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WBTV reporter Steve Crump a teacher in front of and behind lens
Post Foundation Educator of the Year
Published Wednesday, June 12, 2019 11:42 am
by Ellison Clary | The Charlotte Post

Longtime WBTV reporter Steve Crump, who moonlights as a documentary producer, is the Charlotte Post Foundation’s Educator of the Year.

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Reporter Steve Crump's acclaimed documentaries tell television viewers about pivotal events in the African American experience. Recognizing that, The Charlotte Post Foundation has named him its Educator of the Year.

A veteran of more than three decades at Charlotte’s WBTV, Crump has covered every imaginable news story while finding time and energy to produce some 30 documentary programs for Channel 3 and public TV station WTVI.

His documentaries range from apartheid in South Africa to a biography of Muhammad Ali, from South Carolina's Orangeburg Massacre to the violence-marred integration of Charlotte's Harding High School in 1957. He's earned multiple awards.  

“Steve Crump produces documentaries that enlighten the community about civil rights struggles,” said Gerald Johnson, publisher of The Charlotte Post and president of The Charlotte Post Foundation. “He has brilliantly used pen and camera to tell stories of historical significance.”

The foundation will honor Crump at its annual banquet on October 5 at the Hilton Center City.

“Maybe I do educate," Crump said, “but the overarching theme is cheering for the underdog. I see myself as somebody who has delivered information that empowered a community. You end up sinking your teeth in something.”

Crump bit into the 50th anniversary of Harding High's integration by Dorothy Counts-Scoggins. She left after four days of abuse, but successor Harding University High presented her with an honorary diploma after Crump's piece aired.

“A lot of newcomers continue to immigrate to this town and they don't know that story,” he said.

Crump sped to Charleston, South Carolina the morning after a gunman murdered nine people in Emmanuel AME Church in 2015. An in-depth report resulted.

“To feel that level of a community's collective grief and sorrow is just unlike anything I've ever gone through," he said. “Seeing bullet holes in the wall where [the shooter] carried out the horrendous crime – it will make you think.”

Cynthia Hurd, sister of former state senator Malcolm Graham of Charlotte, was one of the victims. Graham praised Crump.

“He told the Charleston story in a way everyone could understand,” Graham said, "that what occurred was not just an attack on nine people. It was an attack on a race, on a Christian church and on humanity.”

A Louisville, Kentucky, native and horse racing fanatic, Crump, 61, arrived at WBTV in 1984. Subsequently, he took a job with a Detroit station, but was lured back to Charlotte by long-time broadcast executive Jim Babb.

“I think his work has been the finest of anybody in journalism in Charlotte during the last 35 or 40 years,” Babb said.

Now retired, Babb was president of Jefferson Pilot Broadcasting, former owner of WBTV. He remembers Crump’s early days clearly.

“Steve exhibited a lot of talent, drive, energy and enthusiasm,” Babb recalled. “We thought he would not only be good on the air but he’d be good in the newsroom as far as overall morale.”

Crump has mentored many a budding broadcast journalist. He’s earned the newsroom moniker “Crump Daddy.” That nickname reminds Crump of what he calls “the highest compliment I ever got.” It came from reporter/anchor Jamie Boll, who referred to Crump on the air as “the conscience of our newsroom” because of his institutional knowledge.

“He knows what really matters,” Boll said, “and it keeps us as a station grounded in the community we serve.”  
Crump recently returned part-time at WBTV after taking medical leave to fight colon cancer. He’s about 100 pounds lighter and continues chemotherapy treatments.

“I’m getting stronger,” he said, praising his wife Cathy and stepdaughter Dr. Jennifer Perry for their support.

Crump said he’s glad to have worked so long at WBTV and lived in Charlotte.

“This is a great place,” he said. “I found something here that a lot of people never find – stability, a welcoming environment and a place of opportunity.”


Mr . Crump, you are a legendary Icon in News andJournalism. Thank you for keeping us aware of present and past Iconic Issues.
Posted on June 15, 2019
Steve Crump is a class act. He adds the personal element to all his reporting. So glad he?s back.
Posted on June 14, 2019

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