SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — WSAV News 3 evening anchor Tina Tyus-Shaw was honored Friday at the 69th annual Southern Regional Press Institute (SRPI), hosted by Savannah State University.
Tyus-Shaw, who delivered a keynote speech on day two of the conference for the Milledge-Owens Awards Luncheon, was emotional as she received the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications.
“This has been a tough journey, it really has,” the longtime WSAV reporter and anchor said to the crowd as she fought back tears.
“I say those two words, ‘tough’ and ‘good,’ because I’ve worked with some phenomenal people who have lifted me up when I had good days and bad days, and people who have just pushed me along the way,” Tyus-Shaw said.
She remarked that it feels “so unreal” to have been employed by the same news station for nearly 28 years.
Tyus-Shaw thanked her family and friends for their support of her dreams and career goals through the years, and expressed gratitude toward Savannah State for the prestigious honor “from the bottom of my heart, a thousand times over.”
She told the journalism and mass communication students in attendance Friday afternoon that her door was always open to offer advice on their career endeavors.
One of her mentees, mass communications senior Clara Fort, told the audience that Tyus-Shaw was mentoring her long before the pair ever met in person and before she became a Savannah State student, as Fort watched News 3 at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. with her grandmother.
“She was mentoring every young African-American woman through a television screen, telling them, ‘one day, you can be in my place,’” Fort said to a round of applause.
Prior to being honored with and accepting her award, Tyus-Shaw told the audience of journalism veterans and aspiring media professionals a little bit about her own journey into the world of broadcast media during her keynote speech.
The oldest of six children, the Griffin, Georgia, native went on to attend Tennessee State University and told the crowd she had a difficult time initially getting her foot in the door in the news business.
Tyus-Shaw eventually took a job as a receptionist with the thought that one day, she’d make her dream a reality.
“I knew that I would eventually make it to the point where, ‘hey, I’m going to be on TV someday,’” she said, adding that having the right mindset got her where she wanted to be.
“Young people,” Tyus-Shaw addressed the students, “if you want it all, and if you want to do it all, you really have to step outside of the frame and look at the bigger picture to see not just where you are now, but to see the potential of where you are going.”
Tyus-Shaw wrapped up her keynote speech with one final note of advice for the students: “be the artist and the creator of your big picture.”
Learn more about the 69th annual Southern Regional Press Institute here.