Rosedale native working to keep the Delta informed
By Anne Martin
The Bolivar Bullet
Andranita Williams is doing exactly what she wants to do in the exact place she wants to do it. And, the public gets to watch her embrace her passion every time they turn on the local news. She is the weekend anchor for The Delta News and most recently has been filling in on the anchor desk for the 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 pm newscasts.
Born in Clarksdale and raised in Rosedale, this Delta girl is happy to be home doing something she loves.
“It means everything to me to be here,” said the 24-year-old Williams. “I really feel like I’m giving something back to my community, my Delta.”
Williams has been with the Greenville-based station since March 2020. She was hired while in her senior year at the University of Mississippi. She landed a job as TV news reporter. But, deciding this was the career path for her took a bit of prodding and convincing by others.
Williams said she has always had a passion for writing and being creative. While in the eleventh grade at West Bolivar Consolidated High School in Rosedale, Williams’ honors English teacher, Jeremiah Smith, said he saw something special in her writing,
“I kind of blew off his comment,” Williams admitted. “But, then I went off and thought about it, that maybe he was on to something.”
Williams, who also writes poetry, let Smith read some of her poems. He helped her get one of her poems published in an area magazine. She said she jokingly accused her instructor of hyping her up. But, she had the opportunity to read one of poems out loud to a group in Greenwood.
“I got chills after I read my poem in front of an audience and that is when I began to think maybe I’m on the right path,”
But, she still needed some persuasion. After graduating from West Bolivar in 2016, Williams headed to Ole Miss to pursue a degree in pharmaceutical studies, saying she was going for the money. She thought her life’s course had been set. Until she realized her heart just wasn’t in pharmaceuticals.
“I had a long talk with myself and began to think back to all the signs, signs that I was supposed to be a journalist. People told me I spoke well, was creative and could write. What could I do with all of that? It finally dawned on me that journalism is where I was supposed to be,” said Williams. “This was my passion. At that moment I felt I had a purpose.”
Williams switched her major and began down the road to becoming a broadcast journalist. She majored in journalism with an emphasis in broadcasting and minored in African America studies with a specialization in public relations.
In the spring of 2020 graduation approached, the COVID-19 pandemic was setting in and the college senior began to wonder what she would do next. And, if she could even get a job in the midst of a health crisis.
She stayed up all night putting together a reel of examples of her work at Ole Miss to send out to various television stations. And, one thing became very clear to her; she wanted to come home to family in Rosedale and Clarksdale, and the Delta.
Williams sent her resume and reel to The Delta News, which had an opening for a reporter. When she didn’t hear anything back from the station, she sent an email, along with her reel, reminding the general manager of her application. Two weeks later she was called in for an interview. Ten months later, in January 2021, Williams was promoted to weekend anchor. On the weekends, she is also responsible for shooting, writing and editing news stories and producing the newscast.
“I love what I do, especially reporting, because I get to go out into the community and meet people,” said Williams. “Everyday is different, no two days are alike. I like the “wild card” reporting gives you.”
In December 2021 Williams began filling-in as anchor of all the evening newscasts after Laykia Scott left the station to become part of the team at Fox 13 in Memphis. Williams said the extra work on the news desk is giving her invaluable experience.
“When I was at Ole Miss, I didn’t want to anchor, I ran away from it,” Williams laughed. “I’ve embraced it now. I get to do some of everything and what better way to grow as a broadcast journalist.”
But, working at The Delta News also gave Williams the opportunity to work with someone she has admired since she was a kid. For more than 25 years Stephen Robinson has been a fixture in the Greenville TV market keeping viewers up-to-date on all thing’s sports related. Williams, who is one of six children, said as kid, getting ready for school, she would rush out of the bathroom or her room when she heard Robinson giving the morning sports report on WXVT’s Delta Daybreak.
“I had to make sure I was in front of the TV to watch Stephen,” Williams recalls. “Now, sometimes when I’m sitting in the newsroom, I look over and see him and it’s still a surreal moment. I tell him I still can’t believe I’m sitting next to him on the news desk, getting to anchor with him and work with him. I’m lucky to work with someone like Stephen. He’s a pretty cool guy.”
Williams said the people she watched on TV growing up were like stars to her. But, they were also an inspiration. She said watching Robinson and this journalist (Anne Martin was a broadcast journalist with both WXVT-TV and WABG-TV for more than 30 years) she knew she could do something like that too.
“It makes all the difference when you see local people reporting and anchoring the local news. When you see someone who looks like you, or see someone who comes from where you come from and has a similar path as you, I feel like that gives you inspiration and motivation you need to move forward.”
And, that is exactly the direction Williams intends to go. She says she is in no hurry to leave The Delta News, but down the road, plans are big, to possibly own a TV station, production company or even a network. But, mostly she wants to give back to the people of the Mississippi Delta.
“I want to be in a position that I can help other people, especially the people in the Delta. This is home and there are so many folks who helped me along the way, I want to return the favor. I want to show young kids here that they can dream and be anything they want to be.”
Williams credits her family and her faith for giving her a strong foundation on which to build her dreams. Her father, the late Andrew Williams, was a former Rosedale mayor, a minister and District 1 Supervisor until his death in 2015, when her mother, Benitha, assumed the seat, later running for the position.
“Not everyone can say both of their parents have been county supervisors,” said Williams. “They have both been great examples of community servants,”
Williams said growing up in the church and having a father as a pastor, taught her the power of prayer and the importance of religion. She said she has prayed about every move in her career so far, helping to keep her grounded and on the right path.
Williams currently lives in Clarksdale with her 84-year-old grandmother, whom she says has been a big influence on her life as well. She attends church at Riverside Church in Rosedale, where her mother still lives.
“The Delta has, and continues to have, a big impact on me daily,” said Williams. “This is home.”
Williams said it means everything to her to be a journalist at the local station, back home with the people who helped groom her, showing them the product they help to create.
She loves to tell the story that as a child of five or six, she used to play with her parent’s cassette recorder. Williams said she was constantly putting cassettes in the machine and recording herself talking or singing..
“My mom said even back then I was probably going to do something that involved talking or speaking. Guess she was right!”
Williams added the ride so far has been amazing and she is looking forward to whatever is down the road. But, no matter where she goes, the Delta will always be a part of her.