Hughes’ television career spanned four decades—all in the Piedmont Triad. This pioneer journalist and community advocate worked at WFMY-TV from 1972 until her retirement in 2010. She began working at the CBS affiliate as a general assignment reporter. Hughes later served as a host, and morning news and evening news anchor. She is the first African-American woman in the Piedmont to host her own daily talk show. Hughes also served as the station’s manager of community affairs, which allowed her to host a number of service events, drives and initiatives that truly improved the lives of people in the Piedmont Triad. Hughes now works as a professor of journalism at her alma mater, North Carolina A&T State University.
In November 2013, the National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad (NCCJ) recognized Sandra for her service. NCCJ Executive Director Susan Feit said, “Most people know of Sandra for her groundbreaking work as an African-American woman in broadcasting. But people don’t know the price she paid. She risked her life to break barriers.”
Hughes is often emotional, yet modest, about having worked through frequent station evacuations during the mid- to late 70s, when she hosted Sandra & Friends. Bomb threats led all station employees and guests to be escorted from the building; however, Hughes and a technical director stayed and continued with the live program.
NABJ and its chapters thrive because people like Sandra Hughes served. Her work and leadership have enriched the lives of people of all backgrounds, not just in the Piedmont Triad, but also throughout the country. So many newsroom leaders have been inspired by the Sandra Hughes story.
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been renamed for Chuck Stone. Stone, one of NABJ’s 44 founders and the organization’s first president, was a pioneer, print journalist. The Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a journalist whose lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the journalism profession.