Skip to content

Philadelphia’s First Black TV Reporter, Trudy Haynes, Has Joined The Ancestors

Philadelphia’s First Black TV Reporter, Trudy Haynes, Has Joined The Ancestors

She was 95-years-old.

Philadelphia’s first Black television reporter, Trudy Haynes, has joined the ancestors, The Inquirer reports. 

Born Gertrude Daniels in New York, she was known warmly as “Miss Trudy” to many. Holding a degree from Howard University, she started her career as an advertisement model, becoming the first Black poster model for Lucky Strike cigarettes. From there, she went into radio, spending seven years working as a receptionist for a radio station in Michigan where she eventually worked her way up to become editor of a daily women’s program. 

In 1963, she made history again as the first Black weather reporter in Detroit, making sure she made herself available for more complex interview assignments. 

“They didn’t send women out on these tough roles. I volunteered for some of them, and I got some of them,” Haynes previously told reporters. 

In 1965, she was recruited by Philadelphia's KYW-TV, which would eventually become CBS3 Eyewitness News. Haynes then made history for the third time as the first Black television reporter in the city. Haynes felt it was her duty to tell the stories of Black Philadelphians and became a trusted local personality in the community. 

“When I went out on the story, I did what I thought the story should be about. And I made a point when they were edited to include whatever our brown story was. We needed to tell our own stories about our own people,” Haynes recalled. 

Over the course of her career, she interviewed a number of prominent figures including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., former President Lyndon Johnson, Muhammad Ali, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Tupac Shakur. For her work, Haynes received an Emmy in 1995, two lifetime achievement awards, honors from the NAACP and United Way, as well as an induction into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia’s Hall of Fame in 1999. 

That same year, she retired from KYW and dedicated herself fully to helping the next generation of young journalists. She even continued her journalism up until recently, hosting a weekly public access show on PhillyCAM entitled The Trudy Haynes Show up until the start of the pandemic. Haynes also established two offerings in her name, the “Trudy Haynes Reporting Fellowship,” which provides resources and coaching for those interested in getting into the business, and a college scholarship for interested journalism or communication majors in partnership with CBS3 and the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ). 

Haynes passed away in the city at her home, surrounded by family and friends. Condolences and fond memories have poured in for the pioneer and the PABJ issued a formal statement about the trailblazer’s passing. 

“At 95 years old, Trudy lived a life that broke barriers for Black journalists, women, and anyone who dreamed they could make it. She made history that not only changed the media industry in Philadelphia, but ushered in a new generation of diverse journalists in America. We will continue to remember her for being the ultimate game-changer and making a lifelong commitment to mentor, give, and inspire those behind her,” the organization tweeted. 

Rest in power, Ms. Trudy! Thank you for paving the way for generations of Black journalists. 

Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Robertson/The Inquirer