News Anchor Monica Pearson Retires In July

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    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, 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 26, 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,     “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.”

    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.

    Pearson 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.

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