McDonald’s Salutes Cleveland Black History Maker: Leon Bibb

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Leon Bibb has been delivering the news since he was 11 years old. Then, he was a paper boy for Cleveland’s newspaper. Now, he is the anchor of NewsChannel5 at noon and 6 p.m. with Lee Jordan.

Leon, a veteran journalist and broadcaster, worked at WKYC-TV 3, Cleveland’s NBC affiliate. He held several positions there after joining the station in 1979, including news anchor and general assignment reporter. Prior to his work there, Leon worked as a weekday anchor and reporter for WCMH in Columbus and as a news reporter at WTOL in Toledo. He began his journalism career as a news reporter for The Plain Dealer.

Robert Taylor, a sixth-grade teacher, was the first person to steer Leon’s career path toward journalism. “He saw something in me, and advised me to go into a profession where I could write. “It is a gift,” the teacher advised. “Leon, use your gift.”

Leon became the first African-American anchor in the state of Ohio and the rest, as they say, is journalism history.

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To make himself better, Leon continually asks himself: “Now that I have hundreds of thousands of people listening to me, what should I say?”

Leon has many feathers in his cap for nationally covered stories, such as The Persian Gulf War, an interview with President Bush at the Bush White House and Neil Armstrong’s first interview 10 years after his historic walk on the moon.

During Cleveland’s 1989 general mayoral campaign, he interviewed Mayor Michael White and George Forbes (attorney and president of the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) on live television for two hours. “Not only was I sole questioner, I was the ‘third man in the ring’ keeping the conversation going, probing the issues, and separating the two candidates when separation was needed. It was a 120-minute, major segment,” he said.

Leon also believes that he is probably the only local TV news reporter in the nation to have interviewed convicted assassin James Earl Ray in a Tennessee prison about the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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