HomeEntertainmentSarah-Ann Shaw, WBZ legend and Boston's first Black woman TV news reporter,...

Sarah-Ann Shaw, WBZ legend and Boston’s first Black woman TV news reporter, dies


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BOSTON – Sarah-Ann Shaw, a legend at WBZ-TV and Boston’s first Black woman TV news reporter, died Thursday. She was 90 years old.

Shaw was a lifelong resident of Roxbury, according to her biography at Roxbury Community College.

Sarah-Ann Shaw at WBZ-TV

She began her career in TV news at WBZ in October 1969 and spent 31 years at the station as a general assignment reporter. Shaw also anchored public affairs programs for WBZ and spent much of her time with civil rights and social service organizations.

Sarah-Ann Shaw 

CBS Boston

She brought one belief to her job in broadcast journalism – that continuous hard work on any one issue will bring about change.

“People were just waking up to the fact that there was an underserved community and they needed to be recognized in a way that was on a parallel, on a par, with everyone else,” the late veteran WBZ-TV reporter Charles Austin once said in an interview.

Shaw’s first decade at WBZ was a turbulent time in Boston with the civils rights struggle, the Vietnam War and busing. But through it all, Shaw blazed a trail.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sarah-Ann Shaw, the first Black reporter at WBZ Boston. Her pioneering spirit, dedication to journalism, and commitment to amplifying marginalized voices have left an indelible mark on our industry and community,” WBZ-TV president and general manager Justin Draper said. “Sarah-Ann’s fearless pursuit of truth and unwavering advocacy for social justice set a standard for excellence that will continue to inspire generations to come. Our thoughts are with her loved ones during this difficult time, and we honor her legacy.”   

A voice to Boston’s disadvantaged 

She was the first woman of color to be an on-air reporter at WBZ, giving a face and a voice to Boston’s disadvantaged – the homeless, the hungry, women in need of help and children in need of better lives. She also reported on all of the good in the communities throughout Massachusetts.

Sarah-Ann Shaw 

CBS Boston

Shaw retired from WBZ in 2000 and was later inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

“If she had a beat, it was to the heart and soul of the community and that was beating all the time for Sarah-Ann,” said Austin.

“I’ve tried to be a bridge”

“I’ve tried to explain various ethnic and racial communities to people who don’t live in those communities. I’ve tried to be a bridge,” Shaw once said in an interview. “I want to thank everyone externally and internally who helped me over the years and I want to assure viewers that, despite my absence, it does not and should not mean that your stories will not get told.” 

Sarah-Ann Shaw services

A wake will be held on April 26 at the Davis Funeral Home on Walnut Avenue in Roxbury from 5 to 8 p.m.

A “Celebration of Life” will be held on April 27 at 11 a.m. at the Bethel AME Church on Walk Hill Street in Jamaica Plain. That service will be streamed live on the Bethel website.

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