Margaret Jane Pauley (born October 31, 1950; Indianapolis, Indiana) is an American television journalist, and has been involved in news reporting since 1975. She is most known for her 13-year tenure on NBC's Today program and later 12 years of Dateline NBC, and has acknowledged publicly her struggle with mental health and bipolar disorder.
Pauley competed in debate and public speaking tournaments through the Indiana High School Forensic Association while enrolled at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis. Pauley graduated from Warren Central High School in 1968. She subsequently earned a scholarship to Indiana University, where she was involved in the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. After college, she worked from 1972 to 1975 at WISH in Indianapolis and from 1975 to 1976 at WMAQ in Chicago; from there she joined network television.
From 1976 to 1989 Pauley was the co-host, with Tom Brokaw and later Bryant Gumbel, of NBC's The Today Show. Following in the footsteps, both in career and in style, of the first female anchor of the show, Barbara Walters, she became a symbol for professional women, more specifically female journalists, in the 1980s (In her autobiography, "And So It Goes", Pauley's colleague Linda Ellerbee wrote, "She (Pauley) is what I want to be when I grow up"). NBC briefly experimented with a trio of anchors, Pauley, Gumbel, and Chris Wallace, before returning to a co-anchor format with Gumbel and with Pauley serving in a deferential co-host capacity.