Texas Tech University

Rita Williams

2011 Outstanding Alumni

Rita Williams, who earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the College of Mass Communications at Texas Tech University in 1969, was part of the first group of women reporters on television almost 40 years ago. For 32 years now, she has been an investigative reporter and San Francisco bureau chief at KTVU-TV, Oakland, Calif.

Her honors include being a 2010 George Peabody Award winner as lead investigative reporter for coverage of the killing of an African-American unarmed man by a white BART police officer and its aftermath. She also received a 2010 Associated Press Mark Twain award for being the best television reporter in the 12 western states. In 2009, at the San Francisco Federal Building, she and a federal judge created the first-ever media room in the country with live broadcast capability of court proceedings, earning a Society of Professional Journalists James Madison Award.

In 2001, she was selected for the Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for journalists who have distinguished themselves during more than 25 years in broadcast journalism. She also is the winner of two Emmy awards and many other journalism honors.

After graduation from Texas Tech, Williams worked as an aide and press secretary for Lubbock's Congressman George Mahon, while also earning a master's degree in political science/international affairs from George Washington University.

Williams started her television career in 1973 as a management trainee for Westinghouse Broadcasting Company at WJZ-TV, Baltimore, Md. From 1974 to 1977, she was a reporter and anchor for KSAT-TV, in San Antonio, Texas, and from 1978 to 1980, she reported for KQED-TV, the San Francisco PBS station.

Rita Williams