Monica Pearson, who broke barriers by becoming the first African-American and the first woman to anchor the evening news in Atlanta, delivered her final newscast for WSB-TV as she heads to retirement.
”I am going to miss being in the mix of all this,” said Pearson as she sat alongside co-anchors Justin Farmer and Jovita Moore, and meteorologist Glenn Burns, recently.
Pearson, who is retiring after 37 years, closed out her last newscast with the station on Wednesday, evening, July 26. The Kentucky native began her illustrious career at the Louisville (Ky.) Times.
No tears were shed on screen by Pearson but she displayed a big smile through much of the newscast, thanking the many who she has worked with from the past and present. When the focus was not on her departure, she helped deliver the news for the last time.
Many wished Pearson well from Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, Chris Tucker, Robin Roberts and Rep. John Lewis.
”I want to wish you the best,” said Diane Sawyer of ABC News. ”We knew you had Atlanta covered as a trailblazer. From everyone here at ABC, we want to wish you the best.”
John Bachman, who co-anchored the 4 p.m. news, thanked Pearson for being a mentor to him.
”I have learned so much sitting in this chair,” he said. ”It has been an absolute honor.”
Former WSB-TV anchor John Pruitt _ who retired in 2010 _ made a brief reappearance to lead a salute for Pearson, offering his commentary in a slew of videos that featured her. She was also given a No. 37 Atlanta Hawks jersey with her last name on the back.
Pearson covered President Barack Obama’s inauguration live from Washington, D.C., traveled to Norway to cover former President Jimmy Carter’s acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 and anchored coverage of the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta. She’s also conducted interviews with celebrities from Ray Charles to Sean Connery.
WSB-TV says veteran reporter Jovita Moore will temporarily co-anchor the 6 p.m. news until a replacement is found.
Pearson said she plans to attend graduate school at the University of Georgia and write a book after retirement. She said she also hopes to travel and cook more, learn Spanish and theatre.
”I’ve got all these great plans. I want to live until I’m 120 years old,” she said in a recent interview.