abc_diane_saywer_bio_dm_110412_wmainThe announcement earlier this week that Diane Sawyer will be stepping down as anchor of ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer has left many people struggling to figure out the significance of this move.

ABC announced that David Muir, 40, would take the anchor seat on September 2 and that George Stephanopolous, 53, would become chief anchor for ABC News. Sawyer, 68, will continue to pursue major interviews and produce specials for ABC News— something that Salon calls “Barbara Walters’ former job” before she retired.

The most obvious change is that the three major broadcast evening news programs will be anchored by white men. Some people find that troubling; others are not bothered by that.

Karen Turner, an associate professor of journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, told TV Newser: “The evening news anchors are the face of the network. In this growing multicultural nation, it’s unconscionable that as of September three white men will lead their respective networks.”

Sheila Weller wrote on Time.com: .”Let’s remember that on September 11 it was largely two women—Diane and Katie—who rigorously, compassionately gave us the shocking news as it unfolded. In these days when our country sorely needs some unity, it would be nice and maybe even necessary to have a female sensibility—a woman—in that role again.”

But Howard Kurtz of Fox News writes: “While the network newscasts still command a sizable if aging audience, the anchor job no longer has quite the glittering status of the Rather/Brokaw/Jennings era, let alone the Cronkite/Huntley-Brinkley heyday. And if Muir isn’t the guy racing off to disasters and anchoring conventions and election nights, that further dims the luster.”

And then there’s this reaction from Maitri Mehta, writing on Bustle.com: “Essentially, it takes two men to replace the work of one extraordinary woman. You go, Diane.” 

What do you think about Diane Sawyer’s career shift?