‘Joyful where I am,’ Hoda Kotb won’t speculate on future at ‘Today’

By Brandon Sloane, JCamp Live Reporter and Jack Chen, JCamp Live Photographer

As rumors circulated that “Today” show co-host Ann Curry would lose her position, one of her potential replacements deftly sidestepped a question Thursday about whether she’d be willing to take Curry’s place.

Hoda Kotb, co-anchor of the fourth hour of “Today” with Kathie Lee Gifford since 2007, told an audience of high school journalists that she’s comfortable with her current job.

“In life, you don’t really know what’s coming up,” Kotb said at Loyola University in New Orleans. “I’m actually joyful where I am.”

During Curry’s year-long stint as host of “Today,” the show lost popularity among viewers. In April, it dropped from the top spot in the Nielsen ratings for the first time in 16 years. That could be a factor in the move to replace Curry, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Not only has Curry’s hosting style clashed with other employees at the network, but Curry has said her personal journalistic preferences do not match up with those of a morning news show, the Times reported.

Kotb made her comments while speaking to participants of the 2012 class of JCamp, a multicultural program run by the Asian American Journalists Association, which is also inviting students to meet with jazz legend Irvin Mayfield, “60 Minutes” correspondent Byron Pitts and Anders Gyllenhaal, vice president of news at the McClatchy Co.

“For the first time in my life, I just feel happy where I am professionally,” Kotb said.

Kotb, who opened her presentation by dancing to the song “Brokenhearted” by Karmin, gave the aspiring journalists a few pieces of advice for getting ahead in the competitive field. She talked about how she was rejected 27 times at various news stations before finally getting her first break in Greenville, Miss. It’s important to always focus on the positives, she said.

“You have to find the good part in something and just live there,” Kotb said.