Philly’s first Black TV reporter, Trudy Haynes, has died 

A New York native and Howard University graduate, Haynes was born Gertrude Daniels but was affectionately known in Philly as Miss Trudy.

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Trudy Haynes, a broadcast journalism pioneer who was the first African American television reporter in Philadelphia, died Tuesday at the age of 95. 

A native of New York and a graduate of Howard University, Haynes was born Gertrude Daniels but was affectionately known in Philly as Miss Trudy, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. She had interviewed some of America’s most memorable famous personalities, a list including Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Muhammad Ali and Tupac Shakur. 

Trudy Haynes, a broadcast journalism pioneer who was the first African American television reporter in Philadelphia, died this week at the age of 95. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube.com)

Haynes began her career as a model for Lucky Strike cigarettes before getting into broadcast journalism at a radio station in Inkster, Michigan. She rose through the ranks, starting as a receptionist to eventually becoming the editor of a daily program for women. Her television career began in Detroit as the country’s first Black weather reporter. In 1965, Haynes was recruited by Philadelphia’s KYW-TV — the station that later became CBS 3.

In an interview last year with her former Philly station, Haynes claimed she would seek out harder news assignments in Detroit. “They didn’t send women out on these tough roles,” she said. “I volunteered for some of them, and I got some of them.” 

At KYW-TV, Haynes became the first Black television reporter in the City of Brotherly Love. Over her lengthy career there, Haynes became a staple in local broadcasting, a heralded journalist and show host who took pride in telling the rich tales of everyday Philadelphians. 

“When I went out on the story, I did what I thought the story should be about. And I made a point when they were edited to include whatever our brown story was,” she said in an Inquirer interview earlier this year. “We needed to tell our own stories about our own people.”

Known for her wit and personality, Haynes was an Emmy Award winner who been honored by numerous organizations, including the NAACP. She was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia’s Hall of Fame in 1999.

Haynes retired that year, but she was a mentor to younger journalists and hosted a weekly public access show until the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. 

The National Association of Black Journalists recognized Haynes’ passing on Twitter.

“We pause to reflect on the life of legendary Trudy Haynes, Philadelphia’s first Black TV reporter,” organization officials tweeted Tuesday. “Haynes inspired so many lives & was truly a pioneer in our industry, blazing trails & opening doors. We extend our condolences to her loved ones, former colleagues & mentees.” 

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