Next month, the woman who actually beat out Oprah Winfrey for Winfrey's "dream job" will retire from that very job after 37 years. While Winfrey ended up doing just fine for herself, it is arguable that the woman she lost out to -- known in earlier years as Monica Kaufman and in her more recent and oh-so-happily-married years as Monica Pearson -- has had not only a huge impact on the millions who came to know her, but an even greater impact in setting a standard in the television news world that will be difficult to match. Although this may be a story about local news, it is every bit as national as Ms. Winfrey.
You see, Pearson was one of the first black women (who was actually first remains a matter of interpretation) to ever anchor a network affiliate news program in the United States. She beat out Winfrey for the position at the nationally recognized juggernaut WSB-TV in Atlanta, generally best known as the most dominate network news affiliate in the entire country. Even in 1974, the station was considered the crown jewel of the South.