WABJ Expresses Concern Over the Departure of Long-Time WJLA Anchor Leon Harris

After 13 years on the air, Harris’ departure from ABC7 deprives the local community of a seasoned newscaster and goodwill ambassador.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 13, 2016) – The Washington Association of Black Journalists wishes to express its deep concern and disappointment over veteran news anchor Leon Harris’ unexpected departure from ABC7/WJLA-TV. This move, which Harris has expressed to be “not my choice,” (as reported in The Washington Post and other media outlets), represents a profound loss for not only the local airwaves but for the Washington-area community.

Harris is one of a few local news anchors who represent the majority of viewers in the Washington market and maintain extensive connections and involvement in the community in which they live and work. The loss of his presence in the anchor chair raises concerns regarding the station’s commitment to diversity and experienced on-air talent.

The history of elevating media diversity in Washington and around the country dates to the 1968 Kerner Commission Report. We are saddened that Mr. Harris’ departure does not seem to be in keeping with this tradition.

Moving forward, it is our hope that ABC7/WJLA-TV will demonstrate a higher level of awareness in valuing diversity as well as accomplished journalists with strong connections within our local communities.


Founded in 1975, the Washington Association of Black Journalists is an organization of Black journalists, journalism professors, public relations professionals and student journalists in the D.C., metro area. WABJ provides members with ongoing professional education opportunities and advocates for greater diversification of the profession.