Brenda Blackmon

– News Anchor, ?9 News at Ten,? WWOR-TV, Secaucus, N.J.

As lead anchor of WWOR-TV Inc.?s ?9 News at Ten,? Brenda Blackmon is a familiar face in the New York metropolitan area. She began her television broadcasting career 20 years ago in her hometown of Columbus, Ga., where she became the first African-American anchor in the city?s history. The city subsequently named her ?One of the Twentieth Century?s Most Influential? persons.

Blackmon acknowledges those who paved the way for her own achievements, particularly Malvin ?Mal? Goode, who, like herself, broke the color line. Goode, the first Black reporter for an American television network, welcomed Blackmon into the business, offering guidance and moral support. When Thomas Petner hired her in 1989 to work in Secaucus, N.J., after a meeting at a National Association of Black Journalists Convention, Blackmon was unaware that she was about to embark on the chance of a lifetime in a small town in the country?s largest television market.

Through the years, she has won numerous professional honors and dedicated herself to community service, including hosting the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon for several years. Among her citations are Emmy awards for Best Newscast, Associated Press Awards, The Edward R. Murrow Award; recognition from the FBI, by the March of Dimes, United Way, U.S. Navy; and the Rosa Parks Humanitarian Award.

After decades as a working journalist, Blackmon earned a bachelor of arts degree from Fairleigh Dickson University in New Jersey. She plans to go further, although she holds honorary doctorates from her alma mater and from Caldwell College in New Jersey.

In addition to anchoring the evening news, Blackmon is president of her own enterprise, Brenda Blackmon Communications Inc., whose mission, ?Teach one. Take one. Thank one,? reflects the importance of giving back to the community and reaching out to others. Through her company, she provides talent, production and motivational speaking services.

Becoming a parent taught her the meaning of unconditional love, Blackmon says. She hopes one day to share that love by traveling the world with children and videotaping and sharing their experiences with their peers.