ATLANTA - Veteran news anchor Brenda Wood has announced her upcoming retirement from WXIA 11Alive in February 2017 after 20 years with the station and 40 years in television news. She will anchor her final newscast on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.
“I never imagined I’d be so blessed for so long in this business,” said Wood. “I’m honored and humbled that people have welcomed me into their homes over all these years and trusted me with giving them the day’s news. I’m especially grateful for the countless people I’ve met from all walks of life who have inspired me with their acts of kindness and genuine goodness. It’s been an incredible journey.”
Brenda has garnered a national following with her “Last Word” commentaries. They have become a distinct feature of 11Alive’s evening broadcast with many of her commentaries going viral on social media. She also has hosted and co-produced several award-winning prime time specials including “Remembering the 1996 Olympics,” “A Conversation Across America,” “50 Years of Change,” “Mission of Hope,” and multiple editions of the Emmy winning magazine show “Journeys with Brenda Wood.”
Notable news coverage includes President Barack Obama’s inauguration, the death of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, The Carter Center’s groundbreaking medical work in Ethiopia, the 2006 Beijing Olympics and the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.
She has interviewed a wide range of newsmakers from President Jimmy Carter and Egypt’s former First Lady Jehan Sadat to civil rights icons Ambassador Andrew J. Young and Congressman John Lewis to entertainer Cher and rapper T.I.
Wood plans to harness her decades of broadcast experience and follow her lifelong dream to develop and produce artistic projects outside of news.
“The professionalism and poise of Brenda Wood helps define the 11Alive brand. Brenda is synonymous with everything great journalism stands for – passion, curiosity, and a burning desire to right wrongs”, said WXIA/WATL President and General Manager John Deushane.
Wood added, “WXIA always will be family to me. It’s a great group of talented people here. I will miss them and the camaraderie of the news room, but I’m looking forward to finding new ways to tell stories. There’s so much more I want to do. I’m keeping my eyes and ears open to new possibilities for how I might accomplish that goal.”
Brenda has received numerous awards and honors throughout her career including 20 Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Southeast Region, five Gabby Awards from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters, four awards of excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists, six awards from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and the Gannett Award for Short Form Writing.
In 2014, Wood was inducted in the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame. That same year she was named a “HISTORYMAKER,” a distinct national honor recognizing African American trailblazers. Her career story is recorded in the national archives in Washington, D.C.
In 2013, Wood was honored with the NATAS Silver Circle Award for her long and distinguished broadcast career. She also was named Georgia Woman of the Year by the Governor’s Office of the Georgia Women’s Commission.
“We will greatly miss working with such an accomplished and well respected journalist,” said Deushane. “She has always challenged us to do more, to go deeper, and to give voice to the voiceless. She’s a leader in our newsroom and will leave a big void. Brenda has always been an advocate for the Atlanta community and we know that will manifest itself in even additional ways in the future.”
Wood’s involvement in the Atlanta community has been an integral part of her career and will continue in the years to come. She has served on numerous boards including Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, Project Interconnections and Childkind, and helped raise funds and volunteered with numerous charitable and civic organizations in metro Atlanta such as The Atlanta Community Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, The Task Force for the Homeless, Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, Pink Ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness, The National Black Arts Festival, The UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball, Alzheimer’s Association of Atlanta and St. Jude’s Recovery Center, just to name a few.
“I love Atlanta,” said Wood. “I wasn’t born here, but this city is my home. It’s a joy to serve my community, to meet the many open-hearted people who make this city such a great place to live, and to say thank you to a city that has shown me so much love and support. Though I’ll be spending more time with my family and friends, I will continue to give back and contribute to this remarkable community.”
Deushane noted about the upcoming Wood transition that “11Alive will carefully think through who will replace Brenda for the evening news. The decision will not be rushed nor taken lightly.”
A native of Washington, D.C., Wood graduated Summa Cum Laude from Loma Linda University in Riverside, Calif. She started her broadcast journalism career as a news reporter and morning anchor at WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Ala. A year later, she moved to WSM-TV in Nashville as a general assignment reporter before returning to WAAY as the evening news anchor at the age of 23. Two years later, Wood became the first African American evening news anchor in Memphis, Tenn., at WMC-TV. The station became the dominant No. 1-rated TV station in the market. Eight years later, Wood became the evening anchor at WAGA-TV in Atlanta and later, evening anchor at WXIA 11 Alive.
Brenda has two daughters, Kristen Wood Burke and Kandis Wood Jackson, and two wonderful sons-in-law, coincidentally both named Adam. All reside in Atlanta.