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Farewell to Albany bureau chief Karen DeWitt, retiring after 34 years in public radio

A woman with short white hair wearing a grey turtleneck, black blazer, and back earrings and a necklace smiles at the camera
Karen DeWitt

Karen DeWitt, Albany bureau chief for WXXI and the New York Public News Network, retired on June 21 after a long and distinguished career in public radio.

Her time in Albany spanned six governors and more than a dozen legislatures. Much has changed across the media landscape since DeWitt arrived at the state capitol in 1990. Then-Gov. Mario Cuomo, for instance, was highly accessible to journalists compared to today's political leaders.

"That was a completely different era," DeWitt said of the first Cuomo administration. "There was no internet or social media. Politicians needed to get the word out by going to the media. That's just a night and day difference to now when access is so limited. Gov. Kathy Hochul doesn't need pesky reporters asking all these hard questions of her when she can put out her message without that."

Thirty-four years ago, DeWitt was one of few female journalists covering New York state government in Albany. She said she had to develop strategies to make sure her questions were heard above the shouts of her male colleagues.

Although she intends to spend some time traveling and enjoying outdoor activities for the first six months of her retirement, DeWitt said she hasn't ruled out a return to journalism.

"It's just an idea I'm tooling around with," she said. "Hopefully I'll be over this in six months and will be able to just retire quietly."

Sponsor Message
For over 30 years, Karen DeWitt has reported on New York government for public radio. Now it's time to celebrate her legacy of work. Please let her know what her work meant to you.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.