About the TOYA
In 1993, Regina L. Burns was honored with the prestigious Ten Outstanding Young Americans award, given by the U.S. Junior Chamber (Jaycees).
Harvest Reapers Communications is a Dallas, Texas-based boutique agency specializing in media relations and communication services.
Regina L. Burns founded Harvest Reapers Communications in Memphis, Tenn., in 1996, after successfully marketing the Imperial Tombs of China exhibition to the African-American community, while working for Sossaman & Associates Advertising Agency. At the urging of Ken Sossaman, Burns joined a media trip to Hong Kong, Beijing and Xi'an, China, in advance of the exhibition, to ensure she was well-versed in the artifacts’ history and the Chinese culture. After returning to Memphis, Burns researched and wrote a 30-minute presentation "From Food Stamps, Welfare and Free Cheese to The Great Wall of China" and presented it to groups and organizations. Her strategic and inspirational story helped generate a 50 percent increase in group ticket sales for Imperial Tombs of China.
After becoming self-employed, she was selected by The Commercial Appeal’s marketing director to write an advertorial launching the new home of Memphis' Mercedes-Benz dealership. She had already been writing a weekly education column for the newspaper. And, The University of Memphis turned to her for voiceover services and to write a student recruitment marketing brochure.
More Memphis Clients
She provided freelance writing for the Tri-State Defender, Black Enterprise magazine, Memphis Woman magazine and others. Burns successfully assisted clients with public relations strategy, landing placements in the Memphis Business Journal and Memphis Woman magazine. She won the Memphis PRSA's VOX Editorial/Column Writing Award for an editorial published in The Memphis Flyer. "For Rosmari" is a heartfelt tribute to Rosmari Pleasure, who was killed in a domestic violence incident.
In 2001, she relocated to Dallas, Texas, and used her journalism expertise to write for Inside Collin County Business, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Today's Dallas Woman magazine, The Dallas Morning News, Black Voices magazine, and most recently, Community Impact newspaper in McKinney and Plano.
A Big Bright Digital Future
Harvest Reapers Communications has evolved. Now it is a Dallas media relations and communications writing boutique agency grounded in project management principles and an emphasis on Stephen Covey's "Begin with the End in Mind" success-principle.
Most recently, Burns has assisted clients with media relations and communications services across a variety of industries and companies, using her 2012-2014 project management training. Plus, her journalism work at The Associated Press in Dallas and in Jackson, Miss., along with her award-winning radio and TV experience are unique benefits for clients. Burns can assist organizations with their internal and external communications needs, bringing solid digital, SEO and storytelling strategies that generate results.
Broadcast Career Overview
Burns has voiced stories on behalf of NPR, the former National Black Network, ABC Radio and Sheridan Broadcasting Network along with Associated Press Radio.
She also narrated programs for WKNO-TV ("Ernest Withers: His Brother's Keeper"), The University of Memphis and WGKX-KIX 106 FM. She did radio news for WLOK-AM and she cut her teeth in television news at KRBC-TV in Abilene, Texas.
Retired Memphis City Councilman Myron Lowery's Influence
While enrolled in Advanced Placement English at Central High School, she attended a program for future journalists sponsored in part by the Memphis Association of Black Journalists. Among those attending were veteran broadcast journalists, Robin Brown, of WDIA-AM, John Glaze, of WHBQ-TV, and Myron Lowery, of WMC-TV. Burns asked for career advice and received it. Later Lowery, who had been an anchorman before turning to politics, became a mentor and encouraged her to pursue the TOYA, which she achieved in 1993. During college at Abilene Christian University, she sent him her TV tapes from KRBC-TV (thank you Pulitzer Prize-winner David Leeson for the back-in-the day photos used by permission) in Abilene to critique and he provided feedback that guided her career.
Associated Press Hurricane Katrina Work
Her stories have been published by Memphis Health + Fitness Magazine as well as The Associated Press. She is especially proud of the AP work she did contributing to the coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (sharing in a team Eppy Award in 2008) and covering Ruby Dee, while working in the AP's Jackson, Miss., bureau as broadcast editor.
Burns researched, wrote and voiced a series of radio documentaries with the assistance of several team members at WGKX-KIX 106 FM. The station received national and local accolades as a result of their efforts.
Those documentaries were: "Dr. Martin L. King Jr: The Man, The Movement, The Momentum"; "A Way Out," which addressed domestic violence, and "Faces of Memphis," which profiled Memphians from diverse backgrounds. Burns hosted and co-produced a weekly television public affairs show on WPTY-TV in Memphis, under the direction of Memphis great Cris Stovall.
First African-American Woman to Win the Tennessee AP Broadcaster of the Year Award
Burns was honored by the Tennessee Associated Press Broadcasters with its Broadcaster of the Year Award in 1989, making her the first black woman to receive the prestigious accolade. She also served as president of the association. Furthermore, she was a top Tennessee AP wire contributor and WGKX-KIX 106 frequently appeared on the wire with Burns' scoops. She was the first to tip off the wire service that former Memphis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Willie Herenton planned to run for mayor of Memphis, earning her major journalism respect when Herenton did, indeed, announce his campaign run, and became the city's first African-American mayor.
Some of the documentaries were recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists, the Radio-Television Digital News Association (formerly known as the Radio-Television News Directors Association), the Tennessee Associated Press Broadcasters Association and the former American Women in Radio and Television.
Education, Gutenberg Award
Burns is an Abilene Christian University alumna and earned the B.A. in Mass Communication in 1983. ACU honored her in 1993 with its Gutenberg Award, which "recognizes distinguished professional achievements of Journalism and Mass Communication Department alumni."
She turned to The University of Memphis for her graduate degree, the M.A. in Journalism Administration, which she earned in 1995.