April 20, 1961 |
|Occupation||Journalist and Newscaster|
Leon Harris (born April 20, 1961 in Akron, Ohio) is an American journalist and newscaster. Harris was born to Leon Sr. and Lorrene Harris in Akron, Ohio. He has three brothers: Marcus, Jerry, and J.J., who still reside in Akron; and a sister, Kimberly, who lives in Houston.
He graduated from Buchtel High School in 1979, and earned a National Merit Scholarship to Ohio University where he met his wife, Dawn Lomax, whose family is also from Akron. Harris graduated cum laude from Ohio University in 1983, majoring in communications. He received an honorary Doctorate from the University in 1999.
Harris started his career at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta in the early 1980s as an unpaid intern while completing his degree. Following graduation in 1983, Harris started as an entry-level video journalist and later moved up to assistant director of the satellite department as an operator and coordinator. In that position, he oversaw and negotiated international and domestic satellite services used to cover new events, including the Persian Gulf War and President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush's international trips and summits.
Harris auditioned for an anchor position during summer 1991; a few months later he was given a full-time anchor post. Harris received numerous awards at CNN, including several Emmy Awards for his coverage of the 2000 presidential election, the Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11th attacks. However, as competition increased from Fox News, and CNN veterans such as Natalie Allen and Lou Waters were pink-slipped in favor of Paula Zahn and Aaron Brown, Harris felt less comfortable. His last position held at CNN was co-anchor of CNN Live Today with Daryn Kagan.
In July 2003, Harris signed a deal with ABC-7 Washington, D.C. affiliate WJLA-TV to anchor that station’s 5 o'clock and 11 o’clock newscasts. He started his new post on October 28. In 2006, Harris received the 2006 local Emmy award for Best Anchor. On September 2, 2016, WJLA declined to renew his contract and his tenure at the station ended in October of that year.
In 2013, Harris was profiled for surviving two brushes with death, due to necrotizing pancreatitis.
In April 2017, NBC owned-and-operated station WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. announced that Leon Harris would join its news team on April 21. He currently co-anchors News 4 at 4 alongside Pat Lawson-Muse and reports for News 4 at 11.
Harris currently lives in Avenel, Potomac, Maryland with his wife Dawn and daughter Lauren and son Darren.
- Leon Harris, BSC '83, HON '99
- Washington Times - WJLA reels in CNN anchor
- WTTG, WJLA Tie in Local Emmys - washingtonpost.com