Knight’s move to LCSO part of sheriff’s crime prevention effort
By Samantha Joseph
No more waking up in the wee hours on week-day mornings to report news that is sometimes heavy with crime. Instead, Shonda Knight will soon be in a position that will allow her to work more conventional hours while she takes measures that could lead to crime prevention.
Knight, who for more than a decade has been one of the first persons to greet local television viewers in the mornings, is leaving Channel 6 to take a new position with the Leon County Sheriff’s office. She will become executive director of community and media relations, starting on March 6.
Knight spent the last 11 years as a morning co-anchor of the Morning Show on CBS affiliate WCTV, working alongside Art Myers.
Her position will be pivotal to newly-elected Sheriff Walt McNeil’s promise to reduce crime. Setting up a community outreach initiative with the intent of preventing crime will be one of Knight’s roles in her new job. She’ll also be responsible for social media, video production and interacting with the national and local media.
“Certainly we want to fight crime,” she said, “but more than that we want to prevent crime and so a lot of that is starting on the ground level.”
Knight has plenty of experience in every aspect of her job, having starting her career as a reporter before becoming an anchor.
“The skills she brings will assist in our continued efforts to improve our communications with the media and our citizens,” said Sheriff McNeil.
Knight is a 2001 graduate from FAMU’s journalism and graphic communication program.
Despite the responsibilities of the job, the job title isn’t set in stone, according to Grady Jordan, LCSO’s public information officer. Jordan said Knight will play an integral part of informing the public on day-to-day operations within the agency.
“With her skill set working in the media industry, we really believe that communication on our end is key to informing the public about what we’re doing and how were trying to help,” said Jordan.
Knight not only has the experience for the job, but she knows the community well. She serves on the boards for the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, Whole Child Leon and the Salvation Army.
She will be expanding her role in the Tallahassee community in order to build and strengthen relationships in the community with groups that have similar missions as the Sheriff’s.
Knight has been a part of the news business for almost 18 years. She’s been with WCTV since 2006.
Knight admittedly has gained most of her experience while at WCTV, where her roles included being an anchor and executive producer. However, as much as she enjoys delivering stories on set, Knight isn’t having any second thoughts about her move.
“I love news,” she said. “It’s my first love. I’ve wanted to do it since I was 2 years old. She said. “I don’t know what the future holds but right now I know this is good for me, so I will explore opportunities and situations as they come and just try to walk in my purpose and do what it is that God wants me to do.”
Living her passion requires making a sacrifice of time. Especially being a mother with two children.
Knight starts her day at 2:45 a.m. to be on the set at 6 a.m.. Not only will her job allow her to have a few more hours of sleep, she’ll also have more time to spend with her children.
Knight is a Tallahassee native who grew up in a traditional family, something she is giving her children.
“I enjoy the fact that my children again get to grow up with their family like I did,” she said. “I have a huge family (and) my mother had 10 siblings and they all had children and my cousins were like my siblings and my aunts are also like my parents. So I enjoy the fact that my children get to live out that same tradition.”
While leaving television gives Knight more family time, it hasn’t been easy especially as her departure day draws near. Not being able to work next to Art Myers, who she idolized as a child, is one of the things she’ll miss most.
Knight said she’d always aspired to be like Myers who has been with Channel 6 for more than 30 years.
“I got to live out my dream but I have had a lot of great moments. I’ve been able to cover a myriad of stories,” she said. “I’ve talked to homeless people, I’ve had one–on-ones with governors, I’ve talked to billionaires, I have been kissed by a sea lion and I’ve pet a rhinoceros. I don’t think you can find many careers that afford you those opportunities.”
Admittedly, Knight had been thinking about making a move for some time. She just wanted to do something close to home.
The move to LCSO couldn’t be better.
“This is home,” she said. “This is home and so I have a genuine interest in making our community a better place and that’s one of the real reasons I’m very thrilled to work in the sheriff’s office.”