Diann Burns is one of the most recognizable and accomplished TV journalists in Chicago. She made a name for herself breaking local stories with national implications and throughout her career, Diann has been honored with 9 EMMY Awards for reporting on breaking news, sports, politics, and for her work as anchor. She also won a National Emmy Award as an anchorwoman for breaking news as well as a National Association of Black Journalists award for a 2-part report on education.
|Watch Diann Burns in action
“DB” as they call her, became a news star at ABC 7 Chicago, as co-anchor of the ABC 7 top rated 5:00 PM and 10:00 PM newscasts. She was Chicago’s first African-American woman to anchor a weekday newscast on channel 7, and then the first to serve as a lead anchor of a 10:00 PM news broadcast.
A trailblazing newswoman, Diann was inducted into the Today’s Chicago Woman Hall of Fame, recognized by the publication for pioneering contributions in business, education, health, the arts, government and non profit disciplines.
She joined ABC 7 Chicago in 1985 as a general assignment reporter and quickly moved up to weekend anchor, prior to her promotion to anchor the 5 and 10PM newscasts. Diann worked at 11Alive! and the Tribune Company’s Independent Network News of New York as a writer, field producer and reporter, joining the staff directly after graduating from Columbia University School of Journalism of New York. She earned her B.A. at Cleveland State University. Diann left New York to anchor a news magazine show and the evening news at WCMH, the NBC affiliate in Columbus, Ohio. She was called up to Chicago after one year.
Diann’s roots in journalism are firmly on the print side, getting her start as a copy aide at the Cleveland Press. She was later hired as a photographer and reporter, and then promoted to sports editor and columnist at the Cleveland Call and Post. She later joined the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a general assignment reporter.
Viewers have gained insight on historic people and news events around the world through Diann from the road; traveling with South African President Nelson Mandela on his first visit to the United States once he was freed from prison and reporting from Somalia in Africa on the United States relief mission during the famine crisis in the 1990s.
She also covered four national political conventions, both Democratic and Republican, the Unibomber, Rodney King and O.J. Simpson. Diann was there, live with The Bears, Bulls, White Sox Championships…and the Cubs run to get there: Diann Burns, live. She also covered the funeral for Chicago’s first Black Mayor Harold Washington, football legend Walter Payton and the attacks on 9/11.
Diann landed blockbuster, exclusive interviews with newsmakers, including one of the two men who were later convicted of killing Michael Jordan’s father, two Chicago Bears football players accused of using drugs, and newsmakers Jerry Krause, R. Kelly, Mike Tyson and many more.
At CBS2 in Chicago, Diann anchored 3 newscasts, and created several popular franchises, most notably “Grow Your Garden” and “Dinner with Di.”
You might recognize this journalist from the silver screen, appearing in several movies; Primal Fear, Richie Rich and The Negotiator, as a TV news anchor. And she has appeared on stage, starring in musicals and dramatic theatre productions, several at the nationally known Karamu Theatre. That’s right, audiences paid to see her sing!
Throughout her career as a newswoman, Diann has been an active role model in the community, participating in events for more than one hundred charities.