Shepard Smith, one of Fox News Channel’s original hires in 1996 and the face of the network’s news operation, is stepping down from his role as chief news anchor and managing editor of the breaking news unit.
His last show as a Fox News anchor was this afternoon—the 3 p.m. edition of Shepard Smith Reporting.
“Shep is one of the premier newscasters of his generation, and his extraordinary body of work is among the finest journalism in the industry,” Fox News Media president Jay Wallace said in a statement. “His integrity and outstanding reporting from the field helped put Fox News on the map, and there is simply no better breaking news anchor who has the ability to transport a viewer to a place of conflict, tragedy, despair or elation through his masterful delivery.
“We are proud of the signature reporting and anchoring style he honed at Fox News, along with everything he accomplished here during his monumental 23-year tenure. While this day is especially difficult as his former producer, we respect his decision and are deeply grateful for his immense contributions to the entire network.”
Smith has covered virtually every major news story over the course of his career as both a correspondent and an anchor.
“Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter,” Smith said in a statement. “After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many. It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor. I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I’m proud to have anchored their work each day—I will deeply miss them.”
Smith has been a stern critic of the Trump administration, butting heads with some of his conservative colleagues at Fox News. The president has gone after Smith on a number of occasions via Twitter, and it remains to be seen whether he will acknowledge Smith’s departure with a tweet.
Before anchoring Fox News’ 3 p.m. hour, Smith anchored The Fox Report and Studio B, the No. 1 cable news shows in their respective time slots.
When there was breaking news, millions of Americans turned to Smith. He anchored coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, along with the subsequent manhunt and ultimate capture of the Tsarnaev brothers; the financial crisis of 2008; the war in Iraq in 2003; the war in Afghanistan in 2001; and the terrorist attacks and devastating aftermath of 9/11.
More recently, Smith anchored breaking news of the El Paso shooting; the Parkland school shooting; hurricanes Dorian and Irma; the Las Vegas massacre; terrorist attacks in France and Belgium; the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015; the 2014 riots following the shooting of civilian Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo.; and the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
In January, Adweek named Smith one of its 30 Most Impactful TV Newsers of the Past 15 Years.
“There have been far too many consequential changes to list here,” Smith said when asked the biggest way the news industry had changed the past decade. “But I’ll explain what I tell students and young professionals who pass through the newsroom: The only constant in this business is change. When I was just starting out, we ripped wire reports from printers in the newsroom. Then the internet changed how we communicate. Everything moved at the speed of light (or more realistically, at your 28.8 kbps modem connection).
“More recently, Twitter and various mining/aggregator websites have done it again. The college graduates today (like all of us) have no idea what the next 15 years will hold. All anyone can do is be ready for change. And that’s part of what makes it all so exciting.”