It was a Bay Area baptism under fire.
Less than a month after arriving at KPIX 5 as the 5 p.m. co-anchor and night-side reporter, Elizabeth Cook was in San Francisco's Mission District covering a chaotic Occupy march when a protester shoved her and her cameraman. With only moments to spare, the team got to safety and filed their report for the 11 p.m. news.
For the next couple of years, Cook would finish her 5 p.m. show and then immediately jump in a live truck to file breaking stories across the Bay Area for the 11 p.m. news.
"There's no question that being a field reporter makes you a better anchor," she says.
In 2013, Elizabeth was promoted to also co-anchor the station's 11 p.m. edition with veteran journalist Ken Bastida.
As a child growing up in the Los Angeles suburb of La Canada Flintridge, she gravitated towards history and storytelling.
Her interest in journalism begin when she was a senior in high school. "I was Rose Princess for the Tournament of Roses and that required a lot of public speaking," she remembers. "NBC's Tom Brokaw was the Rose Parade Grand Marshall. We went to many of the events together and I got to know him pretty well. I loved hearing his incredible stories from his career and became inspired from his immense compassion for people" Brokaw asked her if she had ever thought of being a journalist.
While completing her degree in Broadcasting from the prestigious USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, Elizabeth interned at ESPN and worked at The Jane Pauley Show at NBC.
After graduating, she got her first on-air reporting job in Palm Springs.
Elizabeth reported, produced and served as a multi-media journalist before becoming the primary news anchor at KMIR-TV. While there, she covered two of the deadliest fires in California history, the death of President Gerald Ford and visits from President George W. Bush.
She is a 10-time Emmy and two-time Edward R Murrow recipient. She is also the recipient of two NorCal RTNDA awards.
At KPIX 5, Elizabeth extensively covered the Occupy movement and the illegal sale and transport of guns in Oakland.
She also covered Bay Area connections to some of the world's biggest stories. She profiled a Bay Area man who helped Syrian refugees escape their country; reported on the California company developing a serum to treat the Ebola virus; and covered a new medical device that is unlocking some of the mysteries of Parkinson's Disease.
Elizabeth also exposed the illegal transport of California horses to out-of-state slaughterhouses, and the controversial experiment to protect a threatened species of owl in Humboldt County.
She's been passionate about highlighting some of the Bay Area's most intriguing women, from the San Francisco Chronicle's first female Editor-In-Chief Audrey Cooper to 49ers General Counsel Hannah Gordon.
Elizabeth never misses an opportunity to get back out in the field. She's anchored shows from downtown Main Street after the 2014 Napa earthquake; at the scene of the devastating China Basin fire; on the turf at the Levi's Stadium home opener; and inside San Francisco's Super Bowl City leading up to the big game's 50th anniversary.
She has great respect for co-anchor Ken Bastida. "He brings a breadth of experience to the anchor desk," she says. "Part of the newscast is feeding off of each other, especially when there's breaking news. It helps to know your co-anchor's energy, know where they're going."
"A lot of people are surprised when they learn how much our team really loves each other," she says. We are genuinely good friends."
When Elizabeth isn't behind the anchor desk, she enjoys chasing after her son Beau, exploring San Francisco restaurants with her husband and embarking on the endless quest to find the best coffee in the Bay Area.
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