ALUM RECEIVES HIGHEST HONOR FROM JOURNALISM ORGANIZATION
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced that Sandra Hughes, former anchor of WFMY-TV, as the recipient of the association's 2014 Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award – the organization’s highest honor – was recently renamed for pioneering newspaperman Chuck Stone, one of NABJ's 44 founders and the group's first president.
Hughes is an award-winning journalist and the first African American to host a PM magazine show in the southeast region and the first African American woman to host her own talk show in North Carolina.
"Sandra Hughes is a courageous pioneer who did not let racism get in the way of telling the story," NABJ President Bob Butler said. "When anchoring her show at WFMY in the 70s, the station was evacuated when someone phoned in a bomb threat because they did not want to see a black person on air.
"As the building was evacuated, she kept doing her job."
The annual award is bestowed on a journalist whose lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the journalism profession. Hughes will be honored along with NABJ's other honorees at NABJ's Salute to Excellence Gala on August 2, during NABJ's 39th Annual Convention & Career Fair in Boston. NABJ's Board of Directors selected Hughes for the award.
"Most people know of Sandra for her groundbreaking work as an African American woman in broadcasting," said National Conference for Community and Justice Executive Director Susan Felt. "But people don't know the price she paid. She risked her life to break barriers."
Hughes started her career at WFMY in 1972 as a general assignment reporter. She then hosted her own talk show, "Sandra and Friends." A few years later, she co-hosted the PM Magazine. She traveled the world and shared stories that tackled issues and introduced viewers to different cultures. In 1990, she became anchor of WFMY's 6 p.m. news broadcast.
Hughes retired from WFMY's anchor chair in 2010 but is still working. She is now a professor at North Carolina A&T State University teaching journalism courses and helping to shape future journalists.
"I'm never at a loss for words," Sandra Hughes said." I don't know if I should scream or cry. I am so honored."
Hughes is also a motivational speaker and a community volunteer. A proud graduate of North Carolina A&T, Hughes has been the recipient of numerous other honors. She received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater. Hughes' list of awards include: the first African American in the Piedmont to receive the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce; induction into the "Silver Circle," a broadcaster's hall of fame in Nashville, by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; induction into the North Carolina Association of Broadcaster's Hall of Fame; and being named an "Unsung Hero" by the International Civil Rights Center and Museum for her role in helping integrate broadcast airways in the Triad.
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For more information, please visit www.nabj.org.