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Longtime CNN host Brooke Baldwin gives emotional farewell

CNN's Brooke Baldwin gave an emotional farewell on Friday during her final appearance as host of "CNN Newsroom."

The veteran host, who has anchored the show for more than a decade, detailed how she received the position and thanked her fans and CNN colleagues for pushing her over the years.

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"Let me let you in on a little secret: This job, my show here on CNN, was not originally supposed to be mine," Baldwin said. "More than a decade ago, there was an anchor — suddenly departed CNN, leaving this gaping hole in the afternoons. The then-bosses quickly turned to me, and they were like, 'Brooke, we're going to need you to keep the seat warm, just for a week, until we actually find the person who will take over this show.' OK, well, guess what? I have kept this seat warm for nearly 11 years." 

Baldwin recounted some of the history-making moments she witnessed during her time anchoring for CNN, from the coronavirus pandemic to mass shootings that rocked the country.

"This job, using my voice for over a decade, has been nothing short of a profound privilege," Baldwin continued, taking a deep breath. "So to you at home, thank you. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for holding me accountable. And thank you for all of the love. I'm telling you, I'm reading every single one of your DMs."

In her closing, she thanked viewers and her CNN team for holding her accountable and pushing her to be better, saying she has been able to leave "this place better than I found it."

She pointed to the recent increase in female journalists who hold positions as White House correspondents as the latest marker of change and progress.

"Let me tell you something: When I saw all of those women recently..., I was on my feet cheering them on," she said. "So many women, Black, white, brown. Progress. We do need diverse voices telling our stories from in front of the camera and to the executive suites. We are making progress. So whatever industry you are in, my parting words: Get a little uncomfortable. Speak up and keep pushing."

Baldwin announced her plans to leave CNN in February. She will release a book, “Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power,” later this month.