Born in Rajahmundry, India and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Uma Pemmaraju got her start in journalism in her hometown. She graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio with a degree in political science and started working as a reporter and producer at the San Antonio Express-News.
After graduating, she moved to Boston for a reporting internship at the CBS affiliate WBZ-TV, where she won an Emmy award for her work covering the rescue of a child who nearly drowned in a pool. She stayed on at the station for seven years, before moving to Fox News in 1996, according to The New York Times.
She was a popular anchor at the network, hosting “Fox News Now” and “Fox on Trends,” until she took a leave of absence in 1999 to give birth to her daughter. She returned to Fox News in 2003 as a substitute host, anchor and Sunday show host of “Fox News Live.”
At Fox, she was known for her investigative reports and her interviews with high-profile people from around the world. She was also an expert on international politics and economics, as well as the United States’ relations with other countries.
Before she joined Fox News, Pemmaraju worked as a reporter and producer at KENS-TV and the San Antonio Express-News. She also taught journalism at Emerson College and Harvard University.
Pemmaraju was recruited by senior programming executive Chet Collier, according to The New York Times, and joined the channel when it launched in 1996. She left in 1999 to give birth, then worked at a Dallas station before returning to Fox in 2003.
She had a distinguished career in the television news industry, winning several awards for her reporting and investigative work. She was named Boston’s Best Anchor by Boston Magazine in 1996 and 1997, and one of Spotlight Magazine’s “20 Intriguing Women of 1998.”
A graduate of Trinity University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Pemmaraju started her career as a news reporter for the San Antonio Express-News before landing anchor jobs at KTVT-11 in Dallas and WLVI and WBZ-TV in Boston. She also reported for Bloomberg News and taught journalism at Emerson College and Harvard University.
Recruited to Fox News by Chet Collier, who was a senior programming executive for the channel, she was hired as one of its first anchors and served as the network’s “Fox News Now” host until her departure in 1999. She then moved to Dallas for a local station and returned to Fox News in 2003 as a news update anchor, substitute host, and Sunday show host of “Fox Live,” the network said.
In a tweet, WBZ-TV news anchor David Wade tweeted, “Her family tells me she was a ‘noble soul and pioneer’ as an Indian Asian American news woman of prominence.” She is survived by her daughter Kirina Alana Devi and ex-husband Andrew Petkun.
She was a devoted mother and loved her job as an anchor. Her colleagues and viewers admired her work and said she was a warm, engaging personality. She was a great friend to everyone she met and a true professional. She had a heart of gold and was a great asset to the Fox News family.