Signing Off in Chicago

After 33 years behind the desk,  a Chicago Anchor is signing off Tomorrow.

WLS Anchor Linda Yu is retiring on Wednesday, likely so they don't make her work on Thanksgiving. OK, maybe because it's the last day of the November book. 

Either way, Yu is signing off the same way she signed on....with class. 

On Wednesday Yu, 69, will anchor her final 4 p.m. newscast for WLS-Channel 7. She’s been a mainstay of the top-rated ABC-owned station since 1984, following a five-year run at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.

A native of Xian, China, and a graduate of the University of Southern California, Yu came to Chicago in 1979 as a 32-year-old trailblazer — the first Asian American journalist on the air here.

Saying Yu “opened doors for others,” Jennifer Graves, news director of ABC 7, added: “She set the bar high with her skillful anchoring and unflappable breaking news coverage. Linda has a special ability to connect with viewers on screen and off, one of the many reasons she has so many fans in this city.”

Robert Feder writes that as successful as she’s been on the air, Yu may have had even greater influence as a role model and mentor to many others in the profession — including Judy Hsu, the ABC 7 news anchor who succeeds her at 4 p.m. alongside Rob Elgas, starting Thursday.

“You have had an impact on so many young, aspiring journalists — Asian American or non-Asian American,” Hsu told Yu in a heartfelt tribute Sunday on a special edition of ABC 7’s “Newsviews.” “We found our voice because we watched you find yours on television.”

How does Yu reflect on her contribution to the lives of others?

“I’ve always believed in helping — whether it’s students who want advice and guidance, or something I can do to open a door for someone,” she said. “Among Asians, I did learn that my presence on a family’s TV set opened some Asian parents to journalism as a profession for their children.