CHICAGO (WLS) -- ABC7 anchor Linda Yu retires on Wednesday, ending a glorious career in journalism in which she was always uniquely cool under pressure and dogged in her reporting.
Yu knows when a story is important and knows how to tell it.
And during breaking news, the call in ABC7 newsroom has long been, "Get Linda on the set!"
Back in the late 1970s, working in San Francisco, Yu got a letter from a viewer who'd been in a car accident caused by an uninsured motorist. Her reporter instinct said, "This is a story." She did many and her work played a role in moving California to make auto
Years later in Chicago, her reports on the dangers of asphalt playgrounds started a conversation that led to safety changes.
But it's at the anchor desk where her star shines brightest.
"She is the best ad-libber I have ever worked with in my life, and the most professional. She makes you feel calm when you listen to her," said Stephen Lewis, an ABC7 producer.
Calm is the key word. There can be chaos in the field, heads exploding in the control room, but you see none of that in this face or hear it in her voice.
"I'm sure, to the viewer it looks easy. And that's what she does every day. She makes it look easy," said Tom Robison, an ABC7 producer.
During the Loop flood of 1992, Yu was on the air for over six hours straight - much of it by herself - with a single bathroom break.
"A lot of people came up to me the next day and said, 'I watched the whole thing.' And I said, 'Why would you watch the whole thing?' And a lady said, 'When bad things happen you make me feel safe,'" Yu said.
Even when she has little to go on, Yu has always been able to ask the right questions - the kinds viewers would ask.
Why is something happening downtown important to people in Crystal Lake or Gary. Yu finds the nexus.
"She was very concerned about the accuracy of our reporting and professionalism, and in a way she kept us all on our toes," said Joel Daly, a former ABC7 anchor.
Her practice has always been, "Stay measured. Don't feed anxiety, and don't allow difficult stories to drive your own emotions."
"My emotions, I put them in a compartment somewhere, and when it's over, I'll take them out and I'll address those emotions," Yu said.
But what the viewer sees is someone who is prepared, smart, and steady. It's in her DNA.
"To me, one of the highest compliments in our business is 'You're a pro.' And Linda is a pro," said Ron Magers, a former ABC7 anchor.
For decades, ABC7 anchor Linda Yu delivered impeccable journalism