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Today we honor my favorite Duck, Ann Curry. When it comes to journalists, she’s the real deal. Although it’s old news by now, Ann’s termination from the Today Show really struck me this evening. In 2006, when I went to Eugene for “Duck Days,” orientation for new University of Oregon students, one of the first things I was told was that Curry was an alumna of the School of Journalism and Communication. Journalism was my chosen major and hearing this only invigorated my eagerness to begin fall term. She has always been someone who I deeply admire.

In all honesty I’ve never been a fan of the Today Show, but I’ve been a faithful viewer because of Curry’s reporting. The Today Show is a collage of of Kathie Lee and Hoda getting drunk at 10 a.m., contributing stories from Sarah Palin, business advice from Star Jones and Matt Lauer asking insensitive questions, like one time to parents of a murdered child, “How does that make you feel?” Amidst all that is Ann Curry. For years she sat at the headline desk bringing us the real news. It was a breath of fresh air. When she interviewed someone, she was a human first and a journalist second. With a history of breast cancer in her family, Ann would often report on cancer stories. She is kind, respectful and honoring. Always.

When she was promoted to co-host a year ago, I was thrilled. I thought, “Finally! A real journalist who will bring me the news I need to hear.” To see her fired now in such a dishonoring way is, in my opinion, shameful.

In the last several years the Today Show’s ratings have plummeted and in response to this, NBC management has brought in a handful of new co-hosts, only to fire them after ratings didn’t improve.

While Katie, Meredith and Ann have all been put through the pressure of saving the ratings, there is one constant, Matt Lauer. These poor women are put in impossible positions, with expectations that no one can live up to. Then they are fired. Matt is the constant and Matt is the problem. Am I the only one who sees this? Why won’t NBC fire Matt?

Here is Curry’s farewell announcement from last week:

It breaks my heart that she feels that she was a disappointment, that she somehow failed her viewers. Shame on the person who put that thought into her mind.

Ann, I personally want to thank you for being a constant reminder of what true journalism is, what it needs to be in order for our country and our world to improve. Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see,” and you embody that. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. If there’s any justice, you’ll go on to even bigger and better things and will someday look back on this and wonder why you ever wanted to work on the Today Show. I wish you all the success in the world.

Curry continues to inspire today’s young journalists and reminds us all of the importance of honest, transparent and quality communication. You can follow her on Twitter @AnnCurry (which I HIGHLY recommend).