Departing Morgan Fogarty gave voice to Charlotte’s voiceless

Charlotte anchor leaves for new position in New York City at Al Jazeera America

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: August 2, 2013 in A&E / Life&Style, Featured Stories

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. –Morgan Fogarty has been a fixture on local TV for eight years. As a reporter and anchor at WCCB, formerly Fox Charlotte, Fogarty rose in popularity as one of the city’s most well-known media personalities.

But, at the end of July, her presence in the local media scene came to an end. Fogarty now moves to New York City to take a position with Al Jazeera America, the worldwide news service’s new U.S. network. She leaves Charlotte with plenty of memories and strong friendships.

“I’m going to miss so many things about Charlotte,” she told qnotes in an interview at WCCB’s newsroom during her last few days in Charlotte. “I’m going to miss the relationships I’ve built over the years. This town has been incredible to me and my family. It’s the place where I began my marriage. It’s the place where I had my first baby.”

Building a career

Fogarty grew up in Pennsylvania and attended college at Penn State University.

“I was actually a psychology major,” she said. “I started taking some course in that and realized the math and science requirements were beyond my scope of interest.”

She filled in the extra time with journalism courses and her passion for TV journalism was stoked in an early broadcast class.

“It was early on when I was a freshman and I really loved it and it sort of grew from there,” she said.

She came to Charlotte in 2005 by way of Hagerstown, Md. There, she worked for two years as a producer and anchor for WHAG. Fox Charlotte picked her up, where she initially worked for the station’s morning show, Fox News Rising.

“I was the Ann Curry of the morning show,” Fogarty joked, referring to her role as a news reader during the morning broadcasts.

Later, Fogarty was promoted to a weekend anchor position and then spent four years co-hosting the station’s nightly entertainment show, “Fox News Edge,” with Brotha Fred.

For three years, Fogarty served as one of station’s main anchors — a role she had eyed when she was first hired.

“When I got here, I had two years of experience under my belt, which was decent but, by no means, setting the world on fire,” she said. “I just looked at that role and said that’s incredible, I hoped one day I can step into that role.”

At each step, Fogarty focused on doing her work well.

“I just really wanted to focus on being as good as I was in that moment in that role,” she said. “It all sort of developed and evolved and opportunities arose.”

Inclusive coverage

Fogarty, whom many have considered a strong ally of the LGBT community, often included stories about the community in her newscasts, even when other stations chose not to cover some of the same issues.

“The stories I like covering are the stories that make an impact in people’s lives…stories that give voice to the voiceless — stories that people wouldn’t otherwise know about,” she said.

Journalism, Forgarty said, means making an impact. “You meet these people and you hear their story and you feel what they are going through and you in some small way can help them, even if it’s just the therapeutic exercise of talking about it,” she said. “Ultimately, if your story can bring about some sort of change for that family or that person or whatever the case may be, those are the stories that are really cool to do, that make you want to come to work.”

Her coverage of the LGBT community has been prompted by the same desire to serve. “It just seems it is the right thing to do,” she said. “It is what we’re supposed to do – it is a part of our profession, again, giving voice to the voiceless. I wouldn’t call the LGBT community voiceless anymore, but I think there was certainly a point where it was a community that was not heard, particularly in the South. Thankfully, I do believe that is changing.”

That change, perhaps, has come in part due to fairer and more balanced coverage of the LGBT community. Fogarty’s balanced and inclusive coverage was recognized in 2010, when the Charlotte Business Guild presented her with their annual Bridge Builder Award.

“It’s easy to cover the big story of the day — the big murder case everybody’s working on [or] the airport shuffle,” Fogarty said. “Those are incredibly important stories but everybody is covering them. I like covering the unique stories that maybe not all the stations are going to cover.”

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Moving forward

Fogarty’s move to New York City will take her away from the city she and her family have called home for eight years.

“In terms of quality of life and great places, I think Charlotte is pretty hard to beat,” she said. But, New York City offers her family new opportunities, especially her young son.

“I’m most looking forward to having my son grow up closer to family,” she said. “He will be about two-and-a-half hours away from everybody versus about nine. That’s going to be important.”

Fogarty said she’ll keep tabs on Charlotte — though most would probably excuse her focus on her new job in a new city. Through July, Fogarty spent time saying goodbyes and thanking her friends and colleagues.

“There have been tons of friendships that I’ve built and amazing people that I’ve worked with,” she said. “This newsroom has a lot of talent, and I’ve been lucky to be a part of it for so long.”

Fogarty’s position with Al Jazeera America begins almost as soon as she gets in New York City. The network will launch on Aug. 20. Learn more at america.aljazeera.com.