After more than two decades at the Baltimore TV anchor desk, WJZ newswoman Sally Thorner said Tuesday that she is retiring. The 54-year-old anchorwoman said her last day at the station will be Dec. 18.
During her career in Baltimore, the Smith College graduate has come to represent local broadcast news at its best -- serious, trustworthy and non-sensational, but also reassuring and friendly.
Thorner, who was on the air for 10 years at WMAR before she joined WJZ in 1993 in one of the most highly publicized anchor moves in Baltimore TV history, could certainly ask the hard questions. She was an excellent reporter.
But it is her calm and solid presence at the anchor desk that will be missed and remembered most by Baltimore viewers when she steps down.
Thorner also came to embody some of the challenges facing women of her generation, as she was always open in discussing the choices she made professionally in relation to goals she had for her family life. She lent her on-air prominence to many fund-raising efforts during the past 25 years, particularly those for women.
"As I look back, the overwhelming feeling I have is gratitude for my career," Thorner said in a "Sun" interview Tuesday. "I was blessed that I was always able to do it on my terms. When I got married and had a baby, that was when I chose to get off nights and now that we're reaching another sort of chapter in my family, I'm able to do this on my terms, too. And that's sort of unheard of in any business, but particularly in this one."
Thorner explained that her son, Everett, has just started college at Yale University, and that her husband, Dr. Brian Rosenfeld, travels a lot in connection with the acute care medical business he founded.
"You know, we're feeling that empty-nester thing a little, and now I can travel with my husband," Thorner said. "I love working at the station, and everybody has been great. But this the right time."
Here is the memo Thorner sent to her collegues at WJZ Tuesday announcing the move:
I love what I do but the time has come for change. I'm retiring! As many of you know, my career decisions have always centered on my other family, the one at home.
I left WMAR years ago to get off nights which, for me, were not conducive to raising a child and having a family life. And now that child is off to college!
Brian travels extensively on business and, since Everett's away, I can now go with my husband. Our adventure begins at the end of the year.
I'll miss the people I work with, my friends that I have made over the years, and our loyal viewers. WJZ has been a wonderful place to work because of all of you. Baltimore will remain my home and so will TV Hill for the next 3 months!
Here's the memo General Manager Jay Newman sent the staff announcing the change.
I’d like to share with you the following news.
Sally Thorner has told us she plans to retire from WJZ the end of this year. As you know, Sally has played an important role in the success of WJZ as a primary anchor and reporter for our key news broadcasts. Sally joined WJZ in 1993 after spending the first part of her Baltimore television career at WMAR. She is well known, well respected and has worked hard on air and in the community on behalf of WJZ.
On a personal note, I have worked with Sally for more then a decade and will miss seeing her everyday. I want to thank her for all her hard work and her many contributions to the success of WJZ. I am sure you all join me in wishing her well. She will be missed!