WELCOME

WELCOME! My name is ERIKA THOMAS and I am an award-winning television news anchor, reporter & producer with more than a decade of experience, currently anchoring three hours of local coverage every weeknight. I am a proven newsroom leader who’s fiercely competitive, loyal, committed to hard work and striving for change in an ever-evolving industry. I’m also a storyteller who loves sharing my passion with viewers in a truly authentic way.

Erika Thomas Head Shot

I connect with people at home by bringing them the day’s news on TV and interacting with them online and in person. I understand how important social media and digital are to the future of our business. That’s why I’m pushing the boundaries and finding innovative ways to engage our fans and keep them coming back for more content, on air and in the palm of their hand. I’m the most-followed journalist on Facebook at our station, covering CBS, ABC & FOX affiliates in our market.

RATINGS & AWARDS: I helped WKBN 27 First News climb to #1 in my time here anchoring 5, 6, 10 & 11 PM and we just won an Emmy for best evening newscast. I also have a regional Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting.

CLICK PLAY FOR A QUICK SAMPLE OF ANCHORING, STAND UPS & LIVE SHOTS

ANCHORING: Ad-libbing breaking news – on set weeknights at 5, 6, 10 & 11 PM

REPORTINGExclusive story about life of local transgender man

LIVE SHOTS: Tracking traffic during multiple hits in 90-minute newscast

FACEBOOK LIVE: Leading the effort to interact with viewers 24/7 on social media

WATCH NOW: Live stream of WKBN 27 First News (Eastern Time)

It’s easy to navigate this site! On the left side of the home page (on desktop), the table of contents will direct you to my anchoring, live shots, reporting and resume or just keep scrolling (on desktop or mobile). You can get a sample of my work and let me know what you think! You can also connect with me directly through the social media menu & learn more about my background by clicking Meet Erika Thomas or using the tab at the top of the page. There you’ll find my direct contact information. Enjoy your stay and I hope to hear from you soon!

ANCHORING

AD-LIB ON SET

These unscripted moments covering breaking news, live shots, reporter debriefs and adding extra information to a story while on set during WKBN 27 First News at 5, 6, 10 & 11 PM show how I can share important content from the set and guide viewers through unplanned moments in our coverage in a calm and conversational way.

GM LORDSTOWN – FIELD ANCHORING

I field anchored 90 minutes of news from the General Motors Lordstown plant celebrating its 50th anniversary. The rundown was set prior to going on the air but a majority of my moments are unscripted and genuine reactions to all the activity going on around us. Watch until the end to see the second of two pieces I put together for our coverage. The first aired the night before during a special 30-minute documentary.

5 & 6 PM NEWSCAST – BREAKING NEWS

I spent the hour before our 90-minute newscast making multiple calls trying to get any details we could about a breaking news story – a standoff on a major highway between police and a man with a gun, backing up traffic for miles. That information emerged throughout our broadcast after I spent time on the phone with our reporter, helping him navigate backroads to try and get the best vantage point possible in a remote spot of our viewing area. That team effort benefited our viewers because we used different sources and tools to keep developing the story while live on the air.


11 PM NEWSCAST – SOLO ANCHORING

I anchored all three hours of local news coverage on the 4th of July by myself. Here’s the newscast we put on the air at 11 PM, covering the holiday along with major local news because our brand never rests.

For more samples of my work, watch live weeknights at 5, 6, 10 or 11 PM Eastern
You can also see behind the scenes of recent newscasts on my Facebook Live stream

REPORTING

ONLY ON 27: EXCLUSIVE REPORTING

Exclusive coverage of day turn stories, special projects and sweeps pieces. These samples will show you the range of my reporting.

Becoming Jay: I conceptualized this story after North Carolina passed its controversial bathroom bill this spring. I reached out on Facebook to connect with someone in our local transgender community and found Jay. He’s not involved with support groups or even physically transitioned yet. I thought this would be a chance to talk with someone personally about the daily struggles he faces and show how not every transgender person is the same. He didn’t want to meet at his house because of safety concerns so we met at a park and had to work around limited video of hanging out at that location. This is one of the reasons I tied my standup into our surroundings. I worked closely with my photographer on a number of sequences to match action and with graphics on a vision for my animation. I also did an extended Facebook Live video in between my 6 and 11 PM segments to talk more about things I couldn’t fit into the on-air stories and open a dialogue with viewers about the subject.

4th of July Holiday Weekend Travel: I did live shots throughout our 90-minute newscast tracking traffic at 5 & 6 PM. That included a live interview with a local police sergeant. I then pitched to my fan page and continued the conversation on Facebook Live, giving viewers a chance to ask him specific questions. The two-screen experience expanded our coverage and content. We also talked with drivers and put together this story about what they saw on the roads before I anchored 90 minutes at 10 & 11 PM.


Former Youngstown State University Police Chief Talks About Dismissal: 
After anchoring the 5 & 6 PM newscasts, I learned the police chief would sit down to discuss an internal investigation into his last months on the job. He only spoke with me to give his side of the story. I quickly read through the newly-released report, rushed over to get the interview and put together a story for our lead at 10 PM. I also teased it on Facebook with an exclusive video clip that pushed viewers to watch our coverage.


Mercer County March for Babies: Two-year-old Jackson Wiesen was born weighing 14.6 ounces! Being a new mother myself brought an added perspective to this story and allowed me to connect with the family. I suggested using the GoPro for an extra video element and edited the majority of this piece.

Dollar General Robbery: We learned about this incident after the 6 PM newscast through a Facebook post by police and I spent more than an hour working to track down the employee who helped officers. She agreed to meet us and we quickly turned this story, not returning to the station until after 9 PM. I had less than an hour to finish and get on set to anchor 10 PM.

International Angelman Day: I worked with my photographer to develop a shooting strategy for this story because the family’s four children are not verbal and function best following their evening routine. We decided to shoot the entire piece around the kitchen table while the kids played and focus on sequencing in the editing process to keep the flow of video seamless.

Boardman Redevelopment Brews up New Business: I pitched this idea and developed sources for this piece after driving by the same strip mall for months and slowing noticing changes. I knew I wanted to focus on the larger economic impact of cleaning up this area of town, not just a new shop. My eye for business reporting comes from my degree in economics, helping me understand its importance to a local community.

Local Police Officer Fights ALS Diagnosis: This story hit home for me because Brian Newhard was about the same age as my husband. I interviewed him just weeks before he passed away after he and his wife agreed to share their story. I worked to select soundbites that hit at the heart of his struggle while also being understandable because of the disease’s impact on his speech.

Adrienne’s Army: When I first started at WKBN 27, I interviewed Adrienne Toth in a follow up to stories my predecessor had done with the young mother about being diagnosed with breast cancer and finding out she was pregnant in the same week. I continued to follow her journey until she died in December 2015. A few months later, I sat down with her family and friends about how they’re keeping her memory alive. Viewers constantly asked me about Adrienne and felt a connection to her, one I worked hard to bring alive on screen.

 

LIVE SHOTS

HOLIDAY WEEKEND TRAFFIC

Live reports throughout 90 minutes of news at 5 & 6 PM; at end of first hit, I pitched to my fan page and continued the conversation with the police sergeant on Facebook Live for a two-screen experience to create content on social media

PRIDE YOUNGSTOWN VIGIL

Local candlelight vigil honoring Orlando shooting victims which I also streamed live online through my Facebook fan page; event finished at 9:40 PM, got interviews for later newscasts and then quickly set up for 10 PM live report


SEVERE WEATHER

Live shots covering snow removal after a major, late-winter storm; field anchored 5/6 PM newscasts from multiple locations around the city, tracking cleanup efforts

SEBRING WATER CRISIS

Live shot covering council meeting as part of the Sebring Water Crisis, where lead had leached into the local community’s water supply; field anchored 10/11 PM newscasts on a Monday night, first weeknight after crisis broke over the weekend

SALVATION ARMY

Live shot covering bell ringing for the Salvation Army as part of 27 Difference Day, a community initiative to raise awareness and money for multiple organizations; field anchored 5/6 PM newscasts from this location

RESUME

EXPERIENCE

WKBN-TV 27, FOX Youngstown (CBS/FOX), Youngstown, OH
www.wkbn.com
[2013 – present
]

Evening News Anchor: anchor 5, 6, 10 & 11 PM weeknight newscasts; newsroom leader; ad-lib breaking news and live developing stories; foster on-air dynamic with co-anchors; work closely with producers to craft coverage plan, choose lead, write stories, headlines & teases; mentor reporters & edit scripts; live field anchoring; collaborate with photographers on nightly shoots & long-form enterprise pieces; write & edit packages; engage community through social media posts & exclusive online content; update website; volunteer in community

KMEG-TV 14, KPTH FOX 44 (CBS/FOX), Sioux City, IA
www.siouxlandnews.com
[2008 – 2013]

Evening News Anchor [2012 – 2013]: anchor 5, 9 & 10 PM weeknight newscasts; anchor & produce “week in review” Sunday newscast; work closely with producer to write stories, headlines & evening teases; mentor reporters & edit scripts; live reports; shoot, write & edit packages; update website & social media pages; investigative reporter

Morning News Anchor [2010 – 2012]: anchor two-hour weekday morning show; produce & anchor morning cut-ins; shoot, write & edit weekly agriculture franchise and other stories as needed; schedule live interviews/guests; work closely with producer and production staff on weekly segments; update website & social media pages

Reporter [2008 – 2013]: enterprise story ideas & develop sources; shoot, write & edit packages; live reports; fill-in anchor as needed; update website & social media pages

Weekend News Anchor [2008 – 2009]: produce and anchor 6, 9 & 10 PM weekend newscasts; work closely with reporters, photographers & production staff; assignment desk; update website & social media pages

Producer [2008 – 2013]: produce evening, morning & weekend newscasts as needed; produce “week in review” Sunday newscast; update website & social media pages

KOMU-TV 8 (NBC), Columbia, MO
www.komu.com
[2006 – 2008]

Reporter: enterprise story ideas & develop sources; shoot, write & edit packages; live reports

Anchor: weekend & fill-in for morning, noon, 5, 6 & 10 PM newscasts

Weekday morning show national video editing using Avid & teleprompter operator; assignment desk

SKILLS

Newsroom: Anchor, Investigative & GA Reporter, Mentor, Producer, Videographer, Editor, Social Media, Assignment Desk
Editing: Quantel, Adobe Premiere Pro, EDIUS, Avid NewsCutter XP, Final Cut Pro, Beta, DVC Pro
Videography: SonySD Card, DVC Pro
Computer Systems: ENPS, NewsKing, AP NewsCenter, iNews, Microsoft Word & Outlook
News Services: CBS Newspath Now, FOXNews Edge, CNN Newsource, NBC News Channel

EDUCATION

University of Missouri School of Journalism, Columbia, MO
Double Majors: Broadcast Journalism and Economics
Graduated May 2008 with Summa Cum Laude honors

AWARDS

RTDNA Regional Edward R. Murrow Award – Investigative Reporting
RTDNF/RIAS Berlin Kommission German/American Journalist Exchange Fellow
NATAS Lower Great Lakes Chapter Emmys – Best Evening Newscast

Northwest Broadcast News Association First Place Eric Sevareid Award – Series
Iowa Broadcast News Association First Place Farm & Agribusiness
Iowa Broadcast News Association Second Place In-Depth/Series Award
Iowa Broadcast News Association KMEG/KPTH Overall Excellence

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley marketing committee & mentor
Salvation Army Northeast Ohio Division volunteer
Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley event emcee & volunteer
Relay for Life of Boardman team leader/top fundraiser
Angels of Easter Seals Fashion Show volunteer
American Heart Association Heart Walk participant
Stambaugh Pillars Fashion Show emcee & model
Hospice of the Valley Awesome Aussie Luncheon celebrity server
Volunteer reader and speaker at local schools