A Charlotte area TV reporter wants to lead the nation’s largest organization of Black journalists.
Wilmington native Ken Lemon has been at WSOC-TV almost 25 years, assigned to the station’s Gastonia bureau.
For more than a decade, the UNC Wilmington graduate and former student body president also has been active with the 4,000-member National Association of Black Journalists. He started by helping revive the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists in 2008.
Currently the group’s vice president of broadcast, Lemon is now a candidate for president of the organization, which serves as a professional organization and advocacy group. Voting by its members begins July 1 and concludes Aug. 4, the last day of the NABJ’s annual convention being held this year in Birmingham, Alabama.
Lemon says he’s running for the unpaid position because he believes in “championing diversity in the media.” He wants to see diversity spread beyond just those on camera or whose bylines appear in print or websites, but to those who make the decisions in newsrooms.
“The more Black people you have in journalism, the more stories you’re going to have from communities that are often overlooked,” says Lemon. “When you have diversity in your ranks, no matter what you are producing, studies show you tend to produce a better product.”
Lemon faces competition from Tre’vell Anderson, an award-winning freelance journalist based in Los Angeles and founder and “chief imagination officer” of Slayzhon, a social curation and media production house. Anderson authored the book “We See Each Other: A Black Trans Journey Through TV and Film” published in May 2023.
Current NABJ President Dorothy Tucker, an investigative journalist for the CBS affiliate in Chicago, is ineligible to run, having already served the maximum of two, two-year terms.
Lemon has won numerous accolades over the years for his news coverage, including three Emmy Awards. Before coming to WSOC, he also worked for TV stations in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington.
Lemon became more than just a member of the National Association of Black Journalists because of his desire to be of service. As a child, his mother, Annie Devane, was active with city government, and would often have community meetings at their home. “We had those discussions at our dining room table. Folks come in and we hashed out issues,” says Lemon. “At the time, I was the kid crawling around underneath the table.”
The National Association of Black Journalists serves as an advocate for individuals. In the last few years, Lemon has been an advocate for other journalists in other states that have faced discrimination over the dark complexion of their skin to how women wear their hair. He also serves as a mentor to students at North Carolina A&T.
“We all help each other to be the best journalists that we can be,” Lemon says of the organization. The National Association of Black Journalists has chapters in Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and the Triad.
Grant Hines, who is pursuing his master’s degree in communications at High Point University after earning a bachelor’s degree there in May, is one of three candidates running to be student representative to the National Association of Black Journalists.