By Ashley Benkarski
NASHVILLE, TN — Local news anchors Harriet Wallace and Justin McFarland were announced as EMMY© nominees last year per the Nashville/Midsouth Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS).
Nominations were bestowed to those who “showed creativity and ingenuity during this unusual time,” the Chapter website read.
Wallace’s 2021 EMMY© nominations are in the categories of Interactive Media, Team Coverage, and Societal Concerns.
As a high school student she began her foray into journalism as an intern at the Tennessee Tribune’s Anthony J. Cebrun Journalism Center, where she became editor-in-chief of the student newspaper created through the program, she said.
Wallace continued on to work as a cub reporter at multiple stations, including WZTV’s Fox17. She earned their anchor position for Nashville in Focus and is the station’s “first African American woman to solo anchor a prime time newscast and to host a political talk show,” she relayed.
Wallace anchors for NewsHub media and credits the Tennessee Tribune and publisher Rosetta Perry with launching her career and keeping her in the industry, she added.
“Without Mrs. Perry ensuring the next generation of journalists were being prepared, I stand a good chance of never being here,” Wallace remarked. “It’s because of Mrs. Perry’s foresight, vision and concern that Justin and I have the foundation and audacity to pursue our dreams.”
Former Tribune writer Justin McFarland and current 4 a.m. Anchor/Breaking News Anchor for Fox17 News was nominated in the categories of Interactive Media, Breaking News or Spot News, and Team Coverage.
McFarland said his first steps into journalism began on historic Jefferson Street in the summer of 1997, where he was guided in his craft at The Tennessee Tribune’s Anthony J. Cebrun Journalism program as a young student.
“The following summer, Mrs. Rosetta Miller-Perry hired me as a sports writer for the Tribune and over the next eight years I covered the NFL and college sports,” he recalled. “Years later I would begin a career in television news. I’ve had the opportunity to interview politicians and CEOs. I have a front seat to history as it unfolds on our streets everyday. I’ve been blessed to win an award from the National Association of Black Journalists and I’ve been nominated for awards from the Associated Press.”
Adding to those accomplishments the coveted EMMY© nomination (and possible wins), McFarland hasn’t forgotten his roots. “No matter what accomplishments I’ve had in the past or whatever accolades may come in the future, none of it happens without the foundation, support and, most importantly, the opportunity that I received at the Tennessee Tribune,” he said.
The two worked on Fox17’s News Morning show together, where they reunited for the first time since their days as teenagers at the Anthony J. Cebrun program, she continued.
Nominations were for work produced from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 and were judged by peer professionals from around the Midsouth region, the Chapter’s website explains.
EMMY© winners are expected to be announced in late February.