Homecoming week: Jineane Ford, Linda Alvarez, Kent Dana and Lin Sue Cooney
Author: 12 News
Published: 6:56 PM MST February 23, 2018
Updated: 6:56 PM MST February 23, 2018
INSIDE-12 4 Articles

It’s homecoming week on 12 News.

That means some of your favorite news personalities from the past are coming back and catching up with Curtis and Caribe. Jineane Ford, Linda Alvarez, Kent Dana and Lin Sue Cooney are all stopping by.


Homecoming week: Jineane Ford, Linda Alvarez, Kent Dana and Lin Sue Cooney

Chapter 1

Jineane Ford

From Miss USA to 12 News

You welcomed her into your living room for 16 years. Now Mark Curtis and Caribe Devine are catching up with Jineane Ford.

"I was at first afraid," Jineane said. "How am I going to be received? You know, the former Miss USA Gilbert girl."

PHOTOS: Jineane Ford joins 12 News Homecoming Week

Mark Curtis on Jineane:

Ask 10 people what they think about Jineane Ford and they will all tell you 10 different answers… all of them good.

Beautiful, authentic, unfazed by her success… I could go on, but she wouldn’t like that. Jineane is the poster child for the old expression, “local girl makes good”.

MORE: Jineane Ford overcame obstacles when she was a 12 News anchor

The Miss Arizona who became Miss America who became one of the faces of 12 News. Jineane alsom became a fantastic mom, businesswoman and local celebrity.

Through it all, she never left and she really never changed.

My guess is she had many opportunities, but Gilbert has and always will be home. That’s a good thing for us.

Our story with Jineane Ford:

Chapter 2

Linda Alvarez

A humble trailblazer

She was the first Latina anchor in Phoenix local news. This week we’re catching up with Linda Alvarez as part of our homecoming week.

"I wouldn't walk down the street thinking, 'hey, I'm a Latina journalist.' I walked down the street thinking how lucky I was to be in Phoenix," Linda said.

Joe Dana on Linda:

Phoenix attorney Daniel Ortega was a political activist in the early 1980’s when he remembers first seeing a fresh new face on the NBC affiliate, 12 News. The anchor was Linda Alvarez.

“She wasn’t just Linda Alvarez,” Ortega said, pronouncing the name with an English accent. “She was Linda Alvarez,” said Ortega with zest, stressing the Spanish accent.

That style would become Alvarez’s signature introduction throughout her career. Her presence signified a pivotal era in the Phoenix news media when Latino voices began contributing to the airwaves in a major way.

“For the Latino community, we had finally broken that barrier to be a lead anchor on a major channel,” Ortega said.

Alvarez co-anchored 12 News in the late 1970’s through 1985, becoming the first Latina to fill the position in the Valley. Over the course of the next 22 years, Alvarez anchored the weekday news in her hometown of Los Angeles for CBS-owned KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV.

MORE: Linda Alvarez laughs during a news segment

Speaking to 12 News for “Homecoming Week” from her house in Santa Monica, CA, Alvarez talked about what it was like to be a trailblazer in the field of broadcast journalism and why she always pronounced her name on-air with a Spanish accent.

“I did it for my grandmother,” Alvarez said. “She was very proud of our heritage and she instilled that pride in us.”

During her time in Phoenix, Alvarez helped launch the Hispanic Women’s Conference, a national event that continues today. Alvarez was credited with using her clout to recruit sponsors for the organization.

“She connected our community,” said Olga Aros, founder of the Hispanic Women’s Conference. “She also inspired hundreds of young Latinas to consider communications as a field of study.”

Alvarez says she didn’t consider herself breaking new ground when she started her job in Arizona as a co-anchor and reporter.

“I felt very accepted when I first started working in Phoenix,” Alvarez said. “More than a trailblazer, I was just grateful for the opportunity to work in a place like that.”

Today Linda is retired with her husband Leo Perez, an entrepreneur and former broadcast TV executive. Alvarez has stayed active by traveling and volunteering.

“I love the ocean,” Alvarez said. “I can go on walks on the beach, so living is good. I’m very, very blessed.”

Our story with Linda Alvarez:

She enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews and she follows the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I’ll always consider myself a Dodger girl,” Alvarez said with a smile.

Looking back on her career, the adopted daughter of Arizona considers herself a story teller first.

“I think the most important thing is to be a good journalist,” Alvarez said. “Do a good job. Do your research. And be who you are.”

PHOTOS: Linda Alvarez joins 12 News Homecoming Week

Chapter 3

Kent Dana

Setting the gold standard

A legend in Arizona, bringing you the news for over 30 years. Hear from Kent Dana as he sits down with Mark Curtis and Caribe Devine on Wednesday after the Winter Games.

"It was the highlight of my week because you could see lives changing," said Kent.

MORE: Kent Dana describes his concerns with social media

Mark Curtis on Kent:

I love Kent Dana. I love his professionalism, his delivery, his presence but most of all, I love his laugh.

Back in the day when I was doing sports, Bill Denney, Steve Pascente and I would sit around in the sports office and try to figure out ways to make Kent crack up on the air. Why? Because we knew once he started, he couldn’t stop. It was an infectious, giggle that quickly spread to Jineane Ford and then to Bill Austin or Sean and then to whoever was doing sports.

Don’t get me wrong, Kent was serious… until he wasn’t.

MORE: Kent Dana's advice: Take your work seriously, but not yourself

He also had a tremendous soft spot for children which is why he was the perfect guy to front our “Wednesday’s Child” segment each week. Kent had a way of making each child, no matter their circumstance relax and smile. Ultimately, there were many, many children in Arizona who were adopted thanks to Kent.

I treasure the years I was able to work and learn from him.

PHOTOS: Kent Dana joins 12 News Homecoming Week

MORE: Wednesday's Child aims to find forever homes for foster children

Caribe Devine on Kent:

Kent Dana is one of the most recognized news anchors in Arizona a legend in the history of 12 News. He was the face of 12 News for more than 3 decades.

I started working at 12 News in 2005 just shortly after Kent Dana left 12 News so I never had the opportunity to work with him but from the stories I heard about Dana in the community knew I was part of a station that had a solid reputation for trust and integrity largely due to journalists like Kent Dana.

Recently, I had the chance to formally meet Dana and chat with him about life after an amazing career in television news. Kent shared his thoughts on how much TV news has changed since he left, some of his biggest moments, what he misses most, his pride in his son who followed in his footsteps, and life as a retired grandfather. We even had a few good laughs with the news legend who as it turns out has a pretty funny sense of humor too.

MORE: Curtis & Caribe describe Kent Dana's laugh

Our story with Kent Dana:

Chapter 4

Lin Sue Cooney

From the heart to your home

For 30 years you welcomed her into your home bringing you every moment that mattered. Mark Curtis and Caribe Devine will caught up with Lin Sue.

"I really did feel like we were serving our community and telling them information they needed to make the best decisions," Lin Sue said.

PHOTOS: Lin Sue Cooney (Shepherd) at 12 News

Caribe Devine on Lin Sue:

It’s been almost 3 years since Lin Sue and I worked at the anchor desk together at 12 News for nearly 13 years. It was great to get to catch up with my former coworker and dear friend to chat about what she’s been up to.

After decades as one of the most well-known news anchors in Arizona, Lin Sue in now the Director of Community Engagement for Hospice of the Valley.

I spotted Lin Sue in the parking lot with her certified therapy dog Max in tow, looking radiant and refreshed. One of the first things Lin Sue will tell you she doesn’t miss about television is the late nights and rushed dinner breaks in between shows. I’ll admit I am slightly jealous of her new “normal” schedule however Lin Sue is someone I’ve admired since the day I met for her talent, elegance, kindness, but most of all her ability to maintain a career with a demanding schedule while being a mother to four children, or five children, if you include her beloved dog Max.

During her chat with Mark Curtis and me, the one thing Lin Sue says she does miss about leaving TV is the people she worked with. And boy, do we sure miss her too and her famous dark chocolate toffee she would bake for the newsroom on just about every holiday. Yum!

So, now after more than 30 years as a TV journalist Lin Sue is sharing her talents with Hospice of the Valley overseeing their business and fund development, marketing, and volunteer and creative services. If you know Lin Sue like I do then this career shift won’t surprise you that much. Her spirit of giving, nurturing, and helping seems just the right fit for a non-profit like Hospice of the Valley that has been serving the Valley for more than 40 years.

Our story with Lin Sue Cooney:

Mark Curtis on Lin Sue:

A little Martha Stewart, a little Ann Curry, and a little June Cleaver.

She was ( and still is) the perfect blend of all three and I had the good fortune of sitting next to her for upwards of 24 years… first to her left when I was doing sports and then to her right when we co-anchored 12 News.

Lin Sue was the perfect work wife, partner and friend. I always marveled at how she juggled ( I’d say balanced) but sometimes it really is a juggling act being a phenomenal mom, journalist, and wife.

Through the years I also learned that she was a whiz at interior decorating and had a weakness for dark chocolate and red wine. Maybe that is why we got along so well!

I have a feeling though that it’s more likely that she is the same person on the air that she was off.

Kind, smart, talented and generous. Its why the Valley loved her and why all of us at 12 still do.

WATCH: Funny Seinfeld promotion video by the 12 News team