Monica Pearson retired on July 25, 2012 after anchoring thirty seven years on WSB-TV.
She joined the Channel 2 Action News staff in August, 1975 as Atlanta's first woman and first minority to anchor the 6 p.m. news and announced in Feb. 2012 that she would retire on July 25, 2012. Monica ended a run of more than 30 years as the Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat anchor in May 2011 when WSB-TV launched its 4 o'clock newscast. She continues to report for Channel 2 Action News.
The University of Louisville graduate was a reporter with The Louisville Times for 5 years. In 1969 she participated in the Summer Program for Minority Groups, later called The Michelle Clark Fellowship, at the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, New York. She worked in public relations for Brown-Forman Distillers before she joined WHAS-TV in Louisville, as a reporter and anchor for 3 years. She is a native of Louisville, Ky, growing up in what is known as Smoketown and graduating from an all girls Catholic High School, Presentation Academy, where she has established a scholarship in her name.
Monica is a member of various professional organizations, which include: The society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi; The National Association of Black Journalists; The Atlanta Association of Black Journalists; The Atlanta Junior League, American Women in Radio and Television, The Atlanta Press Club, NATAS, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences,SAG, Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA, American Federation of Television, Radio Artists.
Monica Pearson retired, Wednesday, July 25, 2012. She received numerous awards, which reflected her outstanding abilities. The following is a partial list of her achievements:
30 Local and Southern Regional Emmy Awards- for Talent, Reporting, and CLOSEUPS. In 2008, she won an Emmy for her exclusive interview with Congressman John Lewis. That interview made national headlines because Lewis changed his support for President of the United States from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. Honors include the Distinguished Service to Broadcasting Award, presented in January, 1989, by DiGamma Kappa Honorary Society at the University of Georgia. (Previous recipients of this award include Barbara Walters, Ed Bradley, and John Chancellor.) In 1992 the Metropolitan Atlanta YWCA presented her their prestigious "Woman of Achievement Award." The Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics voted to award her the "Friends of Children Award for 1992." The Women's Sports Foundation and Miller Lite presented her the "Women's Sports Journalism Award for Local Television Reporting" for her investigative report on the Georgia High School Association, which in its 87 years had never had a woman on its executive committee and did not have a statewide competition for girls' soccer and cheerleading.
Monica was awarded First Place recognition by the Atlanta Professional Chapter Society of Professional Journalists, Green Eyeshade Awards, for excellence in Journalism/Documentary for "HOT FLASH! The Truth about Menopause", on March 18, 1995. The documentary also won two National American Women in Radio and Television Commendation Awards, in competition with network programs, for Best Magazine Show and Best Program produced by a woman.
Monica was the first black person and the second woman to serve as Chairman of the Metropolitan United Way, in 1988. In 1993 Lieutenant Governor Pierre Howard paid tribute at a surprise luncheon- "Georgia Says Thanks, Monica"-with tributes from Families First, Northwest Georgia Girl Scouts, and Exodus. The Georgia Association of Broadcasters named Monica Kaufman "1992 Citizen-Broadcaster of the Year."
The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust named Monica recipient of the Humanitarian Award at their May 8, 1977 Civic Observance of the Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, in appreciation of her documentary, "Prejudice and Hate: Georgians and the Holocaust."
"The Abuse Excuse", entered by Monica Kaufman, Susan Stone, Sean Drummond, and Leon Jobe, was named "Best News Story (Large Market)" and received a 1997 Exceptional Merit Media Award- EMMA.
The 1997 AWRT Tara Tribute Award was presented to Monica Kaufman and Rebecca Chase at an October, 1997 banquet, for their outstanding contributions to broadcast journalism.Monica is a Life Member of the NAACP, and she secured a Life Membership for her daughter, Claire Patrice, at age 9 months.
Monica is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She is a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and attends Gospel Tabernacle Church, where her husband is the senior elder.She was coordinator of the senior citizens program at Lourdes church, called "Young at Heart and Filled with Spirit." She was inducted into the NATAS Silver Circle and in 2007 received the Board of Governors Award from the Southeastern Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In 2000 Monica was named the first woman president of the Atlanta Tipoff Clubs Awards for High School Basketball Players and co-sponsors of Naismith Awards.Monica's 2001 awards are the Kentucky Journalist Hall of Fame, the Archdiocese of Louisville Award, and the Atlanta Business League Award.
In 2001 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. In 2010, she was presented the Alumni Fellows award , representing the College of Arts and Sciences, of the University of Louisville.
In 2002 Monica received an Emmy Award for Best Feature Program, "Monica Kaufman Closeups", Jezebel Magazine named her "One of the 50 Most Beautiful Women" in 2003. The National Foundation for Women Legislators presented Monica with a Media Excellence Award at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in February, 2004. 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, the Azira Hill Talent Development Program of the Atlanta Symphony The Georgia Commission of Women and Georgia Women of the Year elected anchor/TV personality Monica Kaufman as "2004 Georgia Woman of the Year". Monica joins the ranks of these other distinguished Georgia women: 1996, First Lady Rosalyn Carter; 1997, Kennesaw State University President Dr. Betty Siegel; 1998, Georgia Supreme Justice Leah Ward Sears; 1999, Claire Hicks, M.D.-a Jesup physician who treats AIDS patients; 2000, Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox; 2001, Georgia's First Lady Marie Barnes; 2002, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin; and 2003, Georgia Power Company Executive Vice President Judy M. Anderson.
She also has received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) in 1986 and another from Oglethorpe University in 2007.
In 2011, she was one of the Human Highlights Recipients of the Legendary Awards presented by Dominique Wilkins, NBA Hall of Fame Basketball Player. Also in 2011, she was the recipient of the of the Champion For a Cause Award, presented by Atlanta Falcon player, Chauncey Davis and his Foundation, in the fight against diabetes.Monica was also recognized with the Serving Winners “Community Spirit” award by the Atlanta Youth Tennis Foundation and was named to Yahoo!'s list of Atlanta's 10 most powerful and influential people in the summer of 2011.
In 2012, Monica also received the Inaugural Nathaniel Goldston Leadership Award from 100 Black Men of Atlanta. Monica also received the Atlanta Metropolitan College Foundation Leadership Awards with five others, including Atlanta Public School Superintendent Errol Davis, and media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner.
In March 2012, members of the U.S. Congress took a moment to honor Monica. “Monica Pearson with WSB television in Atlanta, Ga., is indeed a true pioneer and a trailblazer in television news,” Rep. David Scott said on the House floor. Since announcing her retirement, Monica has also received a proclamation from the city of Atlanta and was honored by Georgia lawmakers for making history in the state and for her service to Atlanta for nearly four decades.
In 2013, Monica received an Honory Doctorate of Public Service frmo Young Harris College.
She's also now a columnist for Southern Seasons magazine and has expanded into radio by hosting a program on Sundays from Noon to 2 p.m. on KISS 104.1, Atlanta's best R&B starting in January 2014.
Since 2002 Monica has read weekly to first graders in Atlanta Public Schools through the BookPals program of the Screen Actors Guild.
Monica is married to John E. Pearson, Sr. She has a daughter, Claire Patrice, born in 1980 and a stepson, John E. Pearson, II, born in 1985.