Monica Pearson, veteran anchor for Channel 2 Action News, announced her plans to retire at the end of July after 37 years with the station. Her last day anchoring the 4 and 6 p.m. news will be Wednesday, July 25, 2012.
“Wow!” said Pearson. “Thirty-seven years is a long time to have gone by so quickly. I am thankful for this job every day and for the supreme good fortune to have been allowed to pursue my life’s calling in such an honorable place as Channel 2. It’s my home away from home and this team of journalists is my family. Believe me when I say, I’m deeply honored to have served the viewers and this community in which we all make our home.”
“Monica is on a first name basis with this community,” said Tim McVay, vice president and general manager for Channel 2 WSB-TV. “In this metropolitan area, when you say ‘Monica’ people know exactly who you are talking about.
“She lights up the camera and warms up the room. I’ve never seen anything like it. And her energy is boundless when it comes to her family, her job and her support of the community. Monica makes over 150 speaking engagements each year, lending her name and time to those in need. She gives voice to the issues and interests of this city which she loves as much as it loves her back. She’s a very special and unique person that we love and will miss very much.”
When she joined the Channel 2 Action News staff in 1975, Pearson became Atlanta's first woman, and, first minority to anchor the 6 p.m. news.
“Joining Channel 2 Action News was an almost impossible dream come true for me when I came here from Louisville’s WHAS-TV,” said Pearson. “It took a great deal of courage on the part of WSB-TV’s management team at the time to hire me, a black woman, to co-anchor the nightly news in Atlanta, Georgia in 1975. With that one hire they broke the color and gender barrier in local news in a major Southern city. I worked hard to repay that support every day and night over these 37 years. I’m honored to have played a role on the number one local news team in the country covering the news of this remarkable city and surrounding communities.”
She is a native of Louisville, KY, growing up in what is known as “Smoketown” and graduating from an all-girl Catholic High School, Presentation Academy, where she has established a scholarship in her name. The University of Louisville graduate reported for The Louisville Times for five years, then worked in public relations before joining WHAS-TV in Louisville, her last stop before moving up to WSB-TV.
“It’s been my honor to work with Monica,” said Marian Pittman, station manager and former news director for Channel 2. “In many ways, she’s the heart and soul of this newsroom. She’s a team player, and her sources and community connections open doors to stories that might go untold otherwise. She’s taught us all about giving back, reporting with care, concern and staying true to the viewers. She’s been an invaluable leader, coach and friend to everyone in the newsroom and she will be missed!”
Jovita Moore, Additional role
Jovita Moore, a 14 year Channel 2 veteran reporter and current co-anchor for Channel 2 Action News at 5 and 11 p.m., has gradually taken on some of Monica’s duties. Starting July 26th, she will temporarily co-anchor with John Bachman at 4 p.m. and Justin Farmer at 6 p.m. “We are taking some time to decide who will take on which shows,” said Pittman. “We have a great team of anchors and a lot of newscasts. That gives us multiple options for consideration.”
In speaking of her colleague’s growth from weekend anchor to one of Channel 2’s mainstay anchors, Monica said, “Talking about Jovita is easy, starting with how she jumped right into working in the community her first years here, a commitment she’s maintained and increased over the years. I saw that and knew she was special and for real.
“She’s smart, earned her master’s degree from Columbia University. Still, she’s one of those people you find so easy to talk to. Jovita can talk to anyone about anything.
“She works hard. I watched her develop from weekend anchor and reporting during the week. I remember when she was named to the 5 p.m. she cried in the newsroom. That was a special moment for all of us. Jovita is her own person on the air. She doesn’t try to be anybody else.”
“Monica blazed the trail that opened the doors for women and for people of color in local news,” said Moore. “Her success inspired other stations to make the same leap. I don’t forget for a moment that I am following in very important and courageous footsteps. She’s been an inspiration and mentor over my 14 years here. I’m proud to have worked alongside her for more than a decade.”
Important Stories and Big Interviews
When asked to recall the big stories over her career Monica replied, “Covering President Jimmy Carter’s acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, live from Oslo, Norway, reporting on President Obama’s inauguration, live from the Washington Mall, interviewing Daddy King, Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young; there have been so many historical, important moments over 37 years that it is both easy and hard to tick them off,” said Pearson. “Frankly, every time I start listing, someone reminds me of something else. Like the Olympic Park bombings in 1996. I had gone home after the 11 p.m. news. Thank goodness I lived just around the corner from the station. I came right back to work with no makeup and went straight on the air for what became a defining moment in the Olympic Games.
“And then there’s ‘Close-ups,’ my long running special program in which I interviewed a ‘Who’s Who’ among celebrities like Usher, Jamie Foxx, John Travolta - I even danced with him!, Sean Connery - one of the most handsome men in the world! - Brittany Spears, Ray Charles. Oh the list goes on and on. I loved that show because it gave me a chance to ask people those questions that everybody wanted to know.
“I will never forget traveling to Africa with Former Ambassador Andy Young. While making a special show on the amazing work he’s doing there, I traced my African roots to Cameroon.”
Pearson has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout her career including 30 Local and Southern Regional EMMY Awards. She was named "Broadcaster of the Year" at the DiGamma Kappa Broadcast Pioneer Award at the University of Georgia for the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
She has served on the Board of Directors of Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company, The High Museum, and the Alliance Theatre Company and financially supports those organizations, as well as The Metropolitan Atlanta United Way, the Northwest Georgia Girl Scout Council and the Azira Hill Talent Development Program of the Atlanta Symphony.
The organizations she holds closest to her heart are Senior Citizens Services of Atlanta and her weekly reading program to first graders in Atlanta Public Schools, formerly through the BookPals program of the Screen Actors Guild. “I’ve got my seniors and my kids. I plan to keep working with these two well into retirement,” Pearson said.
Monica is married to John E. Pearson, Sr. She has a daughter, Claire Deveaux, and a stepson, John E. Pearson, II. Her 88 year old mother, Hattie Edmonson, also resides in Atlanta.
Monica Pearson online bio
Jovita Moore online bio
About Channel 2 WSB-TV The ABC Affiliate is part of Cox Media Group and ranks as Atlanta’s number one local television station. The station also operates its website, wsbtv.com, its mobile site, wap.wsbtv.com, and airs MeTV on its digital channel 2.2.
About Cox Media Group Cox Media Group, Inc. is an integrated broadcasting, publishing, direct marketing and digital media company that includes the national advertising rep firms of Cox Reps. With $1.8 billion in revenue, the company operations include 15 broadcast television stations and one local cable channel, 85 radio stations, eight daily newspapers and more than a dozen non-daily publications, and more than 100 digital services. Additionally, CMG owns and operates Valpak, one of the leading direct marketing companies in North America. For more information about Cox Media Group, please check us out online at www.coxmediagroup.com.