NABJ Mourns the Loss of Steve Crump, First Journalist of Distinction
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The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is mourning the loss of longtime member and esteemed journalist Steve Crump, who passed away today after a courageous battle with cancer.
Crump, 65, dedicated more than 40 years to the field of journalism, which included more than three decades of Emmy award-winning work as a reporter for WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina.
He was NABJ’s inaugural Journalist of Distinction (2016), which honors an individual whose work has been extraordinary and significant to people in the African Diaspora.
He was recognized several times throughout his career with NABJ’s Salute to Excellence Award in multiple categories, including his 2022 win for “Muhammad Ali’s Victory Away from the Ring.”
“Steve was a personal friend and longtime mentor,” said Ken Lemon, NABJ President. “He was always there to cheer me and so many others on. His impact on my life as a journalist and NABJ member is indescribable. A beloved member, Steve was the personification of resilience. His impeccable work reached beyond the newsroom and into many lives to whom he gave hope and inspiration. We extend our condolences and love to his wife, Cathy, his entire family, colleagues, mentees, and all who knew and loved him.”
Crump’s exceptional coverage of the Black community – including tragedies like the Mother Emmanuel Church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina – made him a beacon of light and a respected storyteller. His work in journalism went hand-in-hand with the cause for equality, social justice and human rights, earning him such honors as the 2022 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities, which highlighted his documentary storytelling and “truthful, in-depth news reporting.” He was also inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 2020, previously named Educator of the Year by the Charlotte Post Foundation, and received the City of Charlotte’s Martin Luther King Junior Medallion Award.
Crump produced more than 20 documentaries on civil rights issues. His work included confronting racism through groundbreaking reporting, such as interviewing known Ku Klux Klan members and telling the story of the 1968 racist attack at historically Black South Carolina State University, where three students were shot to death and 30 others injured at the hands of the state highway patrol.