. It is something I really care deeply about. Stay tuned.

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.

Previously: Lu Ann Cahn’s I Dare Me Chronicles Her Quest to Do Something New Every Day: The NBC 10 reporter and author talks about the motivation behind her new book.