Jessica Crawford, a rare Black woman anchor in the Wichita market, hopes that when the younger generation in Wichita turns to KAKE news, they can see some of themselves in her.
“I believe that a lot of people in Wichita, that may have felt forgotten in the past can see themselves in me, said Crawford, who joined the KAKE team as an anchor in February.
Crawford is part of a recent surge in Black reporters and anchors in the Wichita market. While a Black reporter or two at each of the stations may have come and gone, a Black anchor was almost un heard of.
“It feels nice to report on things that reflect the reality of people who are like me. Because and I really do try to make it a point to make sure that stories in our community are covered and that they’re covered with the right context,” said Crawford.
Historically, media industries have had a poor track record building news teams reflecting the communities they covered and Wichita hasn’t been an exception. A 2018 survey by the American Society of News Editors, the most recent available, found only 7.19% of full-time newsroom employees were Black, compared to 78.18% percent White.
Having diverse voices in newsrooms plays a critical role in finding and reporting stories that benefit an entire community.
Crawford feels her hiring filled a necessary void on the KAKE news team.
‘ I know that part of the reason I was brought in was that I could bring a unique perspective, on several levels, and I think that not just my educational background but also who I am in this world, said Crawford. “I think that me being a Black woman definitely is an asset to KAKE.”
Born and raised in Humble, Texas, Crawford credits her passion for reporting with growing up in Southeast Texas, prone to natural disasters, and relying on the news to get essential information. Prior to KAKE, Crawford spent more than five years at KFDM in Beaumont, Texas. During her tenure there, she held various positions, including reporter, anchor, and producer.
Crawford received her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Houston. She also attended South Texas College of Law while working at KFDM, starting her law firm Jessica Crawford Legal Group, an online service focusing on helping business clients navigate legal processes.
She currently anchors KAKE’s 4 p.m.news and is a part of the station’s “investigates team,” As a legal reporter, each Thursday produces a segment “Know Your Rights.” These reports dive into legal matters that are hot topics or given to her by viewers. Crawford likes these segments because they allow her to use her platform to help people and tell the untold stories of the community.
“ We’re really trying our best to give viewers the most important information that hopefully saves some lives,” said Crawford.
Aside from her many professional obligations, Crawford enjoys everything lifestyle and self-care based. She enjoys shopping, spending time with her dog, and most of all, reading.