The death of KYW Newsradio community affairs reporter Karin Phillips has left a significant void.
Phillips died Tuesday following a brief illness. She was 53 and resided in Mt. Laurel, N.J.
Phillips was known for highlighting community organizations, programs and events that occurred throughout the Philadelphia region.
KYW Reporter Mike DeNardo says their newsroom is still in a state of shock.
“There is a huge void in this newsroom because Karin is not here,” said DeNardo, who worked with her for almost 30 years.
DeNardo would routinely “push Karin’s buttons,” which led to her loud and infectious laugh being heard in the newsroom.
“I knew that if I wanted to get a rise out of her, all I would have to do is make a seemingly politically incorrect comment or play a news sound clip that I knew would set her off,” DeNardo recollected.
“An outsider may think that I was trying to offend her but I was pushing her buttons simply to get a rise out of her, to make her laugh and blow off some steam. That happened every day in our newsroom. It’s quiet now. It’s silent and there’s a void that I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to fill.”
Phillips had been a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.
PABJ officials issued a statement on behalf of the organization.
“The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of KYW Newsradio Community Affairs Reporter Karin Phillips, following a brief illness,” said PABJ.
“Karin’s voice was particularly important to the African-American community because she was one of the few voices of color in Philadelphia mainstream radio news. She covered the Philadelphia community with passion. Karin gave a voice to members of the community that would have not had the opportunity to be heard on the airwaves. There is no doubt that Karin’s distinctive presence will be missed.”
Phillips joined the KYW Newsradio team in 1979 as a production assistant. She held many positions throughout the years, including reporter, writer and daytime editor.
Prior to coming to KYW Newsradio, Phillips worked as a reporter for the Burlington County Times. She also served as an anchor and producer for Express Traffic Services.
In addition to working at KYW Newsradio, Phillips was an adjunct professor teaching broadcast journalism at Rutgers University, where she graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish and a minor in journalism. In 1998, she obtained her master’s degree from Rutgers.
During her undergraduate studies, she was a reporter and editor of the campus newspaper and president of the Spanish Club. She was named Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and was honored as one of the 50 finest graduates of Rutgers University-Camden.
She was also a member of the Philadelphia Flying Dragon Boat team, which raises money for the fight against breast cancer. As a member of the team, she helped pack surplus food for distribution to organizations feeding the hungry and prepared meals at the Ronald McDonald House, which provides living quarters for families of children undergoing hospital treatment.
Phillips, who was a Philadelphia native, resided in South Jersey at the time of her death. She was a member of the Christian Bell Choir of Burlington County, which performs in neighborhood churches, senior centers, nursing homes, and for inmates at county prisons and jails.
In 2009, Phillips received the Human Rights Award for Arts and Culture from the Philadelphia Commission on Human Rights. In 2004, she received the Outstanding Community Service award from the Philadelphia Council of Clergy, the largest multicultural religious clergy organization in Philadelphia.
She is survived by her mother, Rose, and a brother.
The funeral will take place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday Sept. 20, 2011 after a 10 a.m. viewing at Christ Baptist Church, 950 Jacksonville Rd. in Burlington, N.J.