She retired after a 42-year career in broadcasting and these days, former News 10 Vice President of News Maria Placer can be found at home with her trusted companion, Sugar, a chow mix who stays by her side.
News 10 anchor Darla Montgomery caught up with the broadcasting pioneer to talk about her life and remarkable career in this segment of “Women Impacting Acadiana.”
Maria Placer is not only Acadiana’s first lady of news, but one of the first ladies in news, anywhere.
Maria says, “I think that it had to come about.”
She’s talking about women in news.
Maria began her career at KLFY as a switchboard operator on March 3, 1966. It was a time when news was dominated by men and what she accomplished in a storied career, few can claim.
Under her leadership, KLFY News 10 was rated the number one news station (small market) in the country for decades.
Reflecting on her career, Maria says, “I have had people that you would think would have hated my guts for the stories that I did on them and yet they would come back and say they were fair. Journalism has been sort of lost along the way… it sort of got all mixed up. It became a hodgepodge (of good to mediocre journalism, then bad journalism and really bad journalism.”)
She would retire from her beloved news in 2008 after 42 years with her KLFY family.
Maria says, “I worked hard, I did my best. Would I do it the same all over again? Probably.”
This gave her time to spend with her family outside of broadcasting.
Maria was born in Spain in September of 1944.
She often talks about her childhood and life with her mother, father, sister and two brothers.
Her parents and one brother are gone now, but their spirit lives on in this remarkable woman…a spirit that encompasses her family’s deep resolve for academics, and commitment to public service, and passion for politics.
She says, “I had studied political science. I was always fascinated by politics and history.”
Maria also shared her personal thoughts on the air in her commentaries.
They were thought-provoking, at times hard-hitting, and compassionate, or sometimes she just wanted to say thanks, especially during the annual Foodnet, Food For Families Food Drive. It would end with her signature sign off.
Her typical message went like this as she would say, “We hope to see you at the drop points throughout Acadiana tomorrow and thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Just thought I’d share that with you.
For her, news was serious business — a big responsibility, as she put it.
Her career was marked by all she accomplished and her knack for news.
Maria says news is not a classroom.
“You inform people, you don’t teach them, it’s not an education. You give people the facts, the true facts and you don’t exaggerate and you do not in any way play any kind of favorites. You have to be totally objective and you have to tell the truth. And if you have those basics you have the foundation for journalism.”
She also used news to help many in Acadiana, especially children.
You may recall her many segments of Wednesday’s Child featuring the heartwarming and often heartbreaking stories of children in need of belonging to a family.
She says, she’s still connected.
“I kept in touch with a lot of the kids that are of course now adults and loved every one of them and was so proud that I was able to influence with the help of the people of Acadiana. They made the difference.”
And as a woman impacting Acadiana, Maria made a difference over the years in the lives of so many, including her loyal viewers, she’s so grateful to have served.
Maria says, “I want to thank each and every one of you for the warmth that I received from you throughout the 43 years that I spent before the camera and of course in your living rooms. Thank you so much for everything you gave to me.”
Maria was never married and had no children of her own. She says the Children of Wednesday’s Child, the many aspiring journalists she mentored and the folks at TV10 were all her family.
These days, she’s battling painful arthritis as she fights to remain self-sufficient and independent at her home in Lafayette.