CBS News Detroit announces first round of talent, newsroom staff hires

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CBS News Detroit has hired anchors Shaina Humphries and Rachelle Graham, meteorologist Ahmad Bajjey, and executive producer of community impact Amyre Makupson.

CBS News Detroit is the local streaming and broadcast news service that is being built from scratch and will be launched this fall by WWJ CBS 62 and WKBD, the CBS-owned stations in Detroit. The announcement was made today by Brian Watson, vice president and general manager and Paul Pytlowany, news director of CBS News Detroit.

Humphries, Graham and Bajjey are the first anchors hired by CBS News Detroit, a 24/7 streaming service that will feature live local news coverage from 4:00 a.m. to 11:35 p.m. Monday through Sunday, for a total of 137 hours per week. In addition, CBS 62 will broadcast live CBS News Detroit newscasts 40 hours per week in early morning, midday, early and late evenings.

CBS News Detroit will continue to recruit and hire a staff of multi-skilled professionals. The reporting staff will consist of a diverse team of journalists who will be embedded full-time in communities across the Detroit area, as well as at the state capital in Lansing, Mich.

The creation of CBS News Detroit marks the first time WWJ will have its own full-scale local news department since becoming a CBS Television Network-owned station in 1995.

Humphries is a Chicago area native who earned her master’s degree from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism and her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois. An Emmy Award winner, she most recently served as a co-anchor of the weekday 5, 6, 10 and 11 PM newscasts at WTXF-TV (Fox) in Philadelphia since February 2019. Prior to that, she was an anchor and reporter at KCCI-TV in Des Moines, Iowa.

Graham, a Metro Detroit native, most recently anchored and reported for the NBC, Fox and CW network-affiliated stations in Flint, Mich., where she was nominated for a Michigan Regional Emmy Award for her reporting on the impact of lead exposure on children’s academic performance in Flint. She also anchored and reported for the CBS Television Network affiliate in Greenville, S.C., and was named Reporter of the Year by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. After graduating cum laude from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast and cinematic arts and a minor in political science, Graham started her career as a multimedia journalist at WPTA-TV in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Bajjey, a Dearborn, Mich. native, has spent the past nine-and-a-half years with the NBC, Fox and CW network affiliated stations in Flint, Mich. He spent the past 17 months as the stations’ chief meteorologist. Bajjey has won awards for best weathercast from both The Associated Press and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Bajjey graduated from the meteorology program at Central Michigan University. In 2019, he was selected as one of 10 exceptional graduates from the past decade for contributions to their profession and to their community. He is an active supporter of the National Marrow Donor Program, Special Olympics Michigan, American Cancer Society and performing arts programs.

Makupson, a Detroit native, is following in the footsteps of her mother of the same name, the legendary news anchor at WKBD from 1975-2002. After earning her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Howard University and her master’s in mass communications from Wayne State University, she began her career in Lima, Ohio, where she worked for the CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox network affiliates. Makupson then produced and anchored newscasts for stations in Macon and Albany, Ga. After that, she became the news director at WMU with Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism and a partner correspondent for WMAZ in Macon.

“As we move forward with this unprecedented opportunity to build the newsroom of the future from the ground up and with a streaming-first mentality, we are excited to welcome Shaina, Rachelle, Ahmad and Amyre to CBS News Detroit,” Watson said in a statement. “They are part of our growing team of grassroots journalists who will set the standard for community-focused news reporting in Detroit.”

“Credible local news coverage is more important than ever,” Pytlowany said. “Shaina, Rachelle, Ahmad and Amyre’s commitment to in-depth storytelling and weather coverage will be vital to our viewers. Their commitment is in alignment with our vision of turning neighborhoods into newsrooms and reflects their passion for creating original content for the communities we are honored to serve.”

CBS Stations President Adrienne Roark, who has worked closely with Watson and Pytlowany and their WWJ colleagues on developing the plan for creating CBS News Detroit, added: “It’s exciting to see CBS News Detroit starting to take shape. Our local leadership team, led by Brian and Paul, is doing an amazing job of executing on our vision as we write a new chapter in the history of local news. We look forward to continuing to add employees who want to part of something that will truly be special.”