Monica Pearson is a renowned Atlanta television broadcast journalist.
After 37 years as a news anchor with WSB-TV Atlanta, Pearson retired in 2012. She now hosts a weekly radio show on KISS 104.1 FM and continues her Closeups interviews on www.wsbtv.com/monica.
Since her retirement, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia with a M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication, August 1, 2014; taught at Atlanta Metropolitan State College and wrote a column for Southern Seasons Magazine.
She has guest lectured at numerous colleges and universities, including the University of Georgia, Clayton State University, Kennesaw State University, Columbus State and Savannah State.
She joined WSB-TV in 1975 as Atlanta's first woman and first minority to anchor the daily 6 p.m. news. She also has anchored the 4, 5 and 11 p.m. news during her career, debuting the 4 and 5.
Pearson began her professional career at The Louisville Times newspaper, followed by a position in the public relations department of Brown-Forman Distillers, before joining WHAS-TV in Louisville for three years as a reporter and later anchor.
She has received numerous accolades and honors for her distinguished bodies of work, 33 local and regional Emmys for reporting, anchoring and her Closeups and an Emmy for an exclusive interview, that garnered national recognition, with Georgia Congressman John Lewis in 2008, who changed his U.S. presidential support from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama.
After announcing her retirement, Pearson was also honored by Georgia lawmakers, the City of Atlanta and Fulton County for making history in the state and for her service to Atlanta and Georgia for nearly four decades.
In March 2012, the bi-partisan Georgia delegation to the U.S. Congress honored Monica on the floor of the U.S. House. “Monica Pearson with WSB television in Atlanta, Georgia is indeed a true pioneer and a trailblazer in television news,” Rep. David Scott said on the House floor.
Among her many awards, Pearson was awarded the Legacy Award from the National Association of Black Journalist in 2012, the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Team Trailblazer Award in 2013 and also that year the Interdenominational Theological Center presented her with the James H. Costen Award for Excellence in Civic and Community Affairs.
In 2015 she was awarded the Richard M. Uray Award of Excellence from the National Broadcasting Society, Alpha Epsilon Rho and the Women’s Leadership Exchange awarded her their Compass Award.
She is a member of The Journalism Hall of Fame at the University of Kentucky, the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, The Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame, The Georgia Music Hall of Fame and will be inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in July of 2016.
She is a member of the Silver Circle of the Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received its highest honor, The Governor’s Award. She also was appointed in 2016 to a three year term on the Board of Jurors of the prestigious Peabody Awards of the University of Georgia.
Pearson is a member of numerous civic, community and professional organizations, including the NAACP (Life Member), The National and The Atlanta Associations of Black Journalists, The Atlanta Press Club and the Screen Actors Guild, to name a few.
She was the first African-American and the second woman to serve as Chairman of the Metropolitan United Way in 1988. In 2000, she was the first woman president of the Atlanta Tipoff Club that awarded the Naismith Trophy for the best in basketball. She also has served on the boards of directors for Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company and Meals on Wheels Atlanta.
She chaired the Go Red for Women Luncheon in 2015 for the American Heart Association, which saw a 115% increase in fundraising over 2014. She also is a member of Sisters of Promise, of Susan G. Komen and is a breast cancer and liver cancer survivor. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Monica is a native of Louisville, Kentucky and grew up in what is known as Smoketown and graduated from an all-girl Catholic High School, Presentation Academy, where she has set up a scholarship for minority girls.
In addition to her degrees from the University of Louisville and the University of Georgia, she holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), Oglethorpe University, American Bible University and a Doctor of Public Service from Young Harris College
Pearson is married to John E. Pearson Sr., the mother of Claire Patrice, and step-mother of John E. Pearson, II.