Valetta Press, a news producer who worked at NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV in Chicago for nearly half a century, died Sept. 11 of lung cancer in Chicago. She was 74.
Known for her smoker’s voice and dedication to work, she handled a variety of jobs at WMAQ, from secretarial work and escorting politicians to assignment editing and producing newscasts.
Press once produced reports from the field for NBC’s “Huntley-Brinkley Report” and for WMAQ-TV in Chicago. She also covered major news stories during the 1960s and was tear gassed outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Press was honored this summer with the Chicago Television Academy’s Silver Circle Award for her tenure in Chicago journalism. She had worked as an assignment editor at WMAQ-TV since the 1970s.
Chicago native received her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1949. The next year, she started at WMAQ-TV as an executive secretary in the sales department. Five years later, she moved into the station’s newsroom and stayed.
Survivors include her twin sister.