Since 1921, Virginia Tech has seen thousands of trailblazing women make their mark on the world, transforming industries and shattering glass ceilings. Jummy Olabanji ’06 is making her mark in the broadcast news industry where she’s a news anchor for NBC4 Washington.
When Washington, D.C. news anchor Jummy Olabanji thinks back to her childhood, she remembers it all started with a love of reading. "I grew up like as a reader. There's pictures of me in my crib with upside down books, you know, like pretending to read. My mom would read to me every night I loved books." Reading turned to a love of writing and continued to evolve. "I joined the yearbook and that kind of photojournalism is where it really started, and then that transitioned to more journalism in high school, and then ultimately ending up at Virginia Tech, and doing the communication department and the degree there." It was at Virginia Tech's School of Communication where Jummy, a 2006 graduate, knew what she wanted to do. "I almost feel like I had a better experience because I went to Tech because the department at the time was so small and so focused and we got to do everything. We got to run the cameras and, you know, you could say go to the Collegiate Times and say, Oh, I want to be on the staff and, you know, your story could end up on the front page as a sophomore." It opened doors to the industry she wanted to be part of. "I just feel like I had so much opportunity because I went to Virginia Tech and everything was hands-on. And my instructors and professors at the time, were working journalists who worked there in Roanoke. And so you could see them doing what it is that you wanted to do and you could go visit. It was just, it made the reality of what I wanted to do so real because it wasn't one of those things where you were dreaming to get the internship in New York City where it was so hard to get, like, I could just run down the road to Roanoke and see it all there. So it was just invaluable, really." Her career took her to Charlottesville, Norfolk, New York, and now D.C., where she shares the anchor desk with another woman in a business typically dominated by men, but becoming more inclusive and diverse. "I work for a company and for managers who just recognize when you do a good job, and don't see the fact that there's two women on a news desk together as negative or a hindrance. And in fact, we're still the number one morning newscast, nothing changed, you know? And so it's also good that the viewers recognize that as well in that nobody was turning off just because I came in and replaced a man. It's been awesome to see the progression and she is hiring more women and more qualified women. And so the doors are just being opened. And you know that's the way it should be." Jummy says it's great to be close to her alma mater and see how Virginia Tech is keeping up with the changes in the TV news landscape, and to see where so many alumna like her land. "You know, it's, it's just awesome to see they're in markets all over the place. They're doing great things. And it's just exciting."