CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - WBTV’s Steve Crump was named Educator of the Year by the Charlotte Post Foundation.
Charlotte Post referenced Crump’s acclaimed documentaries that tell television viewers about pivotal events in the African-American experience.
Crump recently celebrated 35 years with WBTV and has covered every imaginable news story while finding time and energy to produce some 30 documentary programs for WBTV and public television station WTVI.
Crump’s documentaries range from Apartheid in South Africa to a biography of Muhammed Ali, and from South Carolina’s Orangeburg Massacre to the violence-marred integration of Charlotte’s Harding High. 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 present its Educator of the Year award to Crump at its annual banquet on Saturday, Oct. 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 in 1957 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.
Charlotte Post’s article goes on to reference Crump’s coverage of the 2015 deadly shooting in Charleston, South Carolina at Emmanuel AME Church.
The article also mentions Crump’s relationship with long-time broadcast executive Jim Babb, who was president of Jefferson Pilot Broadcasting, former owner of WBTV.
Crump has mentored many journalists, and 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."
Crump's institutional knowledge impresses Boll. "He knows what really matters," Boll said, "and it keeps us as a station grounded in the community we serve."
Now 58, Crump recently returned to WBTV after taking medical leave to fight colon cancer.
"I'm getting stronger," he said, and praised his wife Cathy and step-daughter Dr. Jennifer Perry for their support.
He's glad he's 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.”