Uma Pemmaraju

While she was still in high school, Uma Pemmaraju persuaded the editors of the San Antonio Express-News to let her write the weekly fishing report—even though she was, so to speak, out to sea on the subject. “I knew nothing about fishing,” she says. “I was basically calling around different ports to find out what was biting and what bait guys were using.” With that kind of early pluck, is it any wonder Pemmaraju is herself a big fish today? After graduating from Trinity College and trying her hand as a TV news reporter in San Antonio, Dallas, Baltimore, and Boston, the 39-year-old has reeled in a plum post: She’s an anchor on Rupert Murdoch’s 24-hour Fox News Channel. No one doubts her journalistic bona fides, but as the first Indian American to make it in network news, she faces a predictable challenge: “An anchorman once said to me, ‘You know, you should change your name—otherwise you’ll never succeed in this business. People won’t get it.’” How many people are getting it now? According to Fox, 21 million each day.

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