She joined the television news team in 1986 as an unpaid intern and rose to anchor.
Jade Moon leaving KGMB after 19 years
anchor Jade Moon will leave the television news business at the end of this month after 19 years at the station.
Moon said her 11-year-old son Zachary is "in the sixth grade. He's growing up fast and I would like to be his full-time mom before he actually does grow up."
Her husband, Ward Jones, is an attorney with Bervar and Jones Attorneys at Law, which affords her the ability to be a stay-home mom.
Fitting family life around work was always a challenge, given the long and late hours of news anchoring.
"Now I'd really like to make it the other way around," Moon said. Work is going to have to fit around the family's life.
This week, her work life and private life have been joined as one with the airing of the station's compelling coverage of her summertime kidney donation to her diabetic father.
The Nielsen ratings period began yesterday and ends Nov. 30, her last day.
When Moon started as an unpaid intern in 1986, the anchors included the legendary Bob Sevey, Bob Jones, Leslie Wilcox and Larry Beil for sports. Moon was on the payroll by 1987 as an associate producer, then a reporter, weekend anchor, and for most of the last 18 years, as weekday anchor, sitting alongside Jones, Tim Tindall, Russell Shimooka, Jim Mendoza and Kim Gennaula.
"We were the first chick-news-team in Hawaii," Moon chuckled.
Her main beats over the years have been education, health care and state politics.
Moon's favorite memories include stories she did from Japan for a special on Pearl Harbor. She has interviewed influential national and local figures including former President Bill Clinton and state lawmakers.
"A lot of people knock politicians, but I would say the very best of them care so deeply about Hawaii that it is something you learn from and you develop respect."
The worst memory of her time in TV news was Sept. 11, 2001. "When I left the house I wondered if I would ever see my family again. I went to work that morning and sat on the desk for hours, doing local coverage. We alternated between local and national coverage. It was difficult. Heartbreaking."
Before she worked in TV news, her face became well-known through a Zippy's commercial that showed her eating a boxed plate lunch, being interviewed by an off-camera voice. Without speaking, she answered the questions with her reactions. When asked where she worked, she sheepishly drew golden arches for McDonald's in the air with her hand.
"When (then-News Director Jim Manke) hired me, I asked if I could be the next one considered for a reporter job ... he agreed to that, and I was horrible in the beginning. How very good of him to keep his word," she laughed.
Manke said while Moon was new to the news business, "I think from the beginning it was obvious she was seriously interested in doing a good job and pursuing it as a meaningful career.
"We were aware of her work as professional talent ... but there was obviously much more substance to her than just glitz.
"She's done a remarkable job over the years ... and I think all of us who know her have been awestruck at the latest turn that her personal life has taken. She's obviously a very special person."
There is speculation, but no definitive word on who will replace Moon come next month.
Kim Gennaula has been co-anchoring the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts with Moon and will fly solo after Moon leaves.
Interim General Manager Kim Montour said the station is not searching for a replacement for Moon.
"There's really no replacement for Jade, she's really special," Montour said.
"She is an amazing person, just her commitment to the community and the station. I mean it's rare among a lot of anchors ... she's the real thing."
Should a replacement be sought in the future, Moon would advise them to "Do your job. Communicate with people and really care about what you're reporting -- and don't sweat the stuff you can't control."
She kept similar thoughts in mind through the station's numerous ownership and management changes over the years. KGMB's parent company, Emmis Communications Corp., is looking for a buyer.
Moon won't disappear from sight. She will continue to be a visible part of KGMB's annual Hawaii Foodbank food drive. "I've been involved for 16 years, ever since we started televising that and it became a station project ... It's a project I love and I believe in," she said.
Moon will also be "cheering on KGMB. I have to say that it is on an upswing and I want it to continue."
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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com