Best Local Television News Anchor - 2001
Melanie Lawson, KTRK-TV, Channel 13
Readers' Choice: Dave Ward
Despite a marital breakup and a long-running battle with multiple sclerosis, this daughter of a preacher man remains one of the pillars of stability at Channel 13. As an anchor and reporter, Melanie Cerise Lawson conveys empathy, poise and intelligence. The last is not surprising, given her Princeton undergraduate credentials with advanced journalism and law degrees from Columbia. Licensed to practice law in Texas and New York, she served a stint as a Wall Street attorney before returning home to establish herself as one of the first high-ranking African-American television news figures in Houston. In the empathy department, Lawson also had a good teacher. Her father is Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church pastor Bill Lawson, a man credited with helping to broker the way for expanded civil rights and political opportunities for black Houstonians. Separated from high-tech-company owner Geary Broadnax, the 46-year-old Lawson now flies solo from an aerie at the Bayou Bend Condominiums off Memorial Drive. So far her MS has required occasional use of a cane, but is not noticeable to viewers and didn't keep her from traveling to South Africa with former president Bill Clinton for Nelson Mandela's election. Like longtime Channel 13 favorites Dave Ward and Marvin Zindler, Lawson is a prime reason the station continues to stay competitive in the Houston TV news market.