Porterfield was the first African-American television news anchor in St. Louis. He was a news anchor and reporter at KMOX-TV (now KMOV) from 1965 to 1971. After leaving St. Louis in 1971, he was assistant regional administrator for seven years with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1988, he returned to news, working as a news anchor-reporter for WJRT-TV, and later held similar posts at WSGW-AM radio station. He also did freelance writing before he retired in 1995 as public information director at Saginaw (Mich.) Valley State University.