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Brooke Baldwin has bid farewell to CNN after 13 years with the network.
The broadcast journalist aired her final iteration of CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin on Friday afternoon, focusing her coverage on the recent mass shooting in Indianapolis, the death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo at the hands of Chicago police and the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged with murdering George Floyd last year.
At the close of her two-hour episode, Baldwin told viewers she was "filled with emotion and gratitude." After a video compilation aired showcasing her time at CNN, Baldwin, 41, reflected on the experience.
"Let me let you in on a little secret: This job, my show here on CNN, was not originally supposed to be mine," she began. "More than a decade ago, there was an anchor who suddenly departed CNN, leaving this gaping hole in the afternoons, and the then-bosses quickly turned to me. They were like, 'Brooke, we're going to need you to keep this seat warm, just for a week until we actually find the person who will take over the show.'"
"Well, guess what, I have kept the seat warm for nearly 11 years," she continued.
Addressing viewers at home, she said, "You and I have witnessed history together, from marriage equality to this pandemic, from the Women's March to #MeToo, from natural disasters to, again, senseless shootings, and now we wait, we wait for justice in a trial where another Black man in America has died at the hands of police. This job, using my voice for over a decade, has been nothing short of a profound privilege."
Baldwin then thanked both the audience and her team at CNN.
"To you at home: thank you. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for holding me accountable and thank you for all of the love — I'm telling you, I'm reading every single one of your DMs," she said. "And to you, my CNN family, my CNN huddle. This is the hardest part. Thank you for making me better. Thank you for pushing me. Thank you for believing in me and my big backflip off the high dive today."
She continued, "I didn't even know this show would become mine. And now, a decade later, I find myself in a similar situation not totally knowing what's next. And I'm okay with that. Because what I do know is that I am a journalist and a storyteller, for life."
Emphasizing the need for more diversity in journalism, Baldwin concluded her address with a call for others to "keep pushing" for change.
"We do need diverse voices telling our stories, from in front of the camera and to the executive suites," she said. "We are making progress, so whatever industry you are in, my parting words: Get a little uncomfortable, speak up, and keep pushing. I'm Brooke Baldwin here in New York, and I cannot wait to have you join me on our journey together."
Baldwin's colleagues sent their love, with Jake Tapper tweeting, "Been covering the news for a long time alongside the amazing @BrookeBaldwin. Will miss her dearly. Can't wait to see what she does next! Talk soon, BB."
"I have been friends with @BrookeBaldwin for more than a decade, so her departure from @CNN is bitter-sweet for me," Don Lemon said in his own tweet. "From our lively New Years' Eve parties to our fun dinner dates, it's been a blast! Wishing you all the best from here. NYE won't ever be the same."
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer also posted on Twitter, referenced Baldwin's new book, Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power.
"My good friend and colleague @BrookeBaldwin is wrapping up her wonderful years at @CNN today," he wrote. "We will miss her but we wish her only the very best as she embarks on her next adventure. And congrats to her for her timely new book 'Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power.'"
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Baldwin, who began her journey at CNN as a freelancer in 2008, first announced her departure from the network in February.
"I have not a plan," she admitted. "I would love to be continuing off of my book work, just being in the deep end of storytelling. I think streaming networks are the wave of the future in terms of storytelling and working with a streamer or a doc … or Ellen DeGeneres. Their team called me a couple of weeks ago and had me guest host Ellen and that was amazing. Call me again!"