Sally-Ann Roberts was honored Wednesday with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters, as the group singled her out from broadcasters across the state for her 37-year career at Channel 4 and numerous contributions to the southeast Louisiana community.
The award was presented at the LAB awards luncheon in Baton Rouge. Sally-Ann's husband and sister along with other friends, colleagues and WWL-TV co-workers, including president & general manager Tod Smith, were on hand to celebrate the honor.
Sally-Ann joined WWL-TV in 1977 as a reporter and has co-anchored the Eyewitness Morning News with Eric Paulsen for more than 20 years. The LAB honored Sally-Ann for her decades of work communicating positive stories to Channel 4's viewers, both on air and off. That includes co-founding the youth mentorship program, Each One Save One, and serving as a motivational speaker and author.
Over the past two years, Sally-Ann and her sister, ABC News 'Good Morning America' anchor Robin Roberts, have also inspired viewers and almost certainly saved lives through their very public handling of a private health concern. Sally-Ann donated bone marrow cells to save the life of her sister, as she battled a rare blood disorder.
Throughout the process, Sally-Ann and Robin made a conscious decision to use their personal story to highlight the need for more bone marrow donors, through the 'Be the Match' campaign. They appeared in news stories (on WWL-TV and nationally), produced public service announcements and made public appearance at local donor recruitment drives. The efforts triggered an outpouring of support from across the nation. In the months following the initial appeal, more than 44,000 people joined the Be The Match Registry. In 2012 and 2013, Sally-Ann and WWL-TV also produced stories each month highlighting local donors and donor success stories. The donor rolls locally grew by hundreds of people as a result of the coverage.
That personal story which put Sally-Ann and her family in the headlines was just one of thousands she has reported on over the years. While she has covered the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina as well as countless other disasters, crimes and controversies, true to her character, she says she most enjoys reporting good news. For more than 10 years, Sally-Ann produced reports on 'Quiet Heroes,' volunteers in the community who are helping others.
For nearly two decades in the 1990s and early 2000s, Sally-Ann also hosted WWL-TV's Saturday morning teen talk show, 'Our Generation.' Once again, Sally-Ann used this on-air platform to highlight the positive work of local young people, giving them a voice for their concerns, and also to spotlight the good work being done by students as high school journalists, actors, musicians and athletes. Young people who appeared on that program are now working around the country as journalists, educators, engineers and other professions.