PNC Honors Blacks in Atlanta Media - Monica Pearson Media ICON the first Black Woman to Anchor the Evening News in Atlanta
Monica Kaufman became the first African-American woman to anchor the evening newscast in Atlanta. She has won 28 Emmy Awards, including for her interview format show “Close-Ups.” If you think any of this is happenstance, think again. Pearson at an early age that she’d pursue a career in communications. Her part-time job in high school was at a Black-owned radio station in Louisville, KY. That was no guarantee, but Monica Kaufman Pearson became the FIRST at many things while becoming Atlanta’s most trusted news anchor. We have the privilege of speaking with Pearson about her career and life. Ms. Pearson, welcome to The Local Take.
Pearson speaks about growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, in a neighborhood called “Smoke Town” between Cabbage Town and Butcher Town. She speaks about her mother’s experience as the first in the family to graduate high school. She speaks about attending Catholic School like her mother.
I ask Pearson about working at the Black Radio station in Louisville while in high school. She speaks about Ms. Yvonne Anderson Livingston, who provided charm school classes for high school girls. She introduced Pearson to Rev. Dr. William Summers, who bought WLOU in 1971, becoming the first African American in Louisville to own a radio station. It was the start of her media career.
While journalism is still considered mainly white and male, I asked Pearson about choosing a career path dominated by people who didn’t look like her. She shares that while at the Louisville Times Newspaper, she was invited to attend an immersive journalism course at Columbia University in 1969. While working in public relations at Brown-Forman, she was invited to join Bingham Family Media, owners of WHAS-TV. She goes on to tell us how she came to land the anchor job at WSB-TV. She beat out Oprah Winfrey and Jane Paulie for the position. Soon after, the evening combination of a White male anchor partnered with a Black female anchor went nationwide. Proving decades ago that “Atlanta Influences Everything.”
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