Erika Thomas has more than 7 years’ experience as a television journalist
Starting Monday, Erika Thomas will join Dave Sess as co-anchor of WKBN 27 First News’ weeknight newscasts at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
She is replacing Teresa Weakley, who recently took an anchor position at a station in Buffalo, NY.
Thomas is coming from Sioux City, Iowa, where she was the main anchor. She brings more than seven years’ experience as a television journalist to the Mahoning Valley.
“We are extremely pleased to have a journalist of Erika’s caliber joining our news operation,” said Dave Coy, president and general manager of WKBN and its sister stations. “Her passion for news is a very welcome addition to our news team, and her skills will only enhance our ability to provide our local viewers the very best in news coverage each and every day.”
Thomas won the Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting in 2013 for a three-part series on child sex abuse. The series focused on a 13-year-old boy and his grandfather who were fighting for justice. The child revealed he was raped by his mother’s boyfriend when he was 5 but officials didn’t have enough evidence to press charges even though they agreed something did happen.
“It was a gut-wrenching experience to hear that child’s story,” said Thomas. “At the same time, I faced a challenge to put together the pieces of the puzzle from all the people involved — to get not only the facts, but the feelings. That story exposed issues within the system that need to change in order for justice to be served.”
Thomas graduated summa cum laude from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, with degrees in broadcast journalism and economics.
“Erika is a capital ‘J’ journalist who brings a passion for not only reporting the news on television, but for digging into the stories and uncovering information that affects everyone,” said Mitch Davis, interim news director at WKBN.
Thomas is a fan of local cuisine, and looks forward to sampling the diverse restaurants in the Youngstown area. She and her husband, Dan, are also animal lovers and plan to regularly visit Mill Creek Park with their dog, Ruby.