Monica Kaufman Pearson is the first woman and first minority to anchor the daily evening news in Atlanta, Georgia, where she worked for 37 years at the leading station, WSB-TV. She now hosts and produces Monica Pearson One on One, a monthly personality interview program for Gray Media Group. The hour-long program is shown on Peachtree TV/ WPCH-TV in Atlanta. She has won over 33 Southern Regional and local Emmy Awards for reporting, anchoring and her Closeups celebrity interview show. She is also a member of the NATAS Silver Circle. When she retired, she was honored on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by the bipartisan delegation of the State of Georgia for her years of service on and off the air to improve the lives of the citizens of Georgia.
Since retiring in 2012, she’s stayed busy. At the age of 67, she graduated with a Master’s Degree, Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2014. She wrote a column, Monica Matters, for the quarterly magazine, Southern Seasons and taught at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. She is a much sought-after emcee and motivational speaker and for five years, she freelanced at KISS 104.1 FM, hosting This Week in Black History on their website. For five years she hosted a Sunday public affairs show on KISS 104.1. She also was one of three hosts of the Emmy nominated Georgia Public Broadcasting show, A Seat at the Table, GPB.org/ASATT. Recently she has become a radio and television spokesperson for businesses and institutions and a voice over actor. She is a member of SAG and AFTRA.
Pearson is a native of Louisville, KY, growing up in the Smoketown neighborhood. She is a graduate of the University of Louisville. She participated in the Summer Program for Minority Groups at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1969. She was a reporter for the Louisville Times newspaper and a reporter and weekend anchor for WHAS TV in Louisville. For two years, she worked in public relations at Brown-Forman Distillers.
Pearson was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame, the University of Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. In 2016, she was inducted into Georgia Trend’s Most Influential Hall of Fame. In 2019, she was inducted into the Trumpet Foundation International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, located outside the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta and was named the 2019 Woman of Purpose by Women United of the Greater Atlanta United Way. The Jeanette Rankin Foundation named her their Shining Star for 2019. In 2021, she was inducted into the National Black Radio Hall of Fame. In 2022, Pearson was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the R.I.C.E. (Rising in Community Excellence Award) and the Visionary Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Latino Film Alliance and Festival.
She is a Lifetime Trustee of Meals on Wheels Atlanta. In May of 2015, she chaired the Go Red for Women Luncheon of the America Heart Association and has served on the Executive Leadership Council and on the American Heart Association National Communications and Marketing Committee. She is also the first non-medical person to serve on the board of Americas-Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association Foundation, (AHPBAF.)
Pearson was the first African American and second woman to serve as Chairperson of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. She also was the first woman to serve as President of the Atlanta Tipoff Club, which first presented the Naismith Awards to outstanding basketball players on the high school and collegiate level, locally and nationally. From 2005-2021, she served on the Board of Jurors for the prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards at the University of Georgia and chaired the Board of Jurors in 2022, the first African American woman to hold that position. She is a 2016 University of Georgia Grady Fellow. The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication awarded Pearson the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020. Pearson also has received an alumni Fellow’s award from The University of Louisville. She is a recipient of the 2018 University of Georgia Graduate School Alumni of Distinction Award. Omicron Delta Kappa, The National Leadership Honor Society, presented her its 2018 Pillar of Leadership Award, Celebrating Excellence in Communications.
Pearson has been recognized nationally for her reporting. The Women’s Sports Foundation and Miller Lite awarded her the Women’s Sport Journalism Award for Local Television Reporting for her investigative report on the Georgia High School Association, which in its 87-year history had never had a woman on its executive committee and did not have statewide competition for girls’ soccer and cheerleading. The report led to women being added to the committee and soccer and cheerleading being recognized as sports with competition statewide. That led to college scholarships for girls in both sports.
She was also awarded first place recognition by the Atlanta Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Green Eyeshade Awards for Excellence in Journalism/Documentary for “Hot Flash! The Truth About Menopause,” in 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.
In 1992, her report “The Abuse Excuse” was named “Best News Story (Large Market) and received an Exceptional Merit Media Award—EMMA.
Pearson has been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the nation’s first Black sorority since 1966 and is a member of the Kappa Omega Chapter in Atlanta, the oldest chapter in the state of Georgia. The sorority awarded her the Presidential Vanguard Award in 2016. In 2018, the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA presented Pearson with the Pat Summitt Inspiring Woman Award.
Pearson is a member of The Junior League of Atlanta. She is a breast cancer and liver cancer survivor.
Pearson has received honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Atlanta University, now named Clark Atlanta University; Oglethorpe University; American Bible University and a Doctor of Public Service from Young Harris College.
She is married to John E. Pearson, Sr., is the mother of Claire Patrice Deveaux and stepmother of John E. Pearson II.
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