Ann Northrop, Co-Host and Co-Executive Producer
During this time, Ann was also active in demonstrations against the Vietnam War and became involved with the newly evolving feminist movement. She helped construct an article analyzing the 1972 Presidential candidates for the first issue of Ms. Magazine and participated in many organizing meetings and actions of the time.
After the demise of “Woman,” Ann decided to broaden her experience over the next few years with a number of very different jobs. She worked in WCBS-TV operations, scheduling technical facilities for the entire network; she worked half a dozen events for ABC-TV Sports (golf, figure skating, track & field, boxing) as a freelance production assistant; she wrote TV criticism for a nationally-syndicated newspaper column and she wrote more for Ms. and other publications (i.e. The Ladies Home Journal); she was the New York office for a landmark study of thousands of straight and gay couples, published as “American Couples” by Drs. Pepper Schwartz and Philip Blumstein. For the study, Ann both recruited participants and helped conduct lengthy, in-depth, personal interviews with a selected sample.
In 1981, Ann returned to daily television production as a writer-producer for ABC’s “Good Morning America.” She researched, interviewed guests, wrote background information for the hosts, wrote on-air introductions and questions on a wide range of subjects, including politics, sports, medicine, consumer issues, relationships, entertainment, law, pets, food and many, many more. After almost a year at GMA, Ann was recruited by then-former GMA executive producer George Merlis to come with him to CBS News in 1982 to transform their Morning News into the same kind of two-hour, daily talk show mix. As a producer, and then coordinating producer, of the CBS Morning News, Ann helped plan and execute the program every day for five years, covering the same extremely broad range of subjects. In her tenure there, she worked with the original hosts, Diane Sawyer and Bill Kurtis for their two and a half year stint, and their successors, including Forrest Sawyer, Maria Shriver, Phyllis George, Charlie Rose, Meredith Vieira, and many CBS News correspondents.
Ann also spent a year at the Morning News as the producer in charge of planning hard news coverage daily–the five-minute straight news segments at the top of each half hour. Besides deciding what news to cover, this job also involved booking facilities like satellite feeds, remote crews and trucks, and land lines. She worked with the entire international CBS News operation daily–foreign and domestic, producers and correspondents and bureau chiefs.
As she became an AIDS educator, Ann realized the issues were the same that had engaged her as an activist against the Vietnam War and for the feminist movement. As a result, in early 1988, Ann joined ACT UP/New York (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and became deeply involved in “direct action” in the streets, participating in hundreds of demonstrations and getting arrested probably two dozen times for civil disobedience. Her most famous arrest was for lying in the center aisle of St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the infamous “Stop the Church” action in December of 1989, for which she was later convicted on four misdemeanor charges.
After four years as an AIDS educator at Hetrick-Martin, Ann left to pursue other interests. She served for four years as a board member of the Gay Games, held in New York City in 1994; she helped create and served on the board of a new gay think tank, the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies (now the Williams Institue); she wrote a weekly column for QW, a New York gay magazine that existed for a year, and then wrote a regular column for LGNY, the New York gay newspaper, for the first four years of its publication; she has done an enormous amount of training for activists on how to deal effectively with the news media; she helped found the Lesbian and Gay Alumnae Association of Vassar College; and she was the only openly lesbian or gay delegate in the New York delegation to the 1992 Democratic Convention. Ann has been a major speaker at many events, including the 25th anniversary celebration of the Stonewall Riots, has received several honors, and is featured in the books “Making History,” by Eric Marcus, “Wolf Girls at Vassar,” by Anne MacKay, and “Queer in America,” by Michelangelo Signorile, among others.
Ann returned to regular television production in 1996 as co-host, with Andy Humm, of “GAY USA,” a weekly national cable show. The hour-long program includes coverage of local, national and international news of interest to the gay community, but is, in fact, watched by people of all ages, races, genders and sexual orientations. Ann and Andy anchor the show and go out in the field to cover events–national political conventions, local political debates, pride parades, weddings, funerals, AIDS demonstrations. They also interview guests in the studio, ranging from political figures to authors and entertainers.
When not performing on TV, she and Andy can sometimes get in eighteen holes of golf.
Contact Ann at AnnNorth@earthlink.net.
Back to Bios