KPBS journalist Gloria Penner

By Dru Sefton

Gloria Penner, a senior political correspondent who spent 43 years with San Diego’s KPBS-TV/FM, died Oct. 6 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 81.

Penner

“KPBS would not be the same today if it wasn’t for the contributions of Gloria Penner,” said Tom Karlo, KPBS g.m., in a statement.

When Penner joined KPBS (then KEBS) in Dec. 1969, she had already worked in broadcast journalism in San Francisco, Hawaii and Washington, D.C. She held many posts at the station: writer, producer, host, political correspondent, public affairs director and blogger. She headed up KPBS-TV’s production unit and hosted KPBS Radio’s These Days (now KPBS Midday Edition) from 1995 until 1999. Penner moderated scores of town hall meetings, debates and forums for KPBS Radio and TV as well as the League of Women Voters. She hosted the Friday Editors Roundtable on KPBS-FM for nearly 14 years.

During her decades in pubcasting, Penner became one of KPBS’s most honored journalists. She won seven Emmys, five Golden Mikes, two Gracies, the Harold Keen Award from the San Diego Press Club, the John Swett Award from the California Teachers Association and the Living Legacy Award from the Women’s International Center. In 2003, the San Diego Chapter of the League of Women Voters created the Gloria Penner Award for Civic Service, with Penner as the first recipient.

She was born Elaine Gloria Stern on April 17, 1931, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Penner earned a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College and did graduate work in English at New York University. She held a master’s degree in English from Syracuse University.

Penner is survived by her husband, Bill Snyder; sons Brad Penner and Steve Penner; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service took place Oct. 30 at the Sherwood Auditorium of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s La Jolla location.

This obituary, printed in Current‘s Nov. 19 issue, updates an earlier online post.
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