By Marguerite Cleveland
Photo by Samantha Elise Tillman
In 1988, Tacoma native Joyce Taylor returned to the Pacific Northwest after landing her dream job at KING 5, the news station she had watched her entire life. After more than 30 years in the industry, she now holds the evening anchor chair, following in the footsteps of iconic female newscasters Lori Matsukawa and Jean Enersen. She serves the local community as a member of the Resource Board for Rainier Scholars, a 12-year academic program that offers a pathway to college for low-income students of color. Taylor graduated from Western Washington University and serves on their Foundation Board. Western recognized her as one of “100 Outstanding Alumni of the Century.” She is the vice president of the Seattle Association of Black Journalists and also serves on the Advisory Committee for the Plymouth Housing Group, which seeks to prevent homelessness.
The six-time award-winning journalist has covered a variety of newsworthy stories including the Seattle Seahawks’ first Super Bowl win, the death of Princess Diana, the Inauguration of President Trump and the Women’s March in Washington D.C. During her career she has had the opportunity to meet iconic legends across a variety of fields such as Walter Cronkite, Michael Jordan, President Jimmy Carter, Gloria Steinem, John Denver and Eartha Kitt. Currently with KING 5, she is covering two stories which could end up being the most important of her career. Both the coronavirus pandemic and the nation-wide movement that is striving to change racial inequality in the United States are new stories which will be looked upon by future generations as history.
Q. You are a Tacoma native. What was it like to move back to the area and work at your local news station?
A. I distinctly remember flying over the Cascade Mountain Range on my trip home after three years in North Carolina. Washington state never looked more beautiful. There truly is no place like home, which is why we decided to raise our own family here. As a Tacoma native, KING 5 is our family's favorite local news channel. I feel blessed to still be working in my dream job since my school days at Wilson High. Go Rams!
Q. Dorothy Bullitt was the founder of the King Broadcasting Company and the first woman in the United States to buy and own a television station. At a time when few women had such positions of power in the industry, what was it like to be hired by such an iconic role model?
A. The legendary Mrs. Dorothy Bullitt was still at the helm when I was hired in 1988. She retired shortly after I arrived, but her commitment to community is still very much a part of who we are and what we do. I was fortunate to be surrounded by other amazing women: Jean Enersen, the first female lead anchor in the nation ... and legendary reporter Julie Blacklow, still a dear friend today. Women have long been part of the KING 5 legacy. I don't see that changing.
Q. Women of our age grew up with Princess Diana and watched her life's ups and downs over the years. Did you find it challenging to cover her funeral for KING 5?
A. Like millions of others, learning of the death of Princess Diana was devastating. I was seven months pregnant with our first child when I flew to London to cover her death.
Watching her young sons say goodbye to their mother was heartbreaking. It was the same year I gave birth to our boy—who is now 22. It was two weeks I will never forget for so many reasons ... especially what it showed me about a country's love and loss.
Q. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent protests of racial inequality, our country seems more divided than ever. Do you think the news media can play any role in helping to heal our country?
A. At KING 5 we stand for TRUTH. and the truth is, we ALL have a role in helping to heal our country. Every single one of us. We MUST face the truth about systemic racism, identify it, call it out and put in the REAL work to fix what is broken to create equity for ALL of us.