Cherri Gregg, KLN '12, is this year's recipient of the Journalist of the Year for Broadcast/Online award from the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. As the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsradio, Gregg hosts the award-winning radio show Flashpoint with Cherri Gregg and works on investigative stories. Getting to where she is now was not easy, but her time at Klein College of Media and Communication gave her a strong start.
A native of the D.C. metropolitan area with a background in communications and law, Gregg moved to Philadelphia to work in law. But she never forgot her childhood dream of becoming a journalist. In 2009, she joined both PABJ and the National Association of Black Journalists in hopes of learning more about the world of broadcast journalism.
"It was a way for me as a lawyer to sort of get to know [and] to be around journalists," she says. "You really need to immerse yourself in whatever it is you're trying to pursue."
She became heavily involved in PABJ, receiving a previous Journalist of the Year award in 2013 and serving as the association's president in 2015 and 2016. She says PABJ has not only helped her join an impressive group of peers, but also has given her opportunities to advocate for diversity and inclusion in media organizations throughout Philadelphia.
"It's like a support group. Because journalists of color go through many unique things in newsrooms. We're covering our community, we're trying to cover the general community, and a lot of times we can be one of the only [journalists of color] or one of the very few."
After networking in the organizations and realizing how many journalists had connections to Temple University, she decided to further her education at Klein College. She started as a part-time student while continuing to work for her law firm. By January 2010, she committed to the masters in journalism program as a full-time student.
"It was a lot of juggling. But I think that being able to do that gave me the security of knowing that this was the move for me," she says. "Because I invested a lot: I went to law school, I studied for and passed two bars. So I didn't just want to leave it all behind if this wasn't something that I really wanted to do."
Gregg's involvement included serving as the main anchor for Temple University Television's Temple Update, reporting for the department of journalism's Philadelphia Neighborhoods and even receiving voice coaching lessons from one of her professors.
"Going to Temple University directly influenced my career as a journalist: in radio, in television, in Philadelphia. And I don't think I would've been able to do a lot of these things as quickly as I was able to do them if it wasn't for people I met there and the skills that I learned."
Gregg started at KYW in 2010 and eventually pitched Flashpoint. The show explores weekly headlines through the lens of social justice and public affairs, placing special emphasis on Philadelphia. Launched in 2017 as a weekly program on KYW, the show now airs twice a week and is carried on four additional stations. Last year, she also led Where's Grandma?, a two-part investigative series from KYW that exposed cracks in the guardianship system in Pennsylvania.
Gregg credits her own drive, the guidance of her mentors, and the dedication of her team to her PABJ award this year.
"It's a true, true honor to be lifted up in this way. I truly love the work that I do," she says. "This is not a job to me; this is a vocation."
The PABJ Awards and Scholarship Gala will be held Saturday, November 2 from 5-10 p.m. Tickets can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-pabj-awards-gala-at-whyy-tickets-67942...