Iconic local news anchor Doreen Gentzler, who grew up in Arlington and lives in DC, is retiring after spending about half of her life working for Washington’s WRC-TV. She reflects on her past and looks to the future as she wraps up her career.
What are you most looking forward to about your retirement?
I’m looking forward to having a life without the deadline every single day. No more watching the clock all day long. It’ll be a relief to not have to pay that much attention to the time.
Are there stories that stand out to you as the most significant ones you’ve covered?
I think my answer is my favorite story that I’ve covered is the last one I covered. The interview I did [in November] with Dr. Fauci — that was something that was memorable. He was just really candid about his personal feelings, and his looking forward to retirement.
What are your thoughts about the importance of local news?
We get our news from so many different sources today, and it’s so different from when I came to Channel 4. I think local TV news and local news in general is still so important because these are the people who cover your hometown, your neighborhood. We live here, and we are covering the issues that are important to our neighbors. And we are still following the basic principles of good journalism. We try to tell both sides of the story, and from all sides. So many of the news sources that people have access to today are pretty much targeted for one point of view or another.
You worked in some other TV markets before coming home to the Washington area. Was your goal to work here?
I always was interested in that and always look to Washington as the news capital of the country. But television news is a kind of a crazy business. So I can’t really say that I made it a goal because there are so many variables. Once I got here, it was kind of a trip to be in the same city with my family. My mother calling, asking, “Why did you wear that? What’s going on with your hair?” I’d made it for about 10 years without that.
What do you think about how Arlington has changed over the years?
It’s changed so much. I was a kid living in North Arlington, and my grandparents were over in South Arlington. I could get on my bike and ride my bike over to my grandparents’ house in South Arlington. What’s now Skyline Towers, when I was a kid, was a small airport. There was a place to ride ponies right at the heart of Bailey’s Crossroads. It’s so, so, so much development. I think Arlington has done a great job in so many ways in managing development.
Do you have favorite places to go in Arlington, or Northern Virginia in general?
I like going over to Shirlington. I love the theater over there [Signature Theatre]. I love the W&OD bike trail and the trail to Mount Vernon, although I usually don’t make it beyond Old Town Alexandria on a good day, now — lots of great food and fun there. And my husband reminds me that we celebrated a recent anniversary at L’Auberge Chez François and it was lovely.
What do you think the future looks like for your station?
I think that we have an incredibly strong team with an incredibly deep bench. I feel like I’m with the very best local TV news team in the country. I’ve always been proud to work there. And I still am.