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Alumni event brings together young and old

UNH honor alumnas and Boston newscaster, Natalie Jacobson

Staff Writer

Published: Monday, October 22, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 16:02

Now retired from over two decades of nightly newscasts and sleepless workweeks, Jacobson’s vision has changed. She has decided to focus her time and energy on the launching of a website that focuses on the baby boomer generation and what to do after the big career.

“We look for a balance in life. We want time to do the things we didn’t have time to do when we worked 80 hours per week. We want to spend more time with people we love but we never had time, whether it’s a girlfriend from school or one of your own children.”

Jacobson went on to speak about topics such as the difficult economy students emerging from college are currently facing, as well as the lack of balance that she is seeing in our nation as a whole.

“We really need to concentrate as a nation on keeping that balance. It’s a balance that we don’t have. It’s a societal thing we need to worry about. There are studies out there now that show sleep deprivation at dangerous levels, especially, say, if you’re a pilot, a surgeon … people who are in life and death jobs … and then not to mention the country’s exhausted right now. And I thought we were exhausted 20 years ago! I mean, now it seems like we’re more exhausted because of the technology, because you’re supposed to be available 24/7. Nobody talks about those kinds of things, but we should,” she said.

Jacobson used this topic as a segue into her decision to leave Channel 5 after 20 years, expressing her disappointment in the way news about the upcoming election is being communicated to the viewers. She said that in her opinion, the media is not at fault.

“It’s a really scary time we live in,” she said. You turn on cable and these broadcasters are all about themselves, and they’re so angry. Talk about angry men and women. If you don’t see it their way, you’re not a good American. It’s ridiculous, and the candidates, to some extent, have that same attitude. Republicans on one side, Democrats on the other.”

The first time Jacobson witnessed this, she was covering former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in Washington, D.C. from the top row of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Thank God it was dark in there,” she said. “I started to cry and couldn’t stop. What was happening down on the floor was this divide.”

With the 2012 presidential election campaign well underway, Jacobson was asked during a question and answer session after the luncheon if she goes about her days seeing things that she wishes she could cover and report again.

“Sure, every day,” she said. “It’s tough to sit through an election and not be the one asking the questions.”

The topic she appeared to be most passionate about was the election and how poorly the media is covering it.

“You can almost predict what’s going to be asked in the debates. It’s too bad. For example, wouldn’t you love to hear in one of these presidential debates somebody ask Mr. Romney or Mr. Obama, ‘How do you plan to handle the broadband questions?’ The whole issue is communication in the United States and how we’re integrating with the rest of the world. We’ve got a problem in this country if I’m told that people understand this stuff and I don’t,” she said.

When asked if she would ever consider running for office, her reply prompted a subtle giggle from her audience.

“I’m too old,” she said. "Well, I would say no because I think running a campaign today is ridiculous. It’s a nightmare, and that’s why we don’t always have the best people running for office. What you have to go through, the scrutiny the media puts you through, it’s disgusting. It’s not only your pocketbook, but it’s your kid and your second cousin twice removed, and we’re going to check him and her out. It’s not right, and look at the money that’s being raised. Think of all the impoverished families in America that we could be helping educate their children with this money. It’s just nuts.”

After a response that Jacobson herself recognized as unintentionally lengthy for such a simple question, the woman who Boston embraced and welcomed into its homes for so many years stepped down from the podium. In the midst of cheers and an appreciated eruption of applause, she stepped down from a lifetime of immeasurable achievements and an unmatched charisma that touched millions of viewers every night for 20 years. As she stepped down, the words of her speech lingered in the minds of the many students that sat before her, ready to step up.

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