Oct 23, 2023 - News

Trailblazing newsman Harry Porterfield dies at 95

Photo of a man in a suit

Harry Porterfield. Photo courtesy of CBS 2 Chicago

Longtime Chicago newsman Harry Porterfield has died at the age of 95, according to his family.

The big picture: Porterfield worked in Chicago news for more than 50 years, both at WBBM-TV and WLS-TV.

  • Porterfield's regular segment "Someone You Should Know" was a huge hit, highlighting ordinary Chicagoans doing extraordinary things.
  • He retired from Chicago news in 2015 at the age of 87.

Flashback: In the 198os, Porterfield was one of the most prominent Black reporters and anchors in Chicago news. When he was demoted from his weekend anchor slot in 1985, Rev. Jesse Jackson and other activists boycotted WBBM-TV, accusing the news station of not hiring minorities.

  • Activists picketed in front of the Streeterville station for almost a year.

Zoom out: The boycott not only led to a management change at WBBM-TV, but Porterfield moved to WLS-TV, where data suggested that much of Chicago's Black viewing audience went with him.

What he said: "I'm proud of that because it did cause a lot of people to take another look at this business and say there is some very deserving, very talented folks out there who can fill these jobs," Porterfield told ABC 7 in a past interview.


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