For most Bostonians, journalist Sarah-Ann Shaw was a pioneering reporter — the first Black woman they saw on their TV news broadcasts.

GBH’s Tessil Collins, managing producer and curator of online jazz station, Jazz 24/7, knew her as an industry trailblazer — and as the mother of his childhood friend, Klare Shaw.

Sarah-Ann Shaw died last week at the age of 90.

“Sarah is the last of a generation of Black Boston residents who broke down the barriers to allow you and I to have the careers in media or education or philanthropy that we're able to have today,” Collins told GBH’s Morning Edition co-host Paris Alston Friday. “I was fortunate to become a producer at WBZ as a result of Sarah being there. And I'm very thankful for that.”

Shaw worked for WBZ for more than 30 years and was a regular contributor to GBH's Basic Black in the 1960s, when it was called Say Brother.

As a journalist, Collins said, Shaw was “in-your-face, asking the tough questions, speaking truth to power.”

“It was one of those things where, you know, in breaking ground, sometimes you have to break some eggs to make an omelet,” Collins said. “And, for the most part, Sarah was one of the folks that you did not really want to challenge on the facts or the truth. And she spent much of her time making sure that the voices of the Black community were heard.”

In a 1977 appearance on GBH’s Say Brother, Shaw spoke about the growing number of Black journalists hired during and after the civil rights movement.

“People in minority communities were saying, we don't want this white person coming in. We want to see Black reporters,” Shaw said on the show. "And so many more Black reporters were hired than I think this country had ever seen before, during that period. And weren't most of them at that point hired and sort of slotted into covering minority affairs? So I'm not sure that it's a question of backing yourself into a corner. I'm not sure if we're not already in that corner because of the way that many Black journalists got their jobs to begin with.”

Those words still resonate today, Collins said.

“Folks who were allowing us in to cover stories were allowing us in to cover our own stories — which, No. 1, needed to be covered and weren't covered by the general market reporters. But at the same time, we wanted our opportunity to talk about the mainstream topics too,” Collins said.

He mentioned some of the Black reporters and producers who have covered Boston since Shaw: Karen Holmes Ward at WCVB, Phillip Martin and Callie Crossley at GBH, Tanya Hart who got her start at WBZ, and Roxbury filmmaker Topper Carew, among many others.

“We were blessed to have them be our mentors and leaders to get stuff done, not only just for the Black community, but for the general media community and in general,” Collins said.

In a 2018 appearance on GBH’s Basic Black, on the show’s 50th anniversary, Shaw spoke of influencing future generations.

I want to live long enough to see us to be able to do things that have more staying power,” Shaw said. “I'd like to know how those like me with this gray hair, how can we communicate to a younger group some of the things we did so they can avoid some of the mistakes and do some other kinds of things that produce some activities that make you say 'wow.'”

That dream was “absolutely” realized, Collins said.

“Her papers are going to be donated to UMass Boston and Simmons University so that the next generation can actually see and hear her voice,” he said.

And Shaw’s influence extended well past journalism, Collins said.

“One of the other things that really has to be said about a lifelong resident, which Sarah was, is that she advocated for things not only in the media, but across the general community,” he said.

One of those initiatives: The Fellowes Athenaeum, a public library that opened in Roxbury in 1873. Its founder, Caleb Fellowes, had left money to the Boston Public Library.

“That money for many, many, many, many years, just went into the general fund,” Collins said. “Sarah and the friends of the Roxbury Library were very instrumental in going to the library, getting that money separated from the general fund and put into grants, into the Roxbury branch of the Boston Public Library for residents to do projects and give classes at the library.”

Shaw’s loss comes after those of GBH's own jazz host Eric Jackson and civil rights activist Mel King, both of whom Collins was close with. Mel King was his godfather, and he cited him and Shaw — along with living Bay State Banner founder and longtime publisher Melvin Miller — as people who opened the door for Black Bostonians to enter politics.

“Look at us now: In the city council, in the state,” Collins said. “All those folks were really instrumental in making sure that we had people we could look up to that look like us and say that we could get there and do those things, too.”