Erika Thomas anchors 5NEWS at 6, 9 & 10 PM with Daren Bobb and 5NEWS First at Four with Veronica Ortega. She came to 5NEWS in June 2017 after almost a decade of working in TV newsrooms across the country.

She was born in the Twin Cities and lived in Iowa City for three years before growing up in West Lafayette, Indiana. She attended the University of Missouri in Columbia and graduated summa cum laude with dual degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Economics. She reported and anchored at KOMU, the NBC affiliate in Columbia, for two years.

She started her full-time career in Sioux City, Iowa, where she spent five years at Siouxland News. She began as weekend anchor/producer and reporter, then morning anchor/reporter and ultimately evening anchor.

When the opportunity to go to Youngstown, Ohio, presented itself, she jumped at the chance to join a news team with a growing focus on investigative, in-depth coverage in the viewing area. She used her skills as an active, engaged anchor to help develop process storytelling during breaking news and exclusive content viewers couldn’t see anywhere else. She spent three years anchoring three hours of local news each weeknight at 5, 6 & 11 PM on WKBN 27, the CBS affiliate, and at 10 PM on FOX Youngstown. In her time there, she helped propel those newscasts to #1 in the market. The station also launched the first local broadcast using augmented & virtual reality elements in February 2015.

Erika is an award-winning journalist with her highest honor coming from RTDNA when the association recognized her work with the Regional Edward R. Murrow Award – Investigative Reporting for a three-part series about child sex abuse in northwest Iowa. That same series won other state and regional awards as well. The 6 PM newscast she anchored at WKBN also won an Emmy for Best Evening Newscast in 2016. The 5 PM newscast she solo anchored received an Emmy nomination for Best Daytime Newscast in 2017.

Erika loves traveling and has been fortunate to do so professionally. In September 2012, she spent two weeks traveling Europe as part of the RTDNF/RIAS German/American Journalist Exchange Program. She was one of a dozen journalists selected for this fellowship from across the country to spend time in Germany, Belgium & the Czech Republic. To this day, she uses lessons learned overseas to bring a global perspective to local news coverage.

While not working, Erika enjoys spending time with her husband Dan and their sons Axl and Knox. They love getting outdoors and exploring the world around them.

“It’s amazing how much life changes when you become a parent and see things through the eyes of a two-year-old,” said Erika. “I believe being a mother makes me a better journalist. I also volunteer in the community and spend time working with a number of important local organizations.”

Connect with Erika on Facebook through her fan page and follow her on Twitter @5NEWSErika. You can also email story ideas to

Recent Articles
  • Cameron School District Demands Jury Trial After Accusing Insurance Company Of Not Paying For Fire Damage

    CAMERON, Okla. (KFSM) — Nearly two years after a fire destroyed junior high, high school and gym in Cameron, Oklahoma, the district is demanding a jury trial and claim its insurance provider is refusing to pay. In August of 2017, just before 9 p.m. crews began to battle the structure fire that would burn through the night until nearly 4 a.m. In court documents filed this week in LeFlore County District Court, the school district said the Oklahoma School’s Insurance […]

  • Baby Boom At Westwood Elementary School In Greenwood

    GREENWOOD, Ark. (KFSM) — Westwood Elementary School in Greenwood is growing and growing… and growing! 10 teachers and counselors in the same building have welcomed new babies or found out they were expecting during the 2018-2019 school year. All the photos were taken by second-grade teacher Hollie Husband: The two oldest are Hudson Mask (born August 10, 2018) and Hadlee Garner (born August 20, 2018). They’re followed by Bennett Hart, born on Valentine’s Day – February 14, 2019. The littlest […]

  • Arkansas One Year Old Passes Away Weeks After Family Asks For Cards

    OZONE, Ark. (KFSM) — One Arkansas family is mourning the loss of their 16-month-old daughter. Lucille French passed away peacefully in her sleep on Sunday (March 17), according to her mother Tenessa. Lucille French was diagnosed with Krabbe Leukodystrophy at just 4 months old. It’s a rare condition caused by a gene mutation that affects the nervous system. Previously her mother sent 5NEWS a video of Lucille and a request for cards for her half-birthday celebration in April. Unfortunately, Lucille did not […]

  • Baptist Health Giving Sleep Sacks To All Newborns To Prevent SIDS

    FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — New parents have a lot to worry about when they bring their new baby home and they’re doing it all on very little sleep. That’s why it’s important to make sure your newborn is safe, especially when it’s sleeping, which infants do – a lot. Just remember the ABC’s of safe sleep: Alone, on their Back, in a Crib. Now babies born at Baptist Health – Fort Smith can fall asleep safe and sound, thanks […]

  • Pocola School Bond Issue Falls Short

    POCOLA, Okla. (KFSM) — A school bond issue in Pocola fell just short of the 60% of votes needed to pass on Tuesday (Mar. 5). The proposition was billed as not raising taxes and asked voters to approve using $425,000 to buy five new school buses and to also make updates to the fleet. It did not pass with 203 (57%) for and 156 (43%) against. One local family says the older busses take a long time to warm up […]

  • Arkansas Family Of 16-Month-Old With Weeks To Live Asking For Cards For Daughter

    OZONE, Ark. (KFSM) — One Arkansas family is asking for love and support as their 16-month-old has just weeks to live. Lucille French was diagnosed with Krabbe Leukodystrophy at just 4 months old. It’s a rare condition caused by a gene mutation that affects the nervous system. Lucille has already beaten the odds and doctors gave her an estimated 13 months to live. But now her body is shutting down. Her mother Tenessa sent 5NEWS a video of Lucille and […]

  • First Low-Intervention Birthing Suite In Arkansas To Open In Bentonville

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — Expecting mothers have a big decision to make when it comes time to deliver. Do you want an epidural or to try a more natural approach? Now there’s a new option. The Family Birthplace at Northwest Medical Center – Bentonville is about to open the first low-intervention birthing suite in the state of Arkansas. It’s also the first hospital in the area to offer laughing gas to laboring mothers. It all adds up to become a […]

  • Rebuilding Fayetteville Public Schools After Superintendent Turmoil

    FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – The Fayetteville school district is preparing for the upcoming semester with a new superintendent. The school board appointed Dr. John L Colbert to the position on June 21. It was the culmination of three months of turmoil within the district. March: An employee accused then-superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt of sexual harassment April: The board put Dr. Wendt on paid administrative leave pending a district investigation May: The accuser’s attorney called out the district for “inaction” in the […]

  • Home Alone: How Old is Old Enough to Leave Kids Unsupervised?

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — When the final bell rings and school’s out for summer, parents will have to figure out where their children will spend the next three months. Many kids will be unsupervised while mom and dad go to work. That’s a tough decision for families, but how do you know how old is old enough? 4-year-old Kenlee loves swinging at Creekmore Park while baby brother Charles watches nearby. They need a lot of supervision now, but their mom Katharine […]

  • Expecting Mother Goes Into Labor During Mountainburg Tornado

    MOUNTAINBURG (KFSM) — UPDATE: Jerry Lewis Crain, Jr. was born April 24 at 2:07 p.m. He weight 8 pounds 2 ounces and is 20 inches long. The family said mom, baby and dad are all doing well. When the Mountainburg tornado hit Friday (April 13), four people ended up in the hospital. One of them was an expecting mother who’d gone into labor. Krysten Crain almost had her baby on Friday the 13th. The bottles are washed. The blankets are folded. […]

  • Fayetteville Woman Featured in People Magazine for Losing Half Her Size

      FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – Many of us start a new year with the best intentions of losing weight. But by now, many have given up on that resolution. Well if you’re looking for inspiration to get started again, or just get started, look no further than Bonnie Wiles from Fayetteville. People Magazine featured the 58-year-old in its January issue as one of six women who’ve lost “half their size” – in Bonnie’s case that’s more than 160 pounds. 5NEWS Anchor Erika […]

  • Man Sentenced To 8 Years In Prison After Fort Smith Officer-Involved Shooting

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A man was sentenced to eight years in prison with 12 years probation after pleading guilty to terroristic threatening and aggravated assault in an officer-involved shooting in January. Matthew Pittman, 19, was taken to the hospital Jan. 3 following an officer-involved shooting, according to Cpl. Anthony Rice with the Fort Smith Police Department. The shooting happened at about 7 p.m. at a convenience store at 1116 Grand Avenue. Rice said police were told a man they […]

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