Janette N. Luu‎ > ‎In the News‎ > ‎

Arts scene will be poorer without creative news anchor

April 2, 2006 . Encore . Page 1E

By Steve Penhollow, The Journal Gazette




Janette Luu is leaving WPTA-TV and Fort Wayne to
take up residence and anchoring duties in Toronto.


 
When they are on the air, most news anchors project certain reassurances.

They may surprise you with breaking news but never with a spicy limerick; they will never smile too much or too little; they will never tell a joke so funny that it makes milk shoot out your nose; they probably don't have any good news to offer, but they will berate the weatherman if he doesn't have any good weather to offer; they will never let out a spontaneous war whoop, rebel yell or yee-haw; they will never tuck their necktie into the space between the third and fourth button of their dress shirt unless they're doing a cooking segment; and they are unfailingly polite even when hit in the head with a Fresnel studio light.
 
When they're off the air, they're mostly like you and me.
 
Having stated all that, I must add that WPTA-TV weekend anchor Janette Luu is especially not like the person she seems to be on newscasts. Seemed to be. Luu has accepted a flashy job in the flashy city of Toronto, which happens to be the capital of the flashy ("not to mention splashy," he wrote, employing a lame and perhaps debilitating Niagara Falls pun) Canadian province of Ontario.  Her last two newscasts will air tonight at 6 and 11.
 
People who only know Luu from newscasts tend to call her sweet and cute. She is sweet and cute, but she is neither of those things to the exclusion of more often being fierce and surprising. Be courteous with her and she's liable to be bawdy with you. Give her bawdy and she's liable to give back idealism. Give her idealism and she's liable to give back self-deprecation. She keeps a person on his or her toes, all the while seeming perfectly poised on hers.
 
Off the air, Luu has been devoted to the arts, co-producing two cutting-edge events with her in-several-senses partner, Matt Stuart. The Luu/Stuart alliance is a match made in karma: She is occupationally devoted to mainstream media, and he is occupationally devoted to subverting mainstream media.  The events they presented here, Pop Filter and City Prototype, were both based on the assumption that Fort Wayne is a lot cooler than it gives itself credit for.
 
A year ago, Luu won a $25,000 award in Visa's Ideas Happen contest. She made plans to put together an immersive and interactive exhibit on world religions.
She says she will now do this in Toronto.  Luu has long nursed a love of that amazing northern city.
 
"I have definitely been focused on it for the last year as far as looking for a job," she says. "It is just one of the best places in the world to live in."
 
Toronto is Shangri-La for people who care about multiculturalism, many culinary options, many cultural occurrences and low crime. Luu will host an hour-long chat show for French-Canadian media conglomerate Sun TV that she describes as similar to MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann."
 
"The job description says I will act as master of ceremonies, narrator, interrogator and traffic cop," she says. "It will allow me to show more of my personality, to be myself."
 
Fort Wayne's loss is Toronto's gain is the customary thing one says here. But Fort Wayne will probably never fully appreciate its loss. Luu was committed to helping Fort Wayne grow, and the city will be smaller without her.