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 child,” 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
  • 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 […]

  • Springdale Christmas Tree Decorated Ahead of Weekend Lighting

    SPRINGDALE (KFSM) – Northwest Arkansas’ largest living Christmas tree is now trimmed! Wednesday (Nov. 22) crews used a lift to finish putting ornaments on the nearly 40-foot-tall community tree in Shiloh Square. Downtown Springdale Alliance sold the 12-inch plain wooden balls for $10. Individuals, businesses and organizations could decorate them however they wanted and then bring them back. The fundraiser brought in more than $2,000. The tree will be lit Saturday (Nov. 25) at 5:30 PM during Christmas on the Creek. […]

  • Southern Belles to Dance in NYC Thanksgiving Day Parade

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) – The Southside High School Southern Belles are performing at this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The team’s 12 seniors will travel from Fort Smith to the Big Apple on Saturday (Nov. 18) for one week. They’ve have been looking forward to this Thanksgiving since they were freshmen. “Whenever we made the team, we knew that we were going to get to go. And so we’ve been anxiously awaiting this for three years,” said […]

  • Professional Artist Gives Ideas For Halloween Pumpkin Decorating

    WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) – Halloween is less than a week away so you’ve probably already been to the pumpkin patch. Now it’s time to spruce up that squash by carving or decorating it. You can always go for the simple jack-o’-lantern with triangle eyes and nose and a toothy grin. But there are so many other ways to make your design one-of-a-kind. A local professional artist has some great ideas for making this holiday tradition fun for all ages. Jeffi O’Kane […]

  • 5NEWS Anchor Goes “Over The Edge” Supporting Cancer Patients

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — For the second year, Survivors’ Challenge Weekend kicked off with Over the Edge where only the brave enough rappel eight stories down the side of the First National Bank building in downtown Fort Smith. 5NEWS Anchor Erika Thomas volunteered to gear up and head down, supported by nothing but a harness and rope. The concept of support is so important because the event raises awareness and money for the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House. Every dollar […]

  • Over the Edge: Are You Brave Enough?

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Survivors’ Challenge Weekend supporting the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House in Fort Smith is coming up on Saturday, October 14th.  For the second year, it includes Over the Edge where those brave enough can rappel down the side of the First National Bank building. 5NEWS Anchor Erika Thomas volunteered to do it and she’ll be going the day before on Friday the 13th. Here’s a look ahead at what she’ll experience and you can too, if you’re up […]

  • Stranger Gives Toddler $20 For Toys After Death Of His Young Grandson

    COWETA, Okla. — An Oklahoma woman was left crying “in the middle of Target” after a stranger pulled $20 out of his wallet to help purchase a toy for her son. Alyssa Hacker was waiting on “Grammi” inside Target when her young son grabbed three dinosaur toys. “We were trying to pick out which one he wanted when Owen abruptly yelled ‘Hi’ at this older man walking past us,” Hacker wrote in a Facebook post. “He turned around and said, […]

  • Car Dealer Showcases Local Memorabilia

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Bill White is a long-time local car dealer. At his new pre-owned lot on Fort Smith’s south side, those who walk inside take a step back in time. He’s showing off just part of his collection – a lot of it from right here in the River Valley. The outside of Bill White’s Volkswagen pre-owned dealership is pretty unassuming. But if you look closely – through the large glass windows – you’ll see a Phillips 66 sign, […]

  • Downtown Revitalization: Springdale Development

    SPRINGDALE (KFSM) — Like pretty much everywhere in Northwest Arkansas, Springdale is growing fast. Since 2010, the population is up more than 10 percent to almost 80,000 people. And that’s why private investors and local groups are working to get that foot traffic into downtown with new projects and plans to revitalize the community. “I want this to be a jaw-dropping experience when people walk in the front door,” Tom Lundstrum said, The Apollo on Emma investor. If you grew up in […]

  • Passengers Deplaned At Fort Smith Airport After Pilot Said He Was Accused Of Drinking

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Passengers at the Fort Smith Regional Airport were deplaned from their flight after the pilot said he had been accused of drinking. Flight 5859 to Dallas-Fort Worth was scheduled to take off from Fort Smith at 6:26 p.m. The sheriff’s office was called out to the airport at 8:49 p.m. One passenger told 5NEWS the plane had already been delayed due to weather issues in Dallas, but the passengers were seated and ready to go when the […]

  • Downtown Revitalization: Growing Fort Smith

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — New efforts in downtown Fort Smith are working to help the city compete on an international stage. As you drive through Fort Smith, the view is changing. And merchants along Garrison Avenue want to be a part of that. “It’s important to bring volume into downtown Fort Smith. Without that volume, the businesses cannot thrive,” Pam Kelly, the Fort Smith Downtown Business Association Director said. Pam Kelly is the director of the new Fort Smith Downtown Business […]

  • Inside The Bachman-Wilson House At Crystal Bridges

    BENTONVILLE (KFSM) — Frank Lloyd Wright was born on this day (June 8) in 1867. The boy from Wisconsin became the American Institute of Architects’ “Greatest American Architect of All Time.” Wright designed the Bachman-Wilson house in 1954. It was built in Millstone, New Jersey and flooded seven times. Crystal Bridges saved the home by moving it 1,200 miles to Northwest Arkansas. The house was opened to the public in 2015. “It’s like someone giving you a hug. So, the house […]

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