Sonya Ross is the managing editor of Inside Climate News. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Black Women Unmuted, a media start-up that reports untold and under-told stories about Black women in the U.S.
Sonya launched BWU in 2019 after a 33-year career at The Associated Press that took her on assignment to 48 countries and all 50 states. She became The AP’s first Black woman White House reporter in 1995 and, in 1999, the first Black woman elected to the board of the White House Correspondents Association. Sonya was the print pool reporter aboard Air Force One with President George W. Bush as he was evacuated during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, also a historic first.
An Atlanta native, Sonya began her career in 1985, studying for her B.A. in journalism by day at Georgia State University, and working as a library clerk for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper at night. The AP hired her as an intern in 1986 and quickly moved her into political reporting. Sonya distinguished herself covering the Georgia Legislature, the 1988 Democratic National Convention, Maynard Jackson’s 1989 comeback mayoral bid and the 1990 Georgia governor’s race between Zell Miller and Andrew Young. She joined AP’s Washington-based national reporting staff after the 1992 Los Angeles riots, covering civil rights and urban affairs. Beyond reporting roles, Sonya was an editor for AP on foreign affairs and national security, and domestic regional coverage. In 2010, she established specialty race & ethnicity coverage for AP that, over the next nine years, transformed the media’s approach to gathering news for and about people of color.
In 2018, Sonya was inducted into the Society of Professional Journalists Hall of Fame. She was the founding chair of the political reporting task force for the National Association of Black Journalists, serving from 2010-2019. She currently serves on the boards of the Journalism & Women’s Symposium, the Washington Press Club Foundation, the SPJ Foundation and the National Newspaper Publishers Association Fund, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
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